Avoid partisan poison of Washington state
The parallel drawn between Washington's 2004 gubernatorial race and our current Senate race in the Nov. 12 letter from a Tacoma, Wash., writer ("Sounds a little like 2004 Washington") was familiar to me. Familiar, too, was the tone.
I arrived in Washington state for college in 2004 and saw for the past four years how much bitterness was left in the state. I agree that we can take lessons from Washington's recount and, yes, caution with how we count the ballots is one of the them. But the most important lesson is that it does a state no good when the losing party remains angry for years and the winning party finds they've won a seat with missing legs.
In Washington, the real winner of the '04 governor's race was partisan bitterness. Let's treat our own tight race like what it is -- a rare symptom of a well-balanced state -- and not an excuse to drag campaign-season accusations through the next six years.
LISA WAANANEN, MAPLE GROVE
Katherine Kersten writes in her Nov. 12 column that the recount is tainted by the fact the state attorney general is from the DFL Party. Methinks she would be silent on this subject if the office were held by a Republican!
SUZANNE BALZER, MINNEAPOLIS
RACIAL PROGRESS AND GOP
Has anybody seen a Dixiecrat lately?
Regarding "You can thank the GOP for racial progress (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 12): Mitch Pearlstein's opening argument was based on the cynical claim of higher Republican voting percentages for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We don't have to be too old to know how disingenuous that claim is.
We all remember the story of Lyndon Johnson, a great Democratic proponent of civil rights, saying as he signed the act, "We've just handed the South to the Republican Party," knowing that the Dixiecrat label was about to disappear. Look at the electoral map and judge for yourself. Look at the faces in the crowd at Republican events and judge for yourself.
Mr. Pearlstein, who are you trying to convince?
DAVID SCHULTE, FRIDLEY
Proof of citizenship would ensure fairness
Paula Weseman Theisen hit the nail squarely on the head in her Nov. 11 Counterpoint. You must be a U.S. citizen to vote in this country. Therefore, anyone who registers at the polls by voucher without valid ID and proof of citizenship should have to submit a provisional ballot which would be counted only after their citizenship is validated.
This disenfranchises no one, but does ensure that the election is fair and only U.S. citizens decide who runs our country.
JOHN SHERWIN, EDEN PRAIRIE
In a Nov. 9 column, Jeff Davis makes the remarkable claim that anyone who disagrees with him about voter registration could only do so because they want illegal voting to continue. Never mind the confidence I have, as a Minnesota citizen, that if I am erroneously removed from the registered voter list, I can simply prove who I am on Election Day, and cast a ballot. I disagree with Davis; therefore, I am on the side of criminals.
I suppose that would explain why his group is called the "Minnesota Majority," despite a fringe set of beliefs that have very little public support. Jeff Davis is the real majority, and if the rest of us believe something different, well, we must be up to something sinister.
JIM EMERY, BLOOMINGTON
SMOKING ON CAMPUS
Young adults still aren't completely protected?
Pinch me! Am I dreaming? I can't believe what I read on your Nov. 12 front page. Our statewide smoking ban exempts college campuses?
Was not an argument for this ban to protect our precious young? Many small businesses have had to close shop because of this ban, resulting in loss of wealth, jobs and revenue for the state. That doesn't matter? They are worried about the health of people in bars, restaurants, even outdoor parks but not on college campuses?
Is this just another nightmare of bloated nanny state government?
MARY RASSMUSSEN, FARMINGTON
DOING THE RIGHT THING
MIA's action is part of museum tradition
The actions of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in returning the Fernand Leger painting "Smoke Over Rooftops" -- looted in Paris by the Nazis in World War II --- to its rightful heirs are rooted in the ethical, moral and responsible traditions of America's museums.
Perhaps the institute did not legally need to diminish its collection by returning the work, but by doing so the museum's leadership demonstrated that the institution answers to higher standards. As Mary Abbe's excellent summation of the case (Oct. 30) revealed, the MIA likely invested a significant sum in investigating the provenance of the painting.
Recent studies have shown museums to be among the most trusted institutions in America. That trust has been earned since the first museum opened in the colonies in 1773. The actions of the MIA are Exhibit A in why Americans' faith in their museums is not misplaced.
FORD W. BELL, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS, WASHINGTON, D.C.