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Wow. Censorship is alive and well in Minnesota. Ted Nugent, a rock ’n’ roller whose star has long passed its zenith, is upsetting some people at a county fair because of his political orientation (“Fair’s act doesn’t fit civility campaign,” Jon Tevlin column, July 31). Again, a county fair. Not your local church sanctuary.

Please let me be the first to say that I disagree with Old Ted’s “muscular conservatism.” It really is a worn-out piece: more guns, more testosterone. While I love his riff on “Great White Buffalo,” the rest of his music has proved pedantic. And his political thoughts are, as well, tired and old.

That said, who are these concerned parents in Freeborn County who are so comfortable with censorship? Always in the name of protecting the children, of course. That children cannot learn, nor can their parents teach them, the difference between idiocy and common sense? Or between genuine politics and a roadshow?

This is the greatest country in the world precisely because it permits, nay, encourages people with unpleasant, unpopular points of view to speak. No matter how hurtful. People get arrested in other countries for saying unpopular, unpleasant and hurtful things. Not in this country.

Unpleasant ideas aren’t dealt with by stifling them. They are best brought to the fore wherein the disinfectant of sunshine may show them to their true light.

Let Ted Nugent play. If he goes off music and into politics, then let his audience decide whether it will tolerate Old Terrible Ted.

Charles Krumrie, Minneapolis

• • •

This unusual election cycle has reduced mental jousting over policy to tongue-lashing over Twitter, but this isn’t just a media spectacle — it’s a call to action.

Freeborn County is answering that call. Freeborn County is “Choosing Civility.”

Its commitment to “respect, consideration, empathy and tolerance” is precisely the action we need to see change, one community at a time. For instance, the county’s Principles of Civility, outlined on its website, act as a prototype for other towns and cities across America. And if each state has just one of these campaigns, we can see change sprout from the municipal level to the federal level.

The people of Freeborn County are replacing fiery exchanges across convention platforms and violent crime on sidewalks with tactful and civic engagement. They’re saying “we’re done” with disrespect and bullying. And we, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, are broadcasting the same message: We’re looking to not only choose civility, but to revive civility entirely.

We still need political candidates to put civil discourse before argument, and consideration before intimidation, but I’m comforted knowing that whole counties and cities are working to #ReviveCivility. We need everyone to follow Freeborn County’s lead.

Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Washington, D.C.

The writer is executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, a nonpartisan organization based at the University of Arizona.


He keeps doing what he does, so what about his party cohorts?

The latest Donald Trump insult, and perhaps among his worst, was to dismiss and disparage the grieving parents of a war hero who died fighting for our country. The soldier happened to be a Muslim.

When will supposedly principled, responsible Republicans repudiate this man? When will they stop making excuses for his narcissistic bullying?

When will they stop putting party before country?

Craig M. Roen, St. Paul

• • •

When Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, a former gubernatorial candidate, says of Trump, “I will vote for him but not with great enthusiasm,” does that mean that the vote counts for less than one vote?

Theodore Nagel, Minneapolis

• • •

I know from experience that it is not always comfortable or convenient to have the courage of our convictions. However, sooner or later most of us have faced a situation that is so untenable that we know we must finally take a stand.

I believe that moment has come for my representative, Erik Paulsen. Statements like “Trump is going to have to earn Erik’s vote” no longer cut it. Paulsen may not have embraced Trump, but more important, he has not renounced him. I could list a litany of Trump’s boorish and destructive statements, but I assume the informed among us are all too familiar with his vile rhetoric.

It is clear that Paulsen has put partisan politics above the good of the country. I, for one, expect more from my elected official.

Terri Mifek, Bloomington


Getting tough, viewing it as a ‘cancer’? Wrong approach.

Regarding “Anoka gets tougher with homeless” (July 30): That city response to homelessness is misguided and expensive, and it won’t solve the problem. People don’t willingly choose to be homeless. It’s not a lifestyle choice, and it will not be solved with a law enforcement response. You can hire security to “move it along” for a while, but if you really want to solve the problem of people hanging out on the streets and sleeping in the parks, invest in affordable housing, employment services and social supports. That may take more time and effort, but a multipronged community solution is a wiser use of taxpayer dollars and the only way to break the cycle of homelessness.

Gail Dorfman, St. Louis Park

The writer, a former member of the Hennepin County Board, is executive director at St. Stephen’s Human Services.

• • •

While the residents of Anoka may indeed have concerns about people loitering downtown, the callousness displayed by some of the city’s elected officials is disturbing, to say the least.

A City Council member refers to the homeless seen downtown as a “cancer that has grabbed a hold of downtown.” He proceeds to say, “It’s like being diagnosed with an illness. You want to go after it right away. You want to go after it aggressively to get a handle on it before it gets out in the neighborhoods, because it will.”

And the mayor adds, “People have a right to choose to be homeless.” (How many would do that?)

Apparently, to these officials, the homeless are a nameless, faceless problem, not humans. What is solved by shooing them away, taking their ugliness somewhere else?

Mark Nordling, St. Paul


Looks like we could help both ag economy, environment

I am not a farmer or an economist, so please help me understand what I am missing. Looks like farmers are facing another year of surplus crops and low prices (“Crop prices likely to drive a fork between farms, banks,” Aug. 1), and their only hope of reprieve is to wish for a drought or another calamity in some other place to raise prices. Brent Gloy, an agricultural economist at Purdue University, states, “The biggest culprit in all of it is acres of production. We have added a lot of acres.”

In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton is struggling to convince farmers and Republicans that his proposal requirement of 16.5-foot-wide strips of natural vegetation along private ditches will benefit farmers and all of the rest of us who want clean water (“Water quality a top issue as ag interests gather at FarmFest,” July 31). Half of all lakes and rivers in southern Minnesota are too polluted much of the time to allow swimming or fishing. There is strong evidence that pollution in the Minnesota River is causing silt to fill up Lake Pepin and is contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

So, wouldn’t taking buffer acreage uniformly out of cultivation reduce the volume of crops, potentially raising prices, and reduce runoff and soil erosion to improve water quality? It looks like a win-win to me.

Catherine V. Jordan, Minneapolis