I believe the entire country is disgusted with politicians that don’t represent them, promote themselves in misleading ways, and the continuing politics of Washington, which is how Donald Trump got elected. I can easily understand that. I believe most Americans are in the middle of the spectrum, and would like our government to go back to compromise for effective governance. We do not want extreme left or right judges, cabinets or representation. I did not appreciate Republicans blocking and obstructing whenever they would have to compromise, and I am contacting all my representatives to tell them so. I am upset that they would not do their job with the Supreme Court vacancy, just to control the outcome, rather than look at a nominee that wasn’t far right. I don’t want Democrats to “capitulate” to far-right candidates and policies. As voters, we have to make them find the middle.
For our government to move forward, we need an independent investigation into Russian involvement in the election and conflicts of interest that Donald Trump has, and probably legislation to require all future presidential candidates to disclose enough personal information to discern conflicts of interest. Americans need to know our representatives support our democratic system of government with checks and balances, and that they will vote to assure us it is effective and relevant. At this point, every vote is significant, and I believe politicians will be surprised at the number of voters who are keeping track of this. Although I am an independent and prefer not to get involved in every vote of government, I can if I feel it is needed to get an effective government. Now is a great moment for Republicans to show that they can govern effectively.
Maureen Andre-Knudsen, Edina
• • •
A Feb. 16 letter writer urges everyone to call their members of Congress and “tell them we need to know what the president’s [Trump’s] conflicts of interest are and where his loyalties lie.” Interesting we never needed to know that about Barack Obama. Asking that Congress do the same to Obama would have been heresy, right?
Jerry Bich, Wayzata
TELEPHONE TOWN HALLS
No picnic for constituents querying U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis
When the phone rang Thursday night with an unidentified number, I almost didn’t answer. Really, I never answer those calls.
It turned out to be my U.S. representative, Jason Lewis, surprising select constituents with an opportunity to listen to him demonstrate his verbal gifts. Taking carefully selected questions from a few prescreened callers, he adeptly amplified his own arguments while deflecting challenging questions and shutting down dissenting voices.
The biggest surprise, though, was when Lewis responded to a caller’s concern about our president’s relationship with Russia. I believe I heard the congressman say that there is no evidence to indicate any investigation whatsoever is warranted.
How is someone who has made a career out of being concerned about the misuse of federal power suddenly content to look the other way?
Please, let’s call on all our representatives to truly put America first.
Susan Moses-Zirkes, Mendota Heights
• • •
I was randomly selected to participate in a telephone town hall meeting with Lewis. Having recently watched the Second District representative address the House floor on the commitment for civility, in which he discussed the importance of listening to one another rather than “shouting louder than somebody else,” I was hopeful that he would actually listen to his constituents’ concerns. Unfortunately, he spent more time talking than listening. He was rude to several callers, either cutting them off or loudly talking over them, and the majority of his responses, particularly with regard to the Affordable Care Act, sounded like scripted talking points only tangentially related to the specific questions asked. He also used every opportunity to criticize and blame Democrats, some (Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton) by name. When one caller inquired about in-person town hall meetings, he replied defensively that many representatives never hold any town hall meetings of any kind, as if constituents should be grateful he is making time to listen at all! He doesn’t seem to understand that listening does not mean interrupting and talking over people to tell them why they are wrong. I sincerely hope that Rep. Lewis takes his own advice and really starts listening.
Jennifer Joffee, Inver Grove Heights
‘DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS’
Wouldn’t have it been better to turn that message around?
Am I naive in thinking last week’s “Day Without Immigrants” hurt most the immigrants themselves, who may have lost a full day of wages and tips? Not to mention the business owners who lost a day of income, along with all of their suppliers? (“Immigrants and their allies close shop and close ranks,” Feb. 17). This is akin to “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” Wouldn’t it be much more positive and powerful to borrow from “Shop Local” day, urging people to patronize businesses that hire immigrants? In turn, “Day With Immigrants” could take on a life of its own, as has the Shop Local movement, boosting business and opportunities for all. The current approach is counterintuitive to me.
Jean E. Hanvik, Burnsville
Gender bias in historical quotes; racial insensitivity in retail
Regarding “A painting of Jackson and a portrait in contrasts” (Feb. 12), Thomas Jefferson and the D.C. mayor at the time can be forgiven, but a contemporary author quoting them ought to raise awareness of their noninclusive language. I suggest these changes in the quotations: “All people are created equal” and “All eyes are opened and opening to human rights. The general spread … of the light of science … the palpable truth that the mass of humankind has not been born with saddles on their backs … .”
There is no excuse today for referring to humanity with “man” or “men” or “mankind.” It demeans women. I ask men if they feel included by the statements “All women are created equal” or “We must respect the rights of womankind.” I am certain men would not feel included, and I urge people to develop sensitivity to language that implicitly insults women. That it was used in the past does not make it sacrosanct.
Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.
• • •
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but for the occasion, Target sold “dreamcatchers” right at the front entrance in a section full of nifty items for kids.
These mass-produced valentine “dreamcatchers” trivialize and demean indigenous culture. I am especially concerned about the hurtful, harmful and terribly confusing messages that children take in when they see items like these.
Meanwhile, Target sells many other products that similarly disrespect and misappropriate indigenous culture, including more dreamcatcher décor, “play” teepees and a “tribal knit throw.”
When I called Target’s corporate Guest Services to share my concern and ask for the removal of the “dreamcatchers,” I was told that products are removed only when there are multiple guest complaints. I wonder, just how many complaints does it take for Target to admit a mistake and do the right thing?
There appears to be a large gap between Target’s shelves and the corporate beliefs it touts, such as “celebrating diversity and inclusion” and “design for all.” Walk your talk, Target. It matters for kids, for First Nation people, for all of us!
Lyn Mitchell, Minneapolis