My jaw dropped when I read the article about Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick and the slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” (“Nike’s Kaepernick ad sparking controversy,” Sept. 5). It takes some serious corporate courage to celebrate an athlete who has bucked the system as Kaepernick has. Clearly, Nike has taken a huge risk, betting there is a profit in tying its swoosh to an athlete who has sacrificed his career and reputation to raise awareness about racism and quicken its end.
Whether Nike’s ad campaign yields an economic profit remains to be seen, but there are already some intangible benefits. We are thinking and talking again about what Kaepernick did and what it means. We’re realizing it’s a much more complicated, nuanced issue than can be summed up in a tweet that brands him as “unpatriotic.”
Pinning down a definition of patriotism on which everyone can agree is not easy, but the definition of “true patriot” credited to Bob Dylan comes awfully close: “…a true patriot [is] one who, indeed loves her or his country, but also one who sees the way things are, and one who works for change to make things better.”
That sure sounds like Kaepernick to me.
PEGGY BRENDEN, St. Paul
The field holds enduring, broad-based value
“My kingdom for an English major!”
Before chemists, economists, civil engineers, and every other professional group can even start to do what they do, they have to engage in highly creative problem-solving — applying their imaginations to consider what might be as much as what is — and then write, at least internally, about everything they do (“For English majors, not the best of times,” Sept. 4).
According to the U.S. Naval Academy, “On commissioning, English majors become Medical Corps officers, pilots, SEALs, submariners, surface warfare officers (both conventional and nuclear), and all manner of Marines. They can advise leaders on matters of public affairs or educate an entire squadron on the intricacies of the mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and weapons systems of its helicopter.”
If colleges abandon liberal-arts degree programs, there won’t be much left to differentiate them from technical schools.
DORIAN HARVEY, Lino Lakes
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I have been practicing law for 35 years. I believe my English major helped me through law school as exams were almost exclusively essays. Likewise with the bar exam. In my practice, my writing skills are put into service every day as I write letters, memorandums and briefs. When I attend high school career fairs, I am commonly asked, “What should I study in college if I want to be a lawyer?” My response is simple — “It doesn’t matter. Just as long as by graduation you know how to write clearly and persuasively with flawless grammar and effective punctuation.”
ROBERT OWENS, Bloomington
Sen. Klobuchar, you’re better than the petty politics we saw
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is one of the best senators in our state’s history. Many times she has been above the partisan fray; displaying an ability to be candid yet respectful.
At the opening hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, she regressed to petty partisan politics by interrupting the committee chair’s opening remarks and being downright disrespectful. She exhibited Trump-like behaviors that go against a Minnesota standard for respect. What’s most concerning is that she acted this way fully knowing she would have a chance during the hearings to make her motion to delay the hearings when it was her turn to speak. Sen. Klobuchar, you’re better than what you displayed Tuesday.
ROBERT STEVENS, Mound
Thank you for keeping a spotlight on this critical issue
Thank you for continuing to feature articles that acknowledge the role of climate change in the ongoing parade of catastrophic events, e.g., recent floods in Wisconsin and the California and Canadian wildfires. Since our current government has chosen to ignore or deny the science that has been universally established for decades, we depend on the press more and more to keep before us the undisputed fact that humans, mainly through oil and coal CO2 emissions and methane emissions from factory farms, are contributing to the escalation of global warming that will have a devastating impact on the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.
I encourage you to make this vital issue even more prominent in future editions as relevant weather events and new scientific evidence warrant coverage. On the positive side, articles on the regional and global advances and successes with solar and wind power and electric-powered vehicles can offer solutions that will give your readers motivation to make the changes necessary to begin to turn the tide.
SID FARRAR, Minneapolis
BARK IN THE PARK
Races were hazardous to English Bulldogs’ health
I was dismayed to see English Bulldogs pictured in the Sept. 4 Star Tribune (“Dogs have their day at Canterbury Park”). They were racing at the Bark in the Park event. Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have flat faces with shortened nasal passages (as do other dogs such as Pekingese, pugs, French Bulldogs, etc.).
Special care must be taken with these breeds in heat and humidity as they cannot breathe as easily as other dogs. To have them running in high humidity, in a stressful situation is nothing short of irresponsible. I am amazed their loving owners agreed to put them in such a dangerous situation. I hope this recent practice of “fun” dog races stops soon, for all breeds.
CELESTE LAMOSSE, Northfield, Minn.
A boring game? Try to enjoy its nuances and subtleties
In response to “Bored by baseball?” (Sept. 4), I must emphasize baseball is most enjoyed if you like the nuances or subtleties of the game. Only in baseball do we love it when nothing happens! We revere the “perfect game” — no hits, no walks, no errors. Only 23 pitchers have done this in the history of the sport, and they are each held in high esteem in the annals of baseball history. For a humorous take on the nuances of the game, watch George Carlin’s baseball vs. football routine.
PETER REDMOND, Minneapolis