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Observing the various opinions and perspectives on the Phillips (Native American) vs. Sandmann (Caucasian Catholic) videos circulating on the news, I am so befuddled by what is lost in it all. Human decency, empathy, compassion, respect. All of the differences coming together in the nation’s capital in support or to protest should be embraced and should be able to stand side by side, respectfully. Maybe that’s what was happening, because it’s what they both claim they were doing — respectfully praying and stopping each other’s factions from heightening the situation. I hope that was the case.

That said, the thing I noticed immediately in the videos was that I couldn’t find any women. I saw a lot of young men. This is a pro-life march, and it affects women on every level, yet these young boys have taken this cause up? Is it close to them? Do they feel that their lives have been affected by abortion? Do they have a personal conviction that hits so close to home that they are traveling across the country for it? I mean, come on. This is an indoctrination of their church and their school. These boys have no idea what it would be like to be a raped woman on a college campus facing an unwanted pregnancy. Nor what it would be like to give birth to a child only to let it die moments later in your arms and have to live with that the rest of their lives. They are merely children themselves. How on earth could they have such an opinion on such a complex topic that has so many layers? I saw a hashtag by a local student who was at a similar rally. It said #prolifeiscool. There isn’t a damn thing cool about pro-life or pro-choice. It is the worst thing a woman would ever have to face, yet these privileged young white boys seem to have a strong opinion about it.

The lesson here is around human decency, empathy, compassion and respect. Some would argue that’s for the unborn child. I would argue let’s take care of the living. But above and beyond it all, let’s teach them the right way to behave, and then let’s have a good, solid debate about complex issues facing our nation, like abortion.

Amy Crosby, Savage

COMMONS PARK

Issues over ownership, operation must not be brushed aside

As one of our most important institutions, the Star Tribune has frequently exercised its power and responsibility to advocate for transparency, accountability and the rule of law. Its Editorial Board failed to meet this standard in “Finding a solution for the Commons” (Jan. 18), about the status of the park adjacent to U.S. Bank Stadium.

The editorial appears to be motivated by a single goal: that taxpayers must feed the insatiable appetite of billionaire sports owners — this end justifies any means, legal or otherwise.

We disagree.

The Minneapolis City Council was told by a judge in 2013 that it was not allowed to own or operate the Commons. Now, a judge has determined that the City Council, having snubbed the 2013 ruling, is illegally spending millions of taxpayer dollars to operate the Commons. In response to this, the Editorial Board suggests we all brush aside the illegalities, end the “wrangling” and support a new scheme for pouring more public money into a park built for the Minnesota Vikings.

They say we preserve existing arrangements that give the Vikings free use for 50 years and doom the grand vision the Star Tribune once held for the Commons. They say the fact that our city has been spending millions of dollars illegally is no big deal.

We say that city officials should be held accountable when they ignore judges and ignore the charter they are sworn to uphold. We say the commissioners we elect to govern our parks should negotiate a use agreement that protects the public interest, not private gain.

We believe that before more public funds are spent unlawfully, the City Council must hold a public hearing on the future of the Commons.

Presumably, city officials took the time to make their case to the Editorial Board. Would it be too much to get a single comment from an elected official on this breach of public trust? Perhaps the Editorial Board speaks for the City Council. If so, who speaks for the public?

Paul Ostrow and John Hayden, Minneapolis

The writers are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the Commons park. Ostrow served on the Minneapolis City Council from 1998 to 2009, and Hayden was a candidate for the council in 2017.

• • •

If you drive south on Portland Avenue, or bike, you may not notice a park at all. Same with Park Avenue. My point is this park is undistinguished, and the reason is scale. So let’s not squabble about looking after it or money and try to salvage it by tunneling under it for at least one of these streets. It will never be a respectable public space until this is done.

We can worry about these other things later.

Steve Mayer, Minneapolis

GOVERNMENT TECH TROUBLES

It’s about the culture

Gov. Tim Walz’s IT challenge is more cultural than technological (“Tech headache bedevils Walz,” Jan. 22). The success of an MNIT project is not dependent upon the adaptability of proven IT systems components. There are departmental turf and control issues that will never be resolved via interdepartmental negotiations. Appointment of a $150,000 chief information officer is the proverbial Band-Aid application for a hemorrhaging predicament. The success of a major IT system installation is dependent upon significant changes to departmental and job responsibilities. These changes require the leadership (and demands) of an organization’s CEO.

Walz will have to lead the competitive selection of a highly credentialed consulting firm. The MNIT systems project (situation analysis, design, installation, operation) will be multiyear in duration. It could exist for the remainder of the governor’s term of office. But what a “legacy” it would be.

Gene Delaune, New Brighton

SHUTDOWN/BORDER WALL

Coalesce here

I appreciate the various views in the Jan. 23 editorial about the government shutdown; I believe all have merit at one point or another. But in my opinion, there is one huge, overriding concern: the precedent that will be set if Congress agrees to negotiate before the shutdown is ended. This will have repercussions beyond my lifetime. Presidents from both parties will be able to view a shutdown as a viable way to get what they want. I hope that we as Americans can agree, no matter our party, that this will cause great damage to our system of government. And I hope anyone who agrees will contact their congresspeople — no matter what their wish is for the eventual resolution of the issues — to strongly advocate against using shutdowns to hold our government (and nation) hostage, for any principle whatsoever.

Adair New, Minneapolis

• • •

It helps to have a sense of humor in these difficult times, even when the joke is inadvertent. Members of the Editorial Board, unable to agree, printed signed and highly divergent views on how to resolve the shutdown/wall mess. Instead of a consensus, they gave us a metaphor for intransigence. The crisis of a fragmented society is not abated by fragmented editorials. The board’s job is to warn us against deadlock, not to embody it.

David Lebedoff, Minneapolis