As a retired physician, I must take strong exception to the essay in Wednesday's paper from Lisa Swanson ("In medical crisis, family needs support, not punishment," Opinion Exchange). Her questions regarding length of life vs. quality of life are valid. When people with life-threatening disease are facing this issue, most physicians respect the autonomy of their patients. We inform and advise, based on our best understanding of our best science. If the patient decides otherwise, we are ethically obliged to accept that. And Swanson's personal experience ("I have lived with a chronic illness for over 30 years") must be respected — even though her negative generalizations about physicians are quite apparent ("Rarely have doctors discussed side effects ... . Rarely do they cheer when I tell them diet and mindfulness meditation have changed my condition.")
But getting back to autonomy, that's the piece missing from Swanson's essay. For better or worse, our society protects children and our community from certain life challenges and experiences. For instance, we don't let 5-year-olds drive cars or vote. Likewise, most objective adults recognize that minors lack the maturity to deal with life-or-death decisions that affect themselves. So, the goal with Keaton Peck ("Chemo refusal brings parental rights fight," May 24) is not to foist medical treatment against the wishes of the parents. The goal is — so to speak — to keep him alive, not just because of our respect for life, but to allow him to attain legal authority to make his own decision as to whether he wishes to accept the risks of conventional care or pursue the risks of unproven therapy.
Hopefully, as medicine progresses, conventional care for patients like Peck will improve. Hopefully, the success rate will be greater and the complication rate less. Then, parents such as Peck's won't have to agonize over choosing the lesser of two evils for their underage child.
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
POLITICAL LIES, TRUTHS
Try asking Trump a question longer than a couple words
Bruce Peterson's column ("Reject political lies … but hear the truths they reveal," Opinion Exchange, May 29) described questions he wished moderator Kaitlan Collins had asked former President Donald Trump during the recent CNN town hall. One started with, "Mr. President, you keep saying the election was stolen …" — at which point Trump would have talked over her about how it was the greatest travesty in American history, and she never would have had a chance to finish her complex question about how he would restore faith to those who felt their political power had been stolen by changing demographics, identity politics, Wall Street, etc., etc.
Peterson opined that a second question could have been asked about E. Jean Carroll's jury verdict and the changing role of women in society, the Me Too movement, affording women protection and full equality, etc., etc.
Does anyone think she would have gotten any further than the words "jury verdict"?
Mary Alice Divine, White Bear Lake
Peterson is right on the money when he says that countering political lies with polarized facts doesn't work. But he missed, perhaps, some of the best examples.
I happen to have friends on both sides of the political spectrum. My liberal friends insist that election fraud is a hoax and point to the fact that even in 2020 recounts where Republicans were in charge, they couldn't find significant fraud. But my conservative friends point to the fact that the "fraud" is in plain sight. The Dems go door to door in poor neighborhoods encouraging people to vote, and now they want felons and college students to vote — making elections a joke. Being an old white guy myself, I am also prone to nostalgia for some of the good old days, when sit-down restaurants had printed menus and the patrons took their caps off while dining. But those days are gone and Black and brown people get to vote now. Get over it.
Plus I have liberal friends who happen to be serious Catholics and were driven out of the DFL for it. We need to get past silly slogans like "pro-life" and "pro-choice" (BTW, I'm in favor of both "life" and "choice") and "election fraud" and have serious discussions about things like what democracy really means and which lives are valuable, under what circumstances.
John K. Trepp, Minneapolis
We're not happy till you're not happy
I would argue it's a win for democracy and the largely forgotten and frustrated political middle when both the farther left and the farther right of the spectrum are unhappy with the debt ceiling deal.
Dennis Speetzen, Minneapolis
Like Nazi Germany? Um, no.
I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent Christopher Weyant political cartoon published May 26. The cartoon in question compares the state of Florida to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and I find this comparison to be both offensive and deeply troubling.
First and foremost, it is important to recognize the severity and brutality of the Nazi regime in Germany during the 1930s. Millions of innocent people, mainly Jews, were persecuted, tortured and killed simply because of their race, religion or political beliefs. To compare the state of Florida, a democratic state within the United States, to such a regime is not only inaccurate but also disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust and their families.
Furthermore, the cartoon perpetuates harmful stereotypes and misinformation about Florida and its residents. It suggests that the state is inherently racist and oppressive, which is simply not true. While Florida, like any other state, has its share of social and political issues, it is unfair to paint the entire state and its people with such a broad brush.
As a society, we must be careful not to trivialize or minimize the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. Comparing any modern-day political situation to the horrors of the Holocaust is not only inaccurate but also insensitive to the victims and their families.
In conclusion, I urge your newspaper to be more thoughtful and responsible in its editorial decisions. The comparison of Florida to Nazi Germany is not only inaccurate but also deeply offensive, and it is important that we all work together to promote understanding and respect for all people and cultures.
Robert A. Ganz, Plymouth
Long live the queen
Forty years ago I was fortunate enough to see Tina Turner at First Avenue. A friend had tickets and offered to take me. I wasn't entirely enthusiastic, but thought, why not? Let me say it was one of the best shows I have ever witnessed to this day, all at the tender age of 19.
First Avenue, June 27, 1983. Tina had previously split from Ike Turner and was doing her own tour. She was in her 40s, so young, ignorant me thought, how great can she be. Really?! Her dancing, vocals — purely Tina — and also her amazing energy made her the queen of rock 'n' roll. She was a force that you couldn't see anywhere else, even in her younger contemporaries.
A few years later I went to see her at Target Center after "Private Dancer" came out. I thought there was no way she could top the experience at the small, intimate venue of First Avenue, but I was wrong! Big goosebumps ... so great!
I'm very sad about Tina's passing and feel extremely fortunate to have borne witness to her greatness. Tina was simply the best.
A big fan. Thank you!
Lisa Carr Thornton, Minneapolis