On Sept. 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford issued a full and unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon for any and all crimes against the United States. He wanted to avoid the long-drawn-out process of prosecution of the disgraced former president. He believed that process would have been highly partisan and would have deeply divided the country, which was at the time, facing many other issues deemed more important.
By comparison, former President Donald Trump's potential prosecution seems likely to be far more divisive and damaging to the country. But he certainly doesn't merit an unconditional pardon like that given to Nixon. Is there an alternative that could end the mess we find ourselves in? I submit that a conditional pardon could be an answer. A full pardon could be offered to Trump and his family if he and all of his children and their spouses agreed that they will 1) never again run for any public office, 2) never again endorse any political candidate for any office, local, state or federal, 3) never again engage in political discourse in any media, including social media, 4) admit publicly that the 2020 election was fairly won by President Joe Biden, 5) admit that actions in attempting to prevent the transfer of power and mishandling of presidential documents are crimes of which Trump is guilty, and 6) never participate in any interviews in the media or write any book or publication about the aforementioned pardon or any of the crimes it forgives.
Should any of these conditions be broken by any family member, perhaps a fine could be levied against the Trump organization and all real estate holdings of the organization be surrendered to the federal government, except for a single residence for each family.
If he accepts the pardon under the above conditions, his voice would be effectively silenced and his acolytes would no longer have a rallying point from which to launch their absurd conspiracy theories. It would take some time, but the flames would eventually burn out. If he refuses the pardon, the government has every right to prosecute him fully for every crime he and his family have been accused of.
This could be a win-win-win situation. The GOP effectively rids itself of the toxic environment created by Trump. The Democrats remove their most dangerous competitor. And, the country finally gets to move on after Trump admits his wrongdoing and goes quietly into that good night.
Mark A. Wolters, Woodbury
The duopoly endures
The Star Tribune guide to elections leaves me wondering if there are any third party candidates running for important offices in Minnesota ("Minnesota 2022 voter's guide: Who's running in the election, where they stand on the issues," StarTribune.com, Sept. 21). The two-party system leaves much to be desired and the fact that news organizations, not only in Minnesota but across the country, give no voice to third-party candidates is frustrating in the extreme. How are voters to choose among the other names on the ballot if we don't know what their position is? Too bad the Star Tribune can't find the time or space to allow other candidates to speak.
Oh, and I don't want to hear the "wasted vote" nonsense. It's not wasted if you believe in the candidate. The two-party system needs some competition, and this sort of an election guide doesn't help.
Dan Anderson, Birchwood Village
I am not sure what is more disturbing about the recent election guide.
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber's comment about the climate (it's weather-related, sir!) responding that crime in the Twin Cities is the big problem (not your district and not related to climate change, sir).
No, it is the fact that U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, my congressman, had no answers to anything. And he'll win handily in the Sixth District that still thinks Jan. 6 was caused by antifa. Fah!
Paul Schultz, Ham Lake
I was not surprised to see that my Seventh District representative, Michelle Fischbach, declined to answer all questions in the Star Tribune election guide. I guess she didn't have time to get the "correct" answers from Trump and the Republican National Committee. (Some of her mailings have been word-for-word identical to those sent by Stauber and late Rep. Jim Hagedorn.) She tries to impress our red-leaning district by being against everything, but doesn't seem to be for anything. We are not getting our money's worth from this representative.
Mark Hodapp, Belle Plaine
ATTORNEY GENERAL RACE
Ellison has the experience needed
Perhaps Jim Schultz misread the job description when he filed to run against Keith Ellison for Minnesota attorney general. With his sole focus on crime and how many sheriffs he can find to endorse him, he may have thought he was applying for a sheriff or officer position, except he has no experience ("Nearly two dozen sheriffs endorse Schultz for AG," Sept. 21). As a hedge fund attorney with no prosecution or courtroom experience, perhaps he should find another office for which he's better suited.
The Attorney General's Office, according to its website, "enforces state consumer protection and antitrust laws, regulates charitable institutions, and advocates for people and small businesses" on a wide range of issues. As "the people's lawyer," Ellison advocates for senior citizens who are victims of scams, veterans who are experiencing problems accessing benefits and, yes, those who are victims of crime.
Unlike Schultz, who holds extreme anti-abortion views that are rejected by most Minnesotans, Ellison believes in upholding a woman's right to the reproductive health care of their choice, including abortion.
Ellison is the right person to continue leading this important office. He has the experience and knowledge needed to serve all Minnesotans. I encourage his opponent to reread the job description and keep his day job.
Diane Haugesag, Bloomington
Interesting and inspiring all at once
I landed the internship of my dreams this summer at Hennepin Healthcare. Walking into each department was riveting. I saw doctors sprinting to their dying patients, traumas that included gushing blood coming from amputated wounds, and one patient had a full body rash that was cherry red, speckled with white pustules and lesions. The scenes I witnessed left me awe-struck and profoundly interested. The doctors' compassion for their patients was unmatched. I attribute my experiences to the hospital I was interning for — Hennepin Healthcare, which has a complicated reputation for various reasons. They are understaffed, underfunded and the safety net hospital for the whole city — meaning the uninsured and the homeless. They have one of the most advanced trauma centers in the Midwest, which sounds like a good thing until you realize these doctors are working with the most ghastly cases. After witnessing patients screaming in agony, with bloody wounds, and hearing the craziest stories, the most impactful thing after the long eight-hour day was the absolute care each doctor had for their patients no matter the background or current mental status. The hospital was a place of inclusion and equity. As a kid, I saw white people on signs and on advertisements but at Hennepin, you saw every culture represented. I remember practicing CPR and being pleasantly surprised there were black and white baby dolls to practice on. It was those little things that made a cumulative difference. Hennepin really was a home for some, and I'm not saying that ironically because some of the patients didn't have anywhere else to go.
The founder of the program was like Oprah Winfrey to me. I first met her at a youth summit. I listened to her speak at the edge of my seat. She commanded the room. Everyone had their eyes fixed on her, mouths sealed and leaning in, and you could hear a pin drop. When she spoke it was with grace and poise. What made Dr. Nneka Sederstrom was special how genuine she was and how much she believed in us. I hope the interns of 2023 get the same experience.
Stella Wright, Golden Valley