I'm trying to follow the reasoning in Thursday's editorial "Target puts safety first — as it must." The Editorial Board condemns the actions of people who trash displays and/or issue threats regarding Target's promotion of Pride merchandise including adult swimsuits for transgender people, while opining that it's OK for Target to remove the items from store displays because some of the objectors might carry guns.
So, if I get enough of my friends together, we can rampage through Hobby Lobby, destroying anything that displays a cross and harassing employees because of all the fully documented stories of sexual abuse of children by clergy, and the Editorial Board will be fine with that since members of my group might have weapons?
Target is trying to have it both ways, and that is understandable because Target's goal as a for-profit corporation is to make money for its shareholders. But for the Editorial Board to support Target's cowardly decision to pull items rather than beef up security and to call for the prosecution of these vandals is simply emboldening them further. Shame on you!
Theresa J. Lippert, St. Paul
Target has announced that it is making substantial changes to its line of Pride merchandise, following a campaign by some conservatives who argued the retailer's LGBTQIA+ friendly products were an effort to "groom" young children ("Target pulls some Pride products after threats," front page, May 25).
The company hasn't offered a lot of specifics regarding which merchandise might have been removed but released a statement explaining that "Since introducing this year's collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members' sense of safety and wellbeing while at work. Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior."
To be clear, I don't underestimate the amount of anger some employees have faced from a small contingent of protesters. But as is the case with all bullies, giving into their demands doesn't make them go away. Winning the first round only emboldens them and convinces them the victory is somehow proof their cause is morally just.
So it is almost inevitable these conservatives will simply shift their attention to the next line of Target products they feel is somehow problematic. They'll argue rainbow sherbet is too woke or complain that the chain sells black olives but no white ones. Each complaint will feed into the next one, and it will never end. Dangerous behavior will escalate and employees will increasingly feel less safe.
Because these arguments are less about the appropriateness of the products and more about cultural politics. There is a slice of the modern-day conservative movement whose members see every issue through the lens of rolling back change.
Rainbow flags are another form of grooming, books about the civil rights movement don't focus on all of the good things in America. "Sure, there were slaves in the South before the Civil War. But what about biscuits and gravy and banjo music?"
There is no compromise, because finding a middle ground would provide some level of acceptance they refuse to provide. Every protest is an epic moral battle between good and evil.
Despite what Target might claim, it's impossible to "stand with" the LGBTQIA+ community if your support only extends to the moment when it's inconvenient or causes problems. That's not celebrating Pride Month. It's nothing more than a branding exercise that's discarded when a few people make it difficult.
Rick Ellis, Inver Grove Heights
Target had to take action to protect employees and customers from violence by those who oppose LGBTQ rights. Some of these people destroyed property, personally threatened employees and threatened the retailer online. Will these people be held responsible for their actions? Will law enforcement arrest them and the justice system hold them accountable? Will they be allowed to go free while they await their day in court?
We raise the same concerns about juveniles who are accused of carjackings and armed robbery. Should we treat those who threaten others because of differing political opinions differently from those who steal cars? Both of these groups have found the threat of violence gets them what they want. Both groups will continue to terrorize the community until they are held responsible.
Hold those who threatened Target and destroyed Target property responsible for their actions — otherwise they will feel free to continue in their anti-social, violent ways.
Judy Zaunbrecher, Minneapolis
Criticism was heavy on theatrics
Steven Schier ("How DFLers kept legislating until Minnesota turned blue," Opinion Exchange, May 22) demonstrates that being an emeritus professor means never having to mince words.
Should city-dwellers be offended, I wonder, when Schier suggests that paroled felons will "likely reside heavily in already blue jurisdictions"? Hmm. Perhaps he has statistics to back that up.
Schier has a choice word for state Republicans — "feckless" — and paints them as chronic complainers (on this point, I'm sure the data is on his side), and he questions whether marijuana users will be able to find their way to the polls. (That last remark I suspect was hyperbolic and meant in jest, though marijuana users may have interpreted it differently.)
He also posits that the DFL "crushed those troublesome marijuana parties." Could it be the marijuana parties were successful in achieving their vision, albeit by forcing the hand of one of the major parties (the DFL)?
I can only surmise from the tone of Schier's essay that his political science classes at Carleton were electric, engaging and in high demand. No one wants to miss out on fireworks.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
I have often admired Schier's insights on Minnesota politics, which is why his evidence-free analysis of the future impact of DFL legislative actions regarding election reforms and voting rights expansion is quite shocking.
Schier concluded, apparently only by sheer intuition, that as an ingenious result of the DFL changes he cites, the overwhelming majority of potheads, newly enfranchised ex-felons, and "pipelined" youth voters will now flock to the DFL. This can be the only outcome, because, as everyone is presumed to know, there are no marijuana users, ex-felons or teenagers who vote Republican. Well, if true, that is the Republicans' problem, not Minnesota's.
But the most disturbing observation in this essay is this: "Felons likely reside heavily in already blue jurisdictions, limiting their impact on legislative and congressional races." What? Oh, please. I'm an old white guy, but even I can hear that dog whistle.
None of the sweeping assertions by Schier about voting behavior includes even a passing reference to some supporting data or source. In the future one hopes that the good professor will, in the words of my high school teacher, "show your work."
Schier claims that in raising the voting bar for major party status from 5% to 8%, the DFL is squelching the two pro-marijuana parties (which combined captured barely 2% of the vote in 2022). Does he think that the now-relaxed cannabis laws will help those groups get closer to even 5% in the future? More oddly, he claims that legalization "will move many voters from the marijuana parties into the DFL electorate." Well, yeah.
Corwin Snyder, Sauk Rapids, Minn.