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Readers Write: Book banning, police, environment, vaccine requirements

Readers Write: Book banning, police, environment, vaccine requirements

The Feb. 1 article by “Let’s Not mince words: Banning books such as “Maus” is the work of bigots,” rightly exhorts censorious parents, school boards, and other people who are behind recent book bans. This kind of censorship is not allowed in a country that was founded on the liberal enlightenment values of freedom of thought, speech, and speech.

However, I think she engages in rhetorical sleight-of-hand by omission when she highlights some books that make up the American Library Association’s annual ListeHere are some of the most commonly banned books. Books that focus on the experiences of historically marginalized communities are at the top of the list, she says. This implies that this is the work reactionary, possibly racist, or transphobic school boards and parents standing in the way a progressive conception social progress. This is very likely.

The books Nos. Books Nos. 7 and 8 are not included on the ALA List: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. Inconveniently for the book-banners-are-reactionary narrative, the impetus to ban these two titles most commonly comes from the political left. A Seattle-area school board recently voted to remove Lee from the required reading list for students. This happened in a county. Voted58% Democrats in the last presidential election.

Traditional liberal values, such as freedom to inquire, are not only vital for the search of truth, but they are also social tools that help build cohesion across a vast country. A collective commitment to avoid book bans ends hyperpartisan debates about who is allowed to decide what is banned. It is easy to forget that in this turbulent political environment, we must find a way to live together peacefully and contribute to common civic projects. This would be possible if there was a transideological avoidance to censorship politics.

Brian J. Krause, Minneapolis

The article on the campaign to ban books across the country by citizens: Are these the same citizens that object to vaccinations and government programs because it will lead into communism? Guess what? Book banning will make it possible.

Linda Hove, Isanti, Minn.


It seems unfair to put the blame on police officers who have to control uncontrollable and threatening people, usually men, and use postures proven effective at restraining those in an altered mental condition (“Ignore ketamine reports, officers told,” February. 1). The police officers might be blamed for not being able to control the uncooperative person. Yes, sometimes there is an opportunity for deescalation that is missed. Situations can change quickly, and police officers who ask for ketamine by name reveal aversion to physical altercation.

George Floyd’s death and other unfortunate, sometimes unnecessary incidents involving uncooperative individuals are largely attributable to the immediate supervisors and managers at the precinct levels, who allow degrading and insulting attitudes towards fellow human beings not only to emerge, but thrive. We taxpayers are the ones who are embarrassed by such uncontrolled behavior when a subject resists arrest. They must fit a spit hood on the subject and place him/her on a stretcher. But laughing at these situations and the police officers seeming like they are prescribing medication or color-of law retaliation is wrong.

Bruce Lundeen, Minneapolis


Although I consider my self a passionate urbanite and an environmentalist, I must admit that I think year-round residents of the Iron Range who are concerned about the lack good employment options have a great point (“One town. Two voices,” front page Jan. 31). Full-time jobs in the mining sector are difficult to replace, as well as all the associated business that a major employer brings. It is not enough for us to say no to mining. We must also find other sources of minerals to make our phones and solar panels. And we have to offer something to those who are looking for decent jobs in Ely, Virginia, and Mountain Iron.

The latter is more abstract but it’s still fair: If we’re not willing to sacrifice our wilderness then who will? Other citizens who live in beautiful natural areas of another state? Residents from poorer countries with lax industrial regulations. Perhaps we should invest to a sister city in order to express our gratitude to them for their help.

The latter is much more tangible. President Joe Biden has spoken extensively about all the green jobs we will create if renewable energy is prioritized. How about we build a wind turbine plant in Hibbing. You could also make more solar panels at the Iron Range. Gov. Tim Walz, can you help us direct some of the federal infrastructure money to these projects? While we’re at this, how can we continue to provide broadband for rural communities? What can we do to help small farmers navigate these uncertain times?

Liberals love to talk about the big tent. Let’s make sure this tent extends all the way up North and outstate.

Minneapolis, Jeff Naylor

Kudos for the front-page story about the PolyMet wastewater permit being denied by the state court of appels (“PolyMet permit rejected,” Jan. 25,). It was fascinating to see how all sides claimed victory in this decision. I was puzzled by a single sentence at the end of the article.

“PolyMet’s open pit mine would devastate more than 900 acres on former Superior National Forest land, and generate more than 200,000,000 tons of polluted waters to be stored behind dams that would require indefinite maintenance.”

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Really? Do you think this is a good idea, other than a few foreign owners?

Vincent Wyckoff, Minneapolis


The letter’s author, Feb. 1, stated that Minneapolis restaurants could lose business due to the vaccine mandate. However, he failed to mention an equally important counterpoint. How much business will they get from customers who, for their safety, only patronize establishments that adhere to the mandate? This is what I do. It is one of my key factors in deciding where to dine.

Vic Spadaccini Grand Rapids, Minn.

A little common sense is all you need when it comes to vaccine cards. Smartphone cameras are commonplace nowadays. If you are not vaccinated, a scan of your vaccination card is as easy as grabbing your phone. This is what I suspect is behind all of the moaning.

Jim Weidner Minneapolis

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