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Readers Write: Corporate giving to election deniers, religion, housing, state flag

Autor: Star Tribune

Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.

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Shame on our Minnesota corporations for deceitfully flipping from their proud declarations in support of democracy and fair elections in the aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, to once again funneling money to politicians who voted to overturn the 2020 election results (“Giving to election deniers resumes,” Jan. 28). Have these corporations since concluded that what the world witnessed that awful day was simply a peaceful protest involving tourists strolling through our Capitol? Or are they just cynically counting on us to forget? Character matters, whether corporate or personal.

David Pederson, Excelsior

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The Star Tribune deserves much recognition for Sunday’s article about local companies resuming donations to members of Congress who did not certify the election and thus are not upholding the Constitution. I was stunned to see some of the local companies I trusted and support on that list. And like many readers, I felt betrayed that they were giving money to those politicians who think nothing of undermining the Constitution. We need to hold these companies accountable by shopping elsewhere, writing or calling to the leadership (CEO offices and investor relations) and letting them know we will not support companies that do not support the rule of law. When it comes to Donald Trump and his MAGA followers, I often think about how Adolf Hitler came to power. It wasn’t just German citizens who refused to see the erosion of law and order, but also the banks and industries that colluded with Hitler’s government.

We need to let the following companies know we won’t support their businesses or hold shares when they support the very politicians who are undermining democracy. Make a list of the following companies and let them know you intend to hold them accountable: UnitedHealth Group, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise Financial, Cargill, Target, C.H. Robinson, Best Buy, Ecolab. And then find alternative places to shop and invest.

Carol Dines, Minneapolis

RELIGION

A different shared morality

The “Growing number of ‘nones’ chart path to the future of America’s spirituality” article (Jan. 28) asks: “What will people turn to?”

Humans living together in groups always develop some ground rules, behavioral norms that show what their desired and undesired actions are. Every family develops rules, like: “We rotate who takes out the trash,” “Don’t hit your sister,” etc., etc. Not hard to figure out; no deity required!

Cities and towns quickly develop written or unwritten rules against theft, murder, etc. Families, cities and countries also figure out enforcement methods, from gentle reminders and criticism on up to grounding, jail, even execution.

Religion has provided many excellent rules like the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, etc., but those seem to just represent human cultural wisdom built over the millennia. Again, no deity required, just smart, compassionate people figuring out how to manage larger population groups.

We have a very strong set of democratically established secular rules and decision processes in the U.S. — a very good approach to turn to!

Greg Backlund, Minneapolis

•••

I would like to comment on the Washington Post article regarding religious affiliation in America. It said that, according to Pew Research, around 30% of us are not currently affiliated. Of that 30%, 17% said they are atheists, 20% and 63% “nothing in particular.” How about a category for “secular humanist”? Some secular humanists are atheistic, but not all. They are not agnostics sitting on the fence. And they certainly are not “nothing in particular,” as they hold very particular beliefs.

Deb Myers, Plymouth

HOUSING

Affordability will always be needed

Evan Ramstad’s recent article, with the online headline “Success for Minnesota’s affordable housing providers is when they’re no longer needed” (Jan. 24), illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of affordable and supportive housing in Minnesota and, for that matter, in a functional and compassionate society.

I’m the director of PERIS Housing, an affordable and supportive housing provider serving young adults aging out of foster care and adults earning 50-60% of area median income. The building we operate is a small part of the affordable housing landscape in the Twin Cities, but it plays a pivotal role in the lives of residents.

When young people age out of foster care at 18, they face incredible obstacles to housing stability. Statistically, 30% of them will experience at least one episode of homelessness between ages 19-21. PERIS’ goal is to interrupt the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the young people we house.

To Ramstad’s point, of course, our hope and intention is that the young people in our supportive units will not need PERIS long-term. We are partnering with them to build a foundation for lifelong housing stability. But when our current residents move on, we’ll welcome new ones, because the reality is, there are still young people entering and then aging out of foster care who will need housing.

Foster care is just one example of a life event and social reality that may cause housing instability. Since 45% of Twin Cities residents are currently housing-cost burdened, many of us and our neighbors are living with that concern.

Saying we’ll know affordable and supportive housing are successful when they are no longer needed is like saying we’ll know hospitals are successful when they’re no longer needed, as if an achievable goal for hospitals is that everyone is finally and completely well. Hospitals are essential social infrastructure — so is housing.

As long as we approach housing as a commodity, rather than essential infrastructure, the possibility for housing insecurity exists, and so must affordable housing.

Carla Godwin, Minneapolis

•••

If the League of Minnesota Cities believes the People Over Parking Act is squarely for developers, it has missed the mark (see the letter “Don’t curb local power,” Jan. 30, from the president of LMC).

Did the group consider who introduced this bill? State Sen. Omar Fateh is a declared socialist, not exactly the type whose top priority is company profits. He and the Star Tribune Editorial Board (“Bill aims to put people before parking,” editorial, Jan. 26) correctly understand that parking minimums are protectionist for current residents and hostile to future ones — people like the tenants my husband and I have moving in next month. Because we live in a city that has done away with parking minimums, we as mom-and-pop triplex owners had one less barrier to building another housing unit on our property.

The letter from the president of LMC claims cities have the best interest at heart for their residents, and in so many areas, they do. But on this issue, they’re missing the critical public interest in affordable housing, climate mitigation and resilience, and tax revenue for vital city services that come with removing parking minimums.

Katie Jones, Minneapolis

STATE FLAG OPPOSITION

Don’t they have better things to do?

It seems that Minnesota Republicans have so given up on governing that they must resort to inflaming their base over the new state flag design (“New state flag becomes partisan issue in 2024,” Jan. 28). It is sad for the state, and for their constituents, that they have chosen this fight instead of the harder work of legislation. The flag should represent our collective identity as citizens of Minnesota — and to the extent that we have a shared identity, I believe that it represents us well. Unlike our current flag, which looks like an unrecognizable blob on a patch of blue, every schoolchild will be able recognize and draw the new flag. They will easily identify the shape of Minnesota on the left and understand that the star represents our state motto and the blue colors represent our waters, from which Minnesota derives its name. The flag redesign commission deserves our thanks and congratulations for this excellent new flag. I can’t wait to fly it!

Gretchen Hofmeister, Northfield, Minn.

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