Letters: Sad to see litter and broken glass in downtown St. Paul

16 July 2023

Basic needs first

I was not surprised by the “This once-great city” Letter to the Editor in Thursday’s paper.

My husband and I visited the St. Paul Farmer’s Market last weekend. We were saddened to see streets and sidewalks filled with litter and even broken glass.

I was born in the city and my family has a long history there. It is disturbing to see the downtown looking so uncared for and unloved. Why would anyone want to live there or even visit?

The letter writer mentions the proposed bike pathway on Summit Avenue, which would cost millions of dollars.

As a child I was taught that before splurging on “extras” like vacations, you first had to make sure your basic needs were provided for.

You can spend millions to create a fancy “extra” bike path.  But if it’s in the middle of a dirty city, I suspect your priorities are misplaced.

Lael Belisle, White Bear Lake

Just a plea for basic empathy

Political correctness in American politics mainly refers to the conscious act of upholding policies and using language intended to avoid insulting or marginalizing people in disadvantaged groups. People who are politically correct understand that their words and actions can have a significant impact on groups of people who are vulnerable to discrimination.

As we become more inclusive and accepting as a country, it only makes sense for our language and social norms to evolve to reflect our changing viewpoints. However, political correctness is often mocked, exaggerated, and thrown around as a buzzword in politics, making it appear as a partisan issue when it’s really just a matter of respect. People look down on it because they find it inconvenient to unlearn stereotypes and to change the way that they speak about others, many even claiming it to be a violation of their freedom of speech.

But the truth is, no one is going to hurt you for saying something politically incorrect on accident. We are all learning. And the dirty look you might get when you use an offensive outdated term or slur is nothing compared to the discrimination people in marginalized groups have faced and still face today.  A lot of requests for a change of language are nothing more than a plea for basic empathy.

It can take a little more social awareness than you’re used to, but putting some effort into speaking thoughtfully shows that you are committed to making people feel seen, valued, and respected.

Julia Covert, White Bear Lake


The lying leader

A July 9 letter writer (“Which leader is lying?“) thinks we should “depart” from the Russian-Ukrainian war in order to prevent an “escalation to World War III.” I guess he doesn’t realize that one of the reasons the U.S. and its allies are providing Ukraine with the means to fight off Russia is to actually prevent a WWIII. Putin had made no bones about his plans to conquer Ukraine and keep right on going.

The writer also asks, “(W)hy would any sane country consider escalating tensions in the war by inviting Ukraine to join NATO?”  Never mind that the only country which seriously believes Ukraine should join NATO at this time is Ukraine.

As for which leader is a liar, I think I’d go with the leader who invaded and is killing his neighbors.

Carol Turnbull, Woodbury


The soul of a human being

Ms. Divine’s story about the late Rosemarie Reger-Rumsey and her work with Listening House is energizing.

The reporter listened to many and we the readers hear a story of stories. The many different points of view expressed, from public servants to work colleagues to family members, immerse us in a good life well lived.

We see the soul of a human being.

Rosemarie’s life story becomes a model for one and all. I, we can make a better world too.

The reporter listened and turned a chorus of voices into a revelatory song of praise.

This reader is grateful.

Mike Hazard, Minneapolis


A country of folks with expectations, many of them unrealistic

Until recently it’s always been about the Benjamin’s. And our history clearly illustrates this devotion to the dollar which routinely impacted our society.

Small businesses powered America but died by the thousands as we sought cheaper goods. So did family farms, as consolidation led to bigger farms and cheaper prices for consumers.

Mining towns boomed and busted. Countless farming towns closed up shop, as first the railroad passed them by and then the highways and interstates followed suit. For the most part residents shrugged their shoulders, packed their bags and moved on.

And in our country’s history, Americans accepted this process.  Ghost towns litter the landscape nationwide. Old maps show their locations. Abandoned silos are testament to a farmstead no longer in production by the original farmer. Within the cities you can easily see mom and pop corner general stores converted to housing. The people simply realized they had to close up shop and move somewhere else to make a living.

But something has changed in recent years. Besides wanting to pay the least and reap the most, we have become a country of folks with expectations; many unrealistic, and most possible only with expensive government intervention. Mostly we now demand the status quo be maintained, whatever the cost.

We demand to live where we want for as long as we want and expect full services to boot. We demand full services in remote areas including mail delivery, full service internet, medical care and other amenities like grocery stores regardless of the ability of the providers to make a profit. We expect the infrastructure of those remote communities to be permanently maintained by our governments but don’t want to pay the taxes necessary for our expectations. We rebuild and re-rebuild rather than move to safer areas. We expect our jobs to be permanent and where we want them.

Coastal cities facing ocean flooding? We expect to stay and be bailed out. Western states eviscerating their water sources? No problem,  the government will bail us out; moving is not an option.

That wasn’t the historic American way but it’s become the “I’m deserving of what I want” way. Cry hard and long and government will provide. Sounds sort of like socialism which in view of our expectations might be what we really want but won’t admit it.

Mark Schreiber, St. Paul

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