Review Editor’s Note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters readers online and in print every day. To contribute, click here.
On September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford granted a full and unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon for all crimes against the United States. He wanted to avoid the long process of prosecuting the disgraced former president. He believed that this process would have been highly partisan and would have deeply divided the country, which at the time was facing many other issues deemed more important.
By comparison, the potential lawsuits of former President Donald Trump appear likely to be far more divisive and damaging to the country. But he certainly does not deserve an unconditional pardon like that granted 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 wives agreed that they would 1) never again run for public office, 2) never again support any political candidate for any office , local, state or federal, 3) never again engage in political speech in any media, including social media, 4) publicly admit that the 2020 election was fairly won by President Joe Biden, 5 ) admit that actions to prevent the transfer of power and the mishandling of presidential documents are crimes of which Trump is guilty, and 6) never participate in media interviews or write a book or publication on the aforementioned forgiveness or any of the crimes he forgives.
If any of these conditions were violated by a family member, the Trump Organization could possibly be fined and all of the organization’s real estate would be turned over to the federal government, except for only one residence for each family.
If he accepts the pardon under the above conditions, his voice would effectively be silenced and his cronies would no longer have a rallying point to launch their absurd conspiracy theories. It would take time, but the flames would eventually die down. If he refuses clemency, the government has every right to fully prosecute him for every crime he and his family have been accused of.
It could be a win-win situation. The GOP is effectively getting rid of the toxic environment created by Trump. The Democrats eliminate their most dangerous competitor. And, the country can finally move on after Trump admitted his wrongdoing and quietly embarked on that good night.
Mark A. Wolters, Woodbury
Star Tribune’s election guide leaves me wondering if there are third-party candidates running for high office in Minnesota (“Minnesota 2022 voter’s guide: Who’s running in the elections, where they stand on the issues” StarTribune.com, September 21). The two-party system leaves much to be desired, and the fact that news organizations, not just in Minnesota but across the country, give no voice to third-party candidates is extremely frustrating. How can voters choose from the other names on the ballot if we don’t know what their position is? Too bad the Star Tribune does not find the time or the space to let the other candidates speak.
Oh, and I don’t want to hear the “wasted vote” nonsense. It is not lost if you believe in the candidate. The two-party system needs some competition, and this kind of electoral guide does not help.
Dan Anderson, Village of Birchwood
I don’t know what’s most troubling about the recent election guide.
US Rep. Pete Stauber’s comment on climate (it’s weather related, sir!) responding that crime in the Twin Cities is the big problem (not your district and not climate change related, sir).
No, it’s the fact that US Representative Tom Emmer, my congressman, didn’t have an answer to anything. And he will win hands down in the Sixth District which 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, refused to answer any 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 verbatim identical to those sent by Stauber and the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn.) She tries to impress our red-leaning district by being against everything, but seems to be for nothing. We didn’t get what we paid for from this rep.
Mark Hodapp, Belle Plaine
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RACE
Maybe Jim Schultz misread the job description when he asked to run against Keith Ellison for Minnesota Attorney General. With his sole focus on crime and how many sheriffs he can find to endorse it, 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 he’s better suited for.
The attorney general’s office, according to its website, “enforces state consumer protection and antitrust laws, regulates charities, and advocates for individuals and small businesses” on a wide range of issues. As “the people’s advocate,” Ellison defends seniors who are victims of scams, veterans who have 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 defending women’s right to 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 to serve all Minnesotans. I encourage his opponent to re-read the job description and keep his day job.
Diane Haugesag, Bloomington
I landed my dream internship this summer at Hennepin Healthcare. Stepping into each department was fascinating. I saw doctors sprinting towards their dying patients, trauma that included gushing bleeding from amputated wounds, and one patient had a cherry-red rash, dotted with pustules and white lesions. The scenes I witnessed left me amazed and deeply 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 entire city – that is, 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 work with the most horrific cases. After seeing patients screaming in agony, with bloody wounds and hearing the craziest stories, the most striking thing after the long eight-hour day was the absolute care that each doctor had for his patients, no matter what. either their history or their current mental state. The hospital was a place of inclusion and equity. As a child, I saw white people on signs and in advertisements, but at Hennepin, you saw all cultures represented. I remember doing CPR and being pleasantly surprised that there were black and white dolls to practice on. It’s those little things that have made a cumulative difference. Hennepin was truly a home to some, and I don’t say that ironically because some patients had nowhere to go.
The founder of the program was like Oprah Winfrey to me. I first met her at a youth summit. I listened to him speak on the edge of my seat. She commanded the room. Everyone was staring at her, their mouths sealed and tilted inward, and you could hear a pin drop. When she spoke, it was with grace and assurance. What made Dr. Nneka Sederstrom special was how genuine she was and how much she believed in us. I hope that the trainees of 2023 will have the same experience.
Stella Wright, Golden Valley