Readers write: Matt Birk, climate change, January 6 hearings, kindness

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Dear Matt Birk: For her children, the most important thing their mother ever did was carry them (“Birk Stands By His Abortion Comments,” July 21). But for the rest of the world, it could well be something else. It matters more that Marie Curie is a scientist, that Ruth Bader GinsbUrg is a Supreme Court Justice, and yes, that Peggy Flanagan is Minnesota’s first Native Lieutenant Governor, that they are mothers.

Women are not just conduits for men to come into the world to do important things. Women are vehicles of greatness in themselves.

Julie Quinn, The Center, Minn.

CLIMATE

The “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” (CBAM) wars are starting, and most of us don’t know it.

Canada and the European Union are exploring and implementing CBAM, and the United States must prepare. We are unusual among our allies in that we have not imposed a carbon levy. The absence of a carbon levy gives American manufacturers an advantage, since they do not have to pay this levy. CBAM is a tariff that will impose a tax on any manufacturer in a country (like the United States) without a carbon price, to level the playing field. These tariffs will be levied in countries that have a CBAM policy, and these are revenues that we in the United States will simply cede to other countries, even if our competitive advantage is eliminated.

The only way to fight this is with a price and CBAM of our own, and the good news is that since American manufacturing tends to be less carbon intensive than its competitors, we are well positioned to win these wars. CBAM, but only if we are willing to commit. There are many climate-friendly policies, like the CBAM, that could be passed in the next fiscal reconciliation bill, and now is the time to do so immediately.

Once the August recess begins, it becomes extremely difficult to pass laws, and the fear is that budget reconciliation will die without even getting a vote. As I write this, it is mid-July, which means we only have about two weeks left.

My own congressman, Dean Phillips, is one of 175 congressmen who signed a letter to President Joe Biden stressing the importance of embracing a climate-focused fiscal reconciliation.

Democracy requires educated citizens. So please educate yourself on the CBAM and budget reconciliation, and please reach out to your members of Congress to urge passage of a budget reconciliation bill with strong climate provisions.

Scot Adams, Eden Prairie

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The Star Tribune editorial declaring that “climate change can no longer be ignored or subjected to other issues” is particularly significant in the context of what is truly a global climate crisis (“Voters must put heat on Congress”, July 20). The United States certainly has an important obligation to commit our country and our resources, probably at justifiable cost, to do our part.

And the United States contributes carbon emissions per capita, ranking 13th in the world, just above Canada and Australia with China and Russia further down the list.

But even though we have reduced our emissions in recent years, we still contribute about 14% of the global total, something we clearly need to address.

And if we put pressure on Congress and other levels of government, as you suggest, what can we expect from other global carbon emitters such as China (twice the total emissions of the United States), the India (about half of total US emissions), along with Russia, Japan, Iran and the rest of the world?

If we can achieve the goal of doing our part with the necessary political leadership from our electorate, what pressures exist on other countries for the same level of verifiable commitment?

This is a serious foreign policy issue for us that goes well beyond what we need to do at home.

Jeffrey Peterson, Minneapolis

JAN. 6 HEARINGS

If Republicans take control of the House in November’s midterm elections, they should shut down the Jan. 6 committee (“Trump ‘betrayed his oath,'” July 22). Some GOP leaders and members of Congress were involved in the plan to overturn the election early on, others jumped on board to cover it up and try to save face. They are now neck deep in lies and denial.

When and how can this end? The base continues to be loyal to their party, because the party demands loyalty above all else, even when the evidence clearly shows that the ethics and laws that protect our democracy have been knowingly broken and the dereliction of duty was endemic. Some choose not to even look at the evidence, lest it influence their sense of duty to celebrate. But the apparent plan to deny the outcome of the last US presidential election involved very serious crimes and breaches of duty and trust. Do you really agree to be part of it?

I implore those who vote Republican to do the right thing, be the voice of reason and take back control of the party. Demand that the group backtrack, right the ship, and formally acknowledge what really happened. It’s time to start cleaning up and move on. Do not re-elect those who are involved in or who continue to support the plot. Your power is in your vote.

Sheila Loger, St. Paul

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As the GOP censors its truth-telling members like Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, it should remember its own birth after the 1850s collapse of the Whig Party. Like the GOP, the Whig party had northern and southern factions, and a polarizing figure (Andrew Jackson) fueling arguments among its members. As the GOP seeks to rid itself of anyone falling out of line around the polarizing figure of Donald Trump, it would be good to remember that political parties can crumble as a result of such behavior and that, as wrote George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Thomas Fisher, St. Paul

KINDNESS

I don’t have many clear memories of my single-digit years. A little ago. I remember laughing out loud at the funny stories my dad would tell around the dinner table, like the time the steering wheel came off the post of the dilapidated clunker he and a friend had taken for a ride. I remember all the kids in the neighborhood running to our house whenever they had a cut or a nose bleed, and my mother took care of them. I remember the time I deliberately tried to shock my younger brother by tricking him into sticking his thumb into the electrical outlet above the laundry tub. But these memories are close to my heart because there are so few that are so clear.

Still, I remember Kathy Plath and our first day of kindergarten. I remember seeing her cry at the end of our morning session when it was time to go home. I approached her and asked her what was wrong. Through her sniffles and tears, she told me she couldn’t remember her way home. She had walked to school, just like me, but she had forgotten her address and how to get there. “Come home with me,” I said. “My mother will take you home.”

So we left and, hand in hand, we walked to my house.

When we arrived I explained what had happened and of course my mother did not disappoint. She knew exactly what to do. She called the school, got Kathy’s address and phone number, phoned her mom and said we’d take her home when my dad got the car back.

Never was a daughter happier to see her mother than Kathy was later that day. When we left her house, her mother leaned over to me and said, “Thank you for walking my daughter home. She smiled, touched my face, and I felt like an action hero.

It was wonderful.

Maybe on this day a little more kindness is what we need most. Perhaps the joy of life is found when you and I reach out, show care and concern, and hand in hand walk home.

Jim Nelson, Minneapolis

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