OMG (Oh My Gratefulness) What an October issue! I've watched the Minnesota Women's Press grow since its birth over 30 years ago. MWP has supported and fed the growth of women individually and collectively through their struggles for emancipation and full egalitarian participation in this world. Thank you, MWP.
Carol Cochran, Minneapolis
Common sense In your November issue under the label "Nonsense," a letter writer states that "voting is a democratic principle, and so is freedom of speech."
I often think of the women who risked their lives so I could have this voting right, not available in all too many parts of the world.
I thought I'd weigh in with a little of my own free speech: If you have neglected to vote, by choice, then the next time you want to criticize the way things are, simply take a good look in the mirror and you will see the problem staring back at you.
Robin Skeie, St. Paul
Bridges and walls On election day I was out of my office delivering food to election workers, assisting with Kids Vote and making final campaign calls. Early that morning I turned to the November Women's Press and your writing about Bridges and Walls. It made me weep in sadness for our country that feels broken, and for the loss of a parent. ["Bridging Differences" editors' column, MWP, Nov. 2016]
My father passed recently as well. He fully participated in Veterans Day and nothing would keep him from voting, even in frail health. So his absence is tangible for me during this time. My upbringing included joining my parents in the voting booth, I remember the curtain dividers, the flags, the quiet, the pride, the decency. On tiptoes to see the ballot, I ached for the day this tradition could be mine.
This election is so monumental. I wonder if my daughters feel the victorious cusp of herstory or, I fear, the moment is overshadowed by hatred, vulgarity and divisiveness. A child psychologist told me that every one of her patients from age 8 up has been negatively affected by this election. And that sits inside me like a stone. Thank you for reminding me and us of "bridges" in your eloquent way.
Jill Griffiths, Minneapolis
Cleansing After the election I found myself cleaning my home like a maniac. I cut my hair. I showered and did the unusual extras - pumiced my feet, used that special facial cleanser.
I felt like I did on the morning after I was raped at age 14. And the time I was in the hospital watching the nurses clean out the eleven ice pick wounds that I received in an abduction attempt 35 years ago.
Something was so wrong after this election. A surreal sensation that I could not get my head around. I felt that if I could just make everything sparkly and undeniably clean, things might change.
I'm turning to my friends who are as upset as I am. I'm wearing a safety pin. I want others who don't feel safe to know that I am a safe person to turn to. And I'm continuing to clean. That's really the most I can do right now.
Maureen Heinen, Shoreview
Books don't betray people I was stunned by your decision to print Angela McDowell's "Bookshelf" column as written. [MWP, Nov. 2016] For her to make light of (and for you to thus condone) Hitler's murderous and hateful propaganda as simply a phase of her childhood reading material is an example of the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is - the kind that trivializes the annihilation of 6,000,000 Jews (and of 4,000,000 others: queers, communists, Catholics, mentally ill and disabled people).
For McDowell to imply that hate speech is an appropriate comparison to meaningful, well-written children's literature - just because that literature was racist in its lack of inclusivity - is insulting, and would be absurd if Jews weren't still being shot to death in American parking lots and blown up all over the world in synagogues and grocery stores.
Sadly, the author also doesn't seem to realize that hate propaganda will never heal racism.
Trina Porte, Minneapolis
Editor's note: This letter refers to the November Bookshelf column by a woman who read "Mein Kampf" in fourth grade. She described it as "a short, thick book with a red stripe of letters and a glaring toy soldier man doll on the front," in a time when she was interested in reading about real people.
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