Norm Coleman’s problem with Ralph Warnock (Letter to the editor, Dec. 22, 2020)
I was a reporter and covered Norm Coleman when he was mayor of St.
Paul, Minn., in the 1990s. He took office as a Democrat; he left as a Republican. Coleman seems to suggest that what politicians say before they run for office conveys some kind of deeper truth about them. Hence this quote from his letter: “I urge [former Israel Consul General Alon] Liel to listen to Warnock’s own words, from before he decided to run for public office. Warnock’s statements put him at the far left of the Democratic Party…” By that standard, Coleman’s past puts him in the same place. Coleman was well known in Minnesota as the Hofstra [University] grad who was a campus radical in the 1960s. There is a famous photo of him on campus with a bullhorn.
Here’s how his own Wikipedia page refers to him: “At college Coleman was an active member of the 1960s counterculture and a liberal Democrat. ‘Carting a bullhorn around campus, he’d regularly lecture students about the immorality of the Nixon administration and the Vietnam War.’ He was elected president of the student senate during his junior year. Under Coleman, the senate refused to ratify the newspaper’s editor and her co-editor and cut some funding to the newspaper. But after refusing to swear in the editor on four different occasions, the senate finally backed down. He celebrated his 20th birthday at the Woodstock Festival, and later admitted to smoking marijuana in his youth. He worked as a roadie for Jethro Tull and Ten Years After, among others.”
There are things we might all like to change about our pasts, but we don’t
get to. It doesn’t mean we are condemned to be that guy forever. People
can evolve, whether they believe in evolution or not.
John Yewell, Durham, N.C.