Is this really 2017? After reading about how Iceland is handling Down syndrome (“An awful way to eliminate Down syndrome,” Aug. 21), it is beyond belief! Five years ago, I received a phone call from my daughter informing me she found her son-to-be had Down syndrome. I got off the phone and probably cried for a good half-hour. Five years later, I thank God every day my daughter and son-in-law made the moral choice and decided to have Ryan. Now when I cry, it’s tears of joy, as every time I see him he makes me realize he is only slightly different from my other grandchildren.

Will he ever be president of a company or play professional sports? More than likely not. I do believe someday this young man will lead a productive and giving life and prove Icelanders how wrong they are. He never lets me down, he will always give me a hug, and his enormous smile makes me feel loved!

Unfortunately, he does have one generic flaw. For some “strange” reason, he loves everyone he meets. It doesn’t matter the race, ethnicity, age or size. It doesn’t matter if they are Democrats, Republicans or independents. For some unknown reason, that’s who he is. So maybe all of us who are “normal” can learn something from an “inferior” human being. But then life would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

Philip Disch, Eden Prairie

CIVIL WAR AND SLAVERY

Various takes on the right way to handle our history

They constitute the cleverest, most effective propaganda campaign ever loosed on America. They are the elevated heroic monuments glorifying the losing side of the Civil War. These visible, persistent monuments starkly mark the successful revision of history by white-supremacy groups. The effect is a sadly twisted culture cultivated within generations of Southerners.

Robert E. Lee understood that he was a traitor to his country, as were all who took up arms against their country. That single act, unequivocally, brands each a traitor. Pardoning a traitor does not make him a hero. Monuments are built to honor heroes and winners. They are not built in praise of traitors or losers. Those are the plain facts of history.

These propaganda edifices began to appear along with Jim Crow in the early 1900s as the Ku Klux Klan rose to prominence in the South. Their push to glorify the Confederacy, while lacking any moral authority to do so, created pure revisionist history. The persistence of the Klan and similar white-supremacist hate groups in this clever technique of overwriting history by installation of heroic visual icons on elevated pedestals continued well into the desegregation fight of the 1960s.

It is important for all to see history in its plainness; to see, to understand, to accept, and to regret what could have been.

Billie Reaney, Minneapolis

• • •

Enslavement is a terrible thing. The lives of millions of African slaves were used and broken for this country’s national enrichment, and we have yet to take seriously an official national apology. Germany officially apologized to the Jewish people over their genocide. Japan apologized for enslaving Koreans in World War II. It’s our turn.

To President Donald Trump and everyone else in government: Issue an official, unambiguous and unanimous congressional and presidential apology immediately. Add to that official governmental repentance of white privilege. Nothing short of that can allow our nation to move on and heal from our race-based past and persistently racist present. Make it official government policy to disavow itself from alt-right knuckle-draggers.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis

• • •

I have some advice to protesters on both sides of the issue. Shut up and go home. First, to the Nazi sympathizers: Nazism was based on the presumption that one group of people was superior and thus preferred, to the obliteration of certain others and resulting in a war and carnage like none other in history. That basic presumption was and is evil. Period. What part of Scripture, both Hebrew and Christian, don’t you understand?

To all of you: You could learn something from the people behind some of those statues. The General Lees of the South surrendered and went home. They could have continued a guerrilla war that would have lasted into the 20th century, but had the grace and sense not to. Maybe even the magnitude of what they had wrought settled in on them and they had to live out their lives carrying that burden. In that case, it is up to us to offer forgiveness. Which of us is perfect?

Why are you still trying to fight this war 152 years after Appomattox? Maybe we should leave those statues up as icons to represent those who made more sense than any of you display.

Art Thell, Inver Grove Heights

URBAN REDEVELOPMENT

Ford, St. Anthony sites face a similar problem of excess density

“Plan for Ford site has serious flaws,” an Aug. 18 editorial counterpoint, demonstrates a striking similarity, albeit on a smaller scale, to what is happening in St. Anthony Village. Here there are 15 acres of what was the only trailer park left in Minneapolis. That land has been sold to a builder who would put 833 units into those 17 acres. That is if the city fathers pass an amendment to allow for a change in land-use guidance from commercial to high-density residential. Like the Ford plant advocacy group, no one I know is asking the city to abandon their plan for the redevelopment of what has been called Lowry Grove. What I and many of our neighbors are asking is three things: greatly reduced density, lowered caps on building heights and more green recreation space. It stands to reason that with the density proposed, traffic woes would increase greatly, along with more noise and congestion. Minus those objections, we could boast a truly beautiful addition to our village, something we could all be proud of.

City fathers and mothers, if there are any of the latter, please take your eyes off the finances for a minute and envision instead what this parklike site would look like. This would mean voting against the high-density amendment, which would probably take courage on what looks like a done deal. I wonder who among you has that kind of courage. We will see very soon.

Jo Youngren, St. Anthony

• • •

I applaud the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement of St. Paul’s redevelopment plan (“A solid vision for St. Paul Ford site,” Aug. 7). The plan has drawn support from a host of respected and thoughtful community groups, including the Ford Site Task Force, the Highland District Council, the Sierra Club, the Metropolitan Council, East Metro Strong, the Housing Justice Center and at least 10 others.

Cleaning up this polluted industrial site and providing housing for thousands of taxpaying residents is in the best interest of St. Paul. Along with nearly all residents I’ve spoken with, I’m looking forward to enjoying the unearthed Hidden Creek and the new parks, retail and restaurants this development will bring.

It’s true that not all residents support the zoning plan, and their feedback will be valuable as the city develops design standards for the not-yet-proposed buildings. The free market and time will also moderate the intensity and mix of uses over the approximately 20 years it will take to build out the site.

Neighbors for a Livable St. Paul incites opposition to this very good plan by making misleading statements. For example, in their Aug. 17 counterpoint, the spokespersons for this group stated, “According to the city, the new population won’t want cars — they’ll walk and bike and take the bus.” In fact, the professional traffic study used in the city’s plan estimated that 70 percent of all trips to and from the development would use private automobiles. I urge residents to look at the facts rather than falling for angry rhetoric.

Kevin Gallatin, St. Paul