Regarding the message delivered from the stage by the cast of the Broadway show “Hamilton” to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in attendance: President-elect Donald Trump wants an apology? (“Trump takes angry shot at ‘Hamilton’,” Nov. 20). Apparently he still has not grasped the concept of free speech. I fear this is an example of things to come.

Judy Gelina, Bloomington

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The biggest crack exposed by the debate over “Hamilton” has nothing to do with a difference in opinion about immigration, foreign policy, our relations with NATO, race, or any of those things. It is the difference between the belief that politics should be one part of a well-balanced life that contains a multitude of interests, hobbies and responsibilities vs. the belief that politics is so important and all-encompassing that no sphere of life and no time of day should ever be free from it, and that those with the “wrong” opinions shall have no peace, even in their own home, or when paying to enjoy a show they reasonably expect not to participate in.

This may seem like an abstract or trivial difference, but it reflects an extremely significant difference in how one views one’s place in society and how one views the role not only of politics as a topic, but of government itself.

The “Hamilton” incident is a reminder that some people simply cannot ever let go of politics, even when civility would suggest they should, and that inability to let go reflects an obsessiveness that is off-putting to those who think there is more to life than the dissemination of a particular ideology.

Randy McGregor, Blaine

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If this is the complete text of the post-show address to Mr. Pence that was printed in Sunday’s Star Tribune, we have another example of the president-elect’s ultrathin skin and vindictiveness.

The address comes across as a respectful plea for unity and harmony, not as “harassment.”

What can we expect in the case of more substantive questions or objections regarding the incoming administration? Lawsuits? Imprisonments?

Shirley Campbell, St. Paul


Brief lessons for 2020

Things we learned don’t matter in 2016: Debates don’t matter. Polls don’t matter. Pundits don’t matter. Fact-checking doesn’t matter. Facts don’t matter. Newspaper endorsements don’t matter. Federal Election Commission filings don’t matter. Tax returns don’t matter. Medical records don’t matter. Flip-flopping doesn’t matter. Approval ratings don’t matter. Honesty doesn’t matter. War chests don’t matter. Ground games don’t matter. Experience doesn’t matter. Competence doesn’t matter. Policy doesn’t matter. Foreigners don’t matter. Hair doesn’t matter. Grabbing genitals doesn’t matter.

What matters? Promises matter. Charisma matters. Panache matters. Entertainment matters. Narrative matters. E-mails matter. Patronizing matters. Elitism matters. Rural America matters. Hopelessness matters. Bubbles matter. Turnout matters. Tribalism matters. Identity matters. Race matters. Religion matters. Gender matters. Anger matters. Fear matters.

Frank Bures, Minneapolis

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In the aftermath of an ugly presidential campaign, and the confusion of a newly elected administration, some important issues and/or questions remain unresolved. I think they should be formalized before another federal election. I suggest that our lawmakers set the following minimal standards for federal office candidates into law. At the very least, the major parties need to establish requirements for their endorsed candidates. Many of these are required for any job applicant. Taxpayers deserve to have the public servants they support undergo the same — and higher — scrutiny. Also, taxpayers deserve to have public officials and their appointees whose primary goal is governing.

Requirements for candidates for federal office:

1) Release tax returns for the past 10 years, or whatever length of time is relevant.

2) Release a credit report.

3) Release information on all international financial/business interests and investments, both private and nonprofit, of the candidate and her or his immediate relatives.

4) Put all financial/business interests in a legally defined blind trust.

5) Pass the test naturalized citizens must pass or a similar civics test.

6) Release a credible, detailed health assessment, which includes drug testing.

There is no way to completely avoid ethics and conflict-of-interest concerns, but enforceable requirements for elected officials could reduce them.

Colleen Murphy, Bloomington


Lessons old and new about ‘traditional’ families

In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle gave a speech criticizing Murphy Brown, a fictional television character, for choosing to have a child out of wedlock. The writers of the eponymous show did give Murphy’s son a male role model — her house painter, who eventually left to study painting overseas.

Perhaps Quayle would have preferred that another television character, Sam Malone, marry Murphy, to give her child a traditional loving family. The writers of “Cheers” crafted Malone as an Irish Roman Catholic, an ex-alcoholic bartender pro-athlete womanizer. Episodes of “Cheers” frequently showed Sam trying to have casual sex with women. Malone was rated a favorite character in a Pew Research survey. The character was awarded an Emmy twice.

Which television character was the more responsible person? Who was a better role model?

On Nov. 21, the front page of the Star Tribune had a happy-ending story for an abused boy (“A journey to adopt a neglected child”) Our child-protection experts apparently wanted to keep him with his drug-addicted prostitute mother and/or sperm donor/father. Luckily, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman saw the absurdity of this “policy,” and the boy will be adopted by the loving women who were his foster parents.

I have a friend whose breadwinner father routinely held money in his hands for which her homemaker mom had to beg so she could buy the food she cooked for her children and her husband. I believe this kind of “traditional” family is all too common.

Children need a father. Our culture needs to stop celebrating the Sam Malones of the world.

Barbara Chapman, Edina


There’s no ‘that’s that’ about it

The writers of the letters published Nov. 21 under the headline “Religion and gender: God is a ‘he,’ and that’s that,” in response to a Nov. 13 letter objecting to identifying God with male pronouns, have missed a couple of passages in the Bible. In Genesis 1:27, women and men are created in God’s image. In Hosea 13:8, God is described as a mother bear. In Deuteronomy 32:11-12, God is described as a mother eagle. In Deuteronomy 32:18, God talks about giving birth. In Isaiah 66:13, God is a comforting mother. In Isaiah, 49:15 God is compared to a nursing mother. And in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34, God is compared to a mother hen.

Jane Buckley-Farlee, Minneapolis

The writer is senior pastor at Trinity Lutheran Congregation.

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There is no doubt that Jesus is a male — no argument there. Considering the life and times in which he lived on Earth, females were not welcomed in positions of authority. But as to God and the Holy Spirit, neither have gender. Gender is needed by humans and other living things in order to reproduce. That is not a concern for spiritual beings.

God is usually pictured as an old man with a beard because, throughout the ages, this was the figure of authority in most cultures. But whether one sees God as he, she or it (which is my preference) is the prerogative of the believer.

Kay Kemper, Crystal

• • •

Perhaps this will help everyone understand: God is a man because men wrote the Bible. Yes, human men wrote the Bible. You either accept it or you don’t.

Lily B. Coyle, Bloomington