So now President Donald Trump is trying to spin the COVID-19 virus as no big deal, no worse than the flu. Three points:

1) 210,000 dead people would beg to differ, if they could.

2) You were simply lucky it wasn’t worse and, based on the medications you received, it was worse than you let on. (I’m a hospital pharmacist.)

3) It’s not about you or any other individual who feels their rights are being violated with masks, etc. It’s about trying not to have another New York City or Italy situation, where so many patients presented to the emergency rooms at once that they couldn’t treat them all. They were out of room, out of ventilators, out of medications and supplies, and the health care workers were exhausted and getting sick themselves — some dying.

Remember the images of the freezer trucks full of dead bodies in New York City, or have you forgotten already? It can happen again. That’s what all of these guidelines are about. It’s not about you or me or any one person’s perceived “rights,” it’s about protecting everyone, Mr. President.

That’s your job. So stop with the ignorant grandstanding you’ve continued to do for the last eight months — and put your mask back on.

Jerry Jacobson, Woodbury

• • •

Trump claims to now understand COVID-19 because he has it. Have his life experiences of bankruptcies and loss of businesses helped him understand Americans and local governments struggling without more federal financial support during a pandemic? Will he need to borrow a tent and camp out on the South Lawn to begin to understand being unhoused as evictions are about to return? Or have his health care taken away so he can experience limited to no medical care? I like presidents who have empathy for others regardless of their own personal experiences.

Helen Henly, Minneapolis

• • •

This is the honesty I would like to have heard the president speak upon his release from the hospital:

“Despite the fact that I have a staff of medical personnel at my personal residence and was able to immediately be taken by a helicopter to a world-renowned hospital where I got cutting-edge treatments like a series of infusions of a still-experimental and very expensive drug, I was scared. Very, very scared!

And, I was lucky — very, very lucky! I know that I got very special medical treatment that is not available to the average citizen in this country.

And, I was wrong — very wrong — in the past to mock, disregard and minimize those with scientific expertise who tried to tell me that we all need to be very cautious about this potentially lethal disease. I apologize to all the people and the families in our country who I hurt by my actions, words and example. I was wrong, but now I get it!

Let’s all work together as a country — consistently wear your mask properly, and social distance — to finally put a halt to the progression of this deadly disease. I don’t want any of you to have to be as afraid as I was.”

Julie Stenberg, Minneapolis


Not what a wise jurist would’ve done

Amy Coney Barrett sat in the Rose Garden with her kids, basking in the adulation of the crowd, few wearing masks and no one social distancing, including her and her family, many present likely getting COVID from this unbelievably irresponsible and unwise “super spreader” event. She put her own family in harm’s way — and we are to believe she is someone qualified and wise enough to sit on our Supreme Court?

Richard Borotz, Chanhassen


Is the sky falling? It looks fine to me

I woke from my suburban slumber Tuesday only to read in the paper that, according to Senate candidate Jason Lewis, my serene and bucolic surroundings were under attack from a radical left mob (“It’s a choice between anarchy and American values,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 6). Quickly, I checked under the bed to see if antifa was on the move, then to the kitchen — maybe Rep. Ilhan Omar was cooking up trouble — and finally the garage, because I strongly suspect Black Lives Matter and pro-choice protesters were planning a graffiti assault.

Mr. Lewis, you must be mistaken. The sky isn’t falling. I found nary a hint of trouble, just the same birds and squirrels, trees and flowers peacefully pursuing happiness and liberty. Maybe I should check my old neighborhood in Minneapolis for trouble. Over at Fox News they said the entire city was burned and destroyed by that crazy American-hating mob. I wonder if that’s true. I’ll go look.

Donald P. Smith, Bloomington

• • •

Lewis’ commentary raises the question of how President Donald Trump and those who back him have fomented chaos and disorder since he took office. Trump has taken every opportunity to sow the seeds of the division, discontent and fear that can lead to violence. I myself “back the blue,” and I also want an honest reckoning with regard to fair and nonracist policing for all.

There are barriers to this. The proliferation of concealed guns within the citizenry has heightened fears within the police of anti-police violence. Lack of straightforward disciplinary procedures for police are a problem, as is a shortage of nonweaponized ways for police to safely control those resisting arrest. It would certainly help if everyone wanting effective and safe policing would quit resisting arrest. The fact is that the police are armed for a reason and resisting arrest greatly increases the odds of injury during the encounter. Keeping hands in plain view and meekly submitting is common sense, but “politically correct” viewpoints don’t allow for discussion around this and turn into accusations of racism. Everyone blames everyone else in a polarized fight that accomplishes nothing.

We need to be able to openly discuss all of it without labeling others as racist, privileged or anti-law-and-order. No side has all the answers. We need to move away from either/or thinking to a more complex and factual way of viewing this. We are all human beings who want to feel and be safe. Can we drop the political posturing and unite around that?

Mary Bolton, Stillwater

• • •

Lewis’ tawdry fearmongering required two readings: the first time around to see how closely his paranoid fantasy matched the recently reported rant by the current occupant of the White House, the second to try and match Lewis’ assertions with news accounts of the actual events. There seems to be a close correlation with the former and a loose association with the latter. Some questions readers must ask are: Does Lewis have the mental capacity and judgment to serve as a public policymaker? Do we want a fire-breathing bloviator representing a state with an increasingly complex and diverse population? How would we expect Lewis to treat other members of Congress based on his statements? Would Lewis reflect the core values we share?

Radio talk-show hosts get paid to pander, exaggerate, insult, bait, provoke and mislead in search of ratings. Senators get paid to represent us.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis

• • •

When I saw the headline “It’s a choice between anarchy and American values,” I thought, darn right we need some good old American values (intelligence, fairness, empathy) to get us out of this state of near anarchy that is Trump’s America. Then I realized it was written by Jason Lewis and that he is saying that the left is going to burn the suburbs. That is quite an incendiary argument. Look, Lewis, I am squarely in the liberal camp as are most of my friends, family and associates. I live in Minneapolis, raised three high-functioning kids here, own a thriving small business, pay my taxes and I enthusiastically support BLM. No one I know, myself included, is going to go to the suburbs to burn them down.

Scott McGlasson, Minneapolis

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