If President Donald Trump is culpable in the deaths of 210,000 people from COVID-19, can we also assume that he is responsible for the millions of people who have survived, many of whom had no symptoms at all?

Jenny Berg, St. Cloud, Minn.

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How dare Trump address the American people about COVID: “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines.” (“Trump squanders lesson on COVID,” editorial, Oct. 7.) He’s oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of Americans do not have access to those things. They don’t have a helicopter waiting to rush them to a hospital with countless medical personnel dedicated to their care, and they don’t have access to “compassionate use” of experimental drug treatments.

How many of the 210,000+ Americans who have died would be alive now if they had received the same treatment as the president? And how many people will die or be disabled by COVID or be bankrupted by their medical bills because they believe the president’s reckless lies? If he indeed only learns from personal experience, then I do wish him a prolonged and difficult struggle with this virus, so that he can truly learn what it is, and like Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom, come out of it with compassion for others and respect for medical and public health guidance.

Carol Witte, Minneapolis

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In August, my 28-year-old son acquired the coronavirus. He unknowingly infected my wife and I, who are in our late 50s. I infected my mother, who is 86.

My son and I were asymptomatic. My wife had symptoms mirroring a minor cold for three days. My mother felt fatigued and had a cough for two days, but was unconcerned about the virus doing further harm because she knows the statistics favored a quick recovery.

Stories like ours likely represent more than 99% of virus cases.

My family sympathizes with people who have lost loved ones to the virus, but we refuse to feel guilty, as the Star Tribune seems to suggest we do, because we choose to heed Trump’s advice to not let the virus dominate our lives.

Richard Timm, Apple Valley


Its elimination might transform the country ... for the better

The commentary by Joseph Olson and John R. Lott Jr. (“Beware of Democrats ending the filibuster,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 7) is rife with contradictions and oversights. The headline suggests that it is about the filibuster, but, in reality, it is a list of approaches Democrats might take to a host of problems in this country. I will address two of them.

The authors worry that “simple, party-line majorities will be able to pass bills.” It strikes me that this is a far more effective methodology for improvement than the current situation, in which a single individual (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), a minority of one, has in effect vetoed many, many bills.

They also claim that elimination of the filibuster “would radically transform the Senate and our country.” I submit that a Democratic landslide, putting that party in a majority of both houses and in the White House, might well be interpreted as a very strong statement by us, the people whom those officeholders represent, that we demand radical change away from the most corrupt regime in our memory, aided and abetted by sycophantic legislators unable to cast their political futures from their moral behavior, to a more compassionate, understanding and farsighted vision of our collective future.

John D. Tobin Jr., St. Paul

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Thank you to Olson and Lott for their excellent opinion piece.

To the litany of undesirable outcomes cited in their article I would add several economic proposals destined to exacerbate our fiscal situation:

• Medicare for All. There are several proposals on the table, the cost of which and the funding source glossed over. One study cites $32 trillion over 10 years in additional government expenditures. How the proposed savings in the nongovernment sector are to be recovered is not addressed.

• Free public postsecondary tuition. The annual cost of one of the proposals: $50 billion.

• Universal pre-K cost estimates vary widely and several studies suggest long term benefits. How the economic benefits would be harvested remain unanswered.

• Free child care is another proposal for which reliable cost estimates are unavailable.

• Forgiveness of student loans is often linked with free tuition. Currently, student loans outstanding total about $1.6 trillion.

With all the attention given to candidates, we lose sight of what the party proposes. I believe in limited government, strong defense and fiscal responsibility with liberty and justice for all. I do not believe the current Democratic Party conforms to that belief and the candidate’s rhetoric does not refute the outcomes predicted.

While the filibuster may be a last hope, those of us who cherish our republic must go the polls and vote for the party that represents our best chance of preserving us from the creeping socialism of the Democrats even if the candidate is not the one we hoped for.

Nicholas LaFontaine, Richfield

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Once again we have another “the sky is falling” opinion from a conservative point of view. It includes the dreaded scenarios that U.S. citizens in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico should have representation similar to the U.S. citizens in Wyoming and other states, and making it easier to vote. I fail to understand why having a more representative democracy is a bad thing.

Chuck Bye, St. Paul


Pledge nonviolence ahead of Nov. 3

America is at a crossroads. We have lost trust and faith in our institutions, our government and our upcoming election. And tragically, we suffer from a lack of trust and faith in each other. We have allowed our polarization, our unwillingness to listen and understand the other side, to degenerate into a dangerous point in our democracy. We now find that 56% of Americans expect an increase in violence after the election.

No matter who you support or vote for on Nov. 3, there must be a complete disavowal of violence. We must rise to a higher level of brave bipartisanship — a pledge among all our citizens that we can trust each other, find common ground based on our love of country and demand a peaceful transition of power.

Braver Angels, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, is built on the premise that as citizens, we are called upon to work together for the betterment of the country. We exist to find common ground, to see the humanity in those who differ from us and to heal our divisions. Reds and blues. Conservatives and liberals. Republicans and Democrats.

Be one of the millions who sign the Braver Angels “Hold America Together” letter showing your commitment to nonviolence and a peaceful transition of power after our Nov. 3 election. Send the letter to your friends, family and colleagues and gather together on Zoom or around your neighborhood bonfire to talk about how we will “hold America together.”

Our country needs the Braver Angels of this nation to stand up for what is right at this frightening pivot point in America’s history. Sign the “Hold America Together” letter at braverangels.org.

Kim Martinson, Burnsville

The writer is a Minnesota Braver Angels co-coordinator.

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