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I am fairly certain that Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and other leaders attending the recent G-7 summit in Canada do not read the opinion pages of the Star Tribune. That’s a pity, as I wish to apologize to you all on behalf of the citizens of the United States.

The purpose of this apology is not to debate the merits of the “America First” agenda of the Trump administration, tariffs and trade sanctions, immigration policies, or any substantive topics. I am neither authorized nor qualified to do so. Rather, I would like to apologize for the manner in which you (and by your presence, your countries) were treated by our president.

Yes, Donald Trump does speak for the United States, but not necessarily for Americans. Within our borders, politics has become a vile and uncivilized exchange. Not of ideas, but of vitriol, hatred and elitism. Simple common courtesy is nearly a thing of the past. And you were subjected to this swing in American values and cultural change.

You have been our staunchest allies for decades (and I sincerely hope will be again in about 2½ years). We have had each others’ backs in times of economic crisis, war and natural disasters. With the world smaller than ever before, we will need each other more than ever going forward. Please understand that the American people stand with you and that we are happy to discuss our differences and find common ground in a civilized and respectful manner. Just as soon as we elect a leader capable of that.

Richard Rivett, Chaska

URBAN DENSITY

If opponent has her way, housing access will suffer

I read Lisa Albrecht’s June 9 commentary (“An open letter to elected officials, planners and developers”) with a mix of disbelief and dismay. She represents the exact type of NIMBY-ism that has caused the current housing shortage. How someone can lament the lack of affordable housing while simultaneously opposing higher housing density is beyond me. The luxury market-rate housing of today becomes the affordable market-rate housing of 2040.

As employment opportunities continue to concentrate in urban areas, we city residents can choose to share the opportunities with newcomers (which Albrecht once was) or shut them out by opposing new housing developments. The Minneapolis of the 1990s, emptied out by mass exodus to the suburbs, no longer exists. We must be forward-looking to solve the current and future housing needs of our growing population.

As people continue to move to Minneapolis for economic opportunity, population density will continue to rise. Hopefully, a multifaceted approach can move housing density toward meeting the demands of this new normal.

Jim Aspholm, Minneapolis

‘BELITTLING’ OBITUARY

Someone had something to say and said it. Refreshing.

Every once in a while a Star Tribune article takes on a morose levity. “Belittling obit about mom: ‘We wanted the last word’ ” (June 8) roused my morbid sense of humor mostly because it reminded me of my favorite Bette Davis quote. Upon learning of rival Joan Crawford’s death, Bette said: “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.” I never tire of borrowing that quote when I’m unhappy with someone.

Steve Millikan, Minneapolis

• • •

I’ve always thought that negligent parents, crooked lawyers and dishonest business people must be immortal, since they never show up in obituaries. So maybe the critical obituary published in the Redwood Falls Gazette was not all bad and we can drop the Latin phrase “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum” (“Of the dead, [say] nothing but good”) and use “Quondam veritatem dicere” (“At times, tell the truth”).

James M. Dunn, Edina

• • •

Did this obituary, by two abandoned children (now adults) about their biological mom’s passing, seem too vindictive? Maybe, but the pain from these siblings, who were ignored by the deceased, is all too real — and not the only incident of child abandonment. How many of us would like to tell the world the real truth of how someone close to us is not worthy of all the glowing niceties included in a standard obituary?

The news editor for the Springfield Advance-Press said that “it seemed quite vindictive” and that a lot of relatives and friends would be hurt. She went on to say, “we need to be a more civil people.” Oh, you mean like the deceased, who figured to abandon her children and start a new life without them, a civil act? Alas, those two kids are being dismissed and abandoned again, now as adults, by so-called relatives and friends. I am far from being a person in a position to judge others and their actions, but I do know hypocrisy when it happens. I don’t condone, nor do I criticize, the scathing obit, but I understand where it came from.

Ty Yasukawa, Burnsville

SWIMSUIT COMPETITION DROPPED

But if he likes looking, does that make him a sexist?

Yes.

Kirsten Cackoski, Minneapolis

• • •

To the male letter writer (“Oh, man,” June 10) who wonders whether he is “an ancient, sexist pig” because he will miss “seeing beautiful, young women in bathing suits” in the Miss America pageant: Go to the beach. We’ll be there: young, old, brassy, poised, wrinkled, unenhanced, tanned, flabby, toned, perfectly proportioned or not — in a word: beautiful!

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

• • •

The June 10 letter writer sounds like the fine gentlemen with whom my female colleagues and I worked for 40 years. I have precious memories of our workplace, of the harmless jokes shared, the work assignments shared, the personal stories and family stories shared, and the friendly connections we still have after retirement. I think the women of America could trust such gentlemen to admire the Miss America pageant and not bring personal danger to the rest of us. Guys should be free to just be guys.

Darlene Martinson Ross, Benson, Minn.

• • •

In response to the June 10 letter writer, of course you are not inherently sexist for liking to look at women in swimming suits. But it’s not 62-year-old men whose viewership the Miss America organization needs to gain in order for the contest to remain relevant in the 21st century; it’s 29-year-old women like myself. And unfortunately for the Miss America organization, I find the whole pageant offensive, not just the swimming suit portion.

Heidi Christenson, Stillwater