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This letter is intended to publicly express my gratitude for living in an area like the Twin Cities, so rich with diverse cultural opportunities and uplifting events. Last week, my wife and I were fortunate enough to attend both the joyful, wondrous Jason Mraz concert in the rain at the State Fair on Tuesday and the opening night of the spectacular musical “Hamilton” at the Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday. Either event would have represented an epic social memory for the year, and to attend two such occasions in one week is beyond hope.

As we reflect during the Labor Day holiday, we should be so thankful for the hard work and dedication to the arts by so many people that have made the Twin Cities the dynamic cultural center it is today. With the promise of the Upper Harbor being developed in north Minneapolis and the associated Center for the Performing Arts that is being planned, the Twin Cities area promises to have a vibrant future in music, dance, theater and other life-enriching cultural events well into the future.

The events I attended affirmed to me that we truly live in an oasis of rationality, hope and joy in a cynical world increasingly characterized by hate, negativity and pettiness.

Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

1 in 5 may seem like a small portion, but on this question …

To say I was intrigued by a statistic mentioned in an Aug. 29 commentary by Scott Rasmussen — “The American majority: You really don’t care (about the politics), do you?” — would be understatement. Stunned or blown away might be a better choice of words. Maybe gobsmacked.

The gist of his article, based on “15 separate surveys of 1,000 registered voters,” seems to be that most Americans are in the middle politically. Those people — moderate conservatives and cautious liberals — are fed up with the shouting from both far sides.

Fair enough. But tucked away in the article, Rasmussen says that “only 19 percent” of the moderate group in the survey believe President Donald Trump is a “good role model.”

Wrap your heads around that one, fellow citizens. Almost 1 in 5 of us thinks our current president is a good role model? I know polls can be deceiving and manipulated, and I admit I didn’t take the time to read the details of how the survey was taken, but a “good role model”? The same man who mocked a disabled reporter, bragged about grabbing women, and referred to entire countries as “s___holes”? The one who had an extramarital affair when his wife was pregnant and called someone a “loser” for being captured in the Vietnam War?

I taught, coached and counseled middle school and high school students for 37 years in Detroit, St. Louis and Minnesota. I figure I got to know more than 16,000 students, parents and staff members in that time. They were “elite,” disenfranchised, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. They came from every walk of life and every conceivable upbringing.

Let’s say 10,000 of those 16,000 people are “moderates” now — roughly the 61 percent of moderates in the survey. Nineteen percent of those 10,000 — 1,900 people — think Donald Trump is a good role model? I’d be disappointed if 19 of them thought so. I’d be crushed if 1,900 of them did.

Barry Terrass, Plymouth

CATHOLIC CHURCH

At issue: Is abuse equal to that found in other denominations?

A letter published Aug. 25 cited statistics to support the writer’s claim that the percentage of Catholic priests alleged to have sexually abused minors since 1950 “was not found to be any higher than that of other Christian denominations.” As I found this surprising, I did a little research on the 2004 John Jay College study from which the letter writer gathered his information.

An analysis of the John Jay College study, written by clinical psychologist Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea and published in the National Catholic Reporter (“The John Jay Study: What it is and what it isn’t,” July 19, 2011), confirmed my suspicions. Frawley-O’Dea stated: “Much, not all, of the John Jay source material was data self-reported by bishops, priests and church-operated treatment centers. Self-reports in research are regularly viewed with skepticism … . [W]e know from grand jury reports and lawsuits that dioceses and provincial officers have been derelict in sharing all that they know about the history of abuse in their domains … .”

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, PART ONE

Literally packing ’em in. Maybe extend the event a few days.

With the Minnesota State Fair setting several attendance records, maybe it’s time to think about adding a few more days.

It’s not as fun to be at the fair when you can’t move because of the crowds and having to contend with long lines at the concession booths.

Extra fair days might balance out the crowds.

Jim Wilson, Wayzata

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, PART TWO

I second the complaint. Didn’t want to hear announcer’s politics.

I love the Minnesota State Fair. I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve attended, but not the treasured memories and new experiences I’ve accumulated over those years. The fair is a place where I can rub shoulders with other Minnesotans of all shapes, sizes, colors and beliefs. We are one. It feels like home, at least it did until this year.

I, too, was at the horse show a week ago Friday and listened as the announcer joyfully pointed out that nobody took a knee during the singing of the national anthem (“Not the place to send message on ‘taking a knee’ to send message,” Readers Write, Aug. 30). As the audience applauded, I suddenly felt sick. I was verbally culled out from the rest of the crowd. I’m white and was sitting in a sea of white faces. I can only begin to imagine how the young woman of color and her two children sitting nearby felt. She didn’t stay long.

This was a new State Fair experience and a memory I will not treasure.

Cheri Merritt, Minneapolis

3D-PRINTED GUNS

How does letter writer know the future, or what God thinks?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

A letter writer whose ill-informed, judgmental, entirely un-Christian piece “3D-printed guns: God will judge” was printed in Readers Write on Aug. 30 really needs to step back and examine exactly what she believes “Christianity” might mean.

According to the letter, she believes that Cody Wilson, developer of the downloadable blueprint for a 3D-printed gun, will be “held accountable when [he stands] in judgment before God.”

Really? All my catechism and service tells me that one has the intercession of Jesus Christ before God.

Also, what, exactly, gives this writer the insight into “God” that allows her to list specific punishments for events that haven’t, and may never, even in the most fevered “prophecy,” ever occur?

And, as a disabled veteran with years of experience, I must most strenuously object to her inapt misappropriation of the “freedom must be paid for in blood” sentiment; nothing in the situation warrants this comparison.

Truly, I suspect this writer is of the ilk that in the past prosecuted Galileo and that gave us the delightful institutions of the Inquisition and auto-da-fé.

God save us from your “good people.”

Ryan Corman, Fargo, N.D.