Readers respond: When nothing is clear-cut, from housing to hygge

Letters to the editor published in the Oct. 31, 2022, weekly magazine. Readers point out nuance in housing, the meaning of “hygge,” and more.

Support for soldiers 

I was just rereading your May 30 cover story, “Molding a moral soldier.” I am reminded how the Monitor stands out from so many publications because of the timelessness of its articles. They can be just as relevant when read months or years later.

War is a nasty thing and can weigh heavily on soldiers’ consciences years after the horrors they have experienced. It is important to recognize this and not just train soldiers on how to conduct their fights, but give them activities that remind them of the people on whose behalf they are fighting.  

With this in mind I continue to support groups such as Spirit of America. They remind us that often it is the nonlethal supplies that keep soldiers working for the desired outcomes in their battles.

John Stettler
Dallas, Texas

Another side to new housing

The Sept. 27 article in the Monitor Daily “Minneapolis seeks housing equality. Is building more homes enough?” leaves out an important aspect of the problem of building affordable housing, particularly multifamily housing in predominantly
single-family neighborhoods, namely property values. 

It is an unfortunate reality that building multifamily housing frequently lowers the sales price of nearby single-family homes. This could mean a recent homebuyer finding himself underwater, i.e., with a mortgage balance greater than the potential sales price, or a retiree with a significantly smaller nest egg than anticipated. 

We can agree that this shouldn’t happen, yet no law can prevent it. Large-scale efforts to relieve housing shortages cannot work in the long term without explicitly addressing the impact of falling property values on current homeowners.

Eric Klieber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Election integrity

With the Oct. 3 cover story, “In Arizona, a major test of GOP unity,” the Monitor may have hit upon a key phrase in searching for an area of patriotic reconciliation between Trump supporters and the rest of the American electorate. A Republican activist is quoted as saying, “There is tremendous concern over election integrity.”

If spoken by someone who thinks former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, I would have to wonder about the definition of “election integrity.” But if the person was expressing a genuine appreciation for recognizing honest elections, then perhaps there is a bit more hope for the health of our democratic republic.

George Cartter
Vacaville, California

The fullness of ‘hygge’

When people say “hygge,” as used in the Sept. 26 article “Human experience is shared, even if words aren’t,” they figure all they need is a warm pair of socks, a couple of candles, and a cat in order to experience it. 

The full meaning is much debated – even among Danes. If we let it have whatever meaning we want there is no point in having the word at all. Saying that “hygge” means a sense of coziness is a gross oversimplification of the concept. 

It is not the objects that create the atmosphere, although the objects may be one kind of tool to help. It has been described as a “frame of mind” where all the elements of the moment combine to create a feeling of peace and “appropriateness” or separation from the pressing issues of the day, or even realizing a sense of self-assurance that you are capable of facing those issues in an effective way. 

Jack Porter
Robbinsdale, Minnesota

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