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LETTERS

The halls of Congress, hallowed and otherwise

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) stands during a joint session of Congress that certified the Electoral College count at the Capitol in Washington early Thursday, hours after loyalists urged on by President Trump stormed and occupied the building, disrupting the final electoral count in a shocking display of violence that shook the core of American democracy.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) stands during a joint session of Congress that certified the Electoral College count at the Capitol in Washington early Thursday, hours after loyalists urged on by President Trump stormed and occupied the building, disrupting the final electoral count in a shocking display of violence that shook the core of American democracy.Anna Moneymaker/NYT

GOP has been laying groundwork for Trump’s outrages for years

As despicable as it was, Donald Trump’s behavior Wednesday was only a vulgar culmination of groundwork that has been laid by GOP lawmakers and strategists for years. During the health care debate in March 2010, Tea Party supporters chanting “Kill the bill” were gleefully cheered on by Republican lawmakers in the halls of Capitol Hill. Sarah Palin used graphics of crosshairs gun sights to identify Democratic districts for the Tea Party campaign.

As President-elect Biden clearly stated: Language matters. The ongoing failure of Republican “leadership” to promptly and unequivocally address incendiary words and outright lies has threatened the rule of law.

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Furthermore, this sorry state is attributable in part to the manner in which the primary election campaigns are handled, where candidates try to increase voter participation by generating outrage.

Sadly, all nations have their share of prejudiced thugs, but lawmakers who bow to their pressure are pathetic.

Sonia Didriksson

Norwood


The mob and those who incited it must be held to account

The people who rioted and broke into the US Capitol must be held accountable. They must be arrested, charged, and tried. They must be found and brought to justice. The images are burned in our memory: poles holding American and Confederate flags being used to break windows; a man sitting on the dais in the Senate; and a man with his boot on a desk in the House speaker’s office.

We are a country of free speech and protest, but this clearly crossed the line into illegal action. What happened Wednesday is similar to events of last summer, when some protesters broke into businesses and looted. However, at that time, when those in the streets were largely people of color, many arrests were made, crowds were gassed, and people were beaten. That the mob at our nation’s capital was pushed or even ushered out of the Capitol building and law enforcement officials took selfies with some of them fuels valid demands for police reform. Enough.

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The leaders of the country that incited this violence also must be held accountable. It is not enough to let Donald Trump sulk off after Jan. 20. He will continue to lie to his followers in order to get the adulation that feeds his narcissistic being. Most important, he has broken laws by inciting violence. At the very least, he must be prevented from running for president again.

I think we finally saw some Republicans sobered by Wednesday’s mob action. Lessons must be taught — and learned.

Marianne Boswell

Lexington


Ask those GOP lawmakers: Is there such a thing as a Pyrrhic defeat?

There is no need to recount the horrific events at the Capitol and the physical and moral damage inflicted on the country. The entire world saw the attacks on the inside and outside of the building, which were reminiscent of the international conflict of 1812.

Fortunately, the House and Senate reconvened and fulfilled their obligation to complete the perfunctory electoral approval process confirming the election of President-elect Joe Biden. Although the opportunity to participate in debate existed, one could only hope that the need for patriotic unanimity would have resulted in a swift approval from both chambers.

Nevertheless, numerous Republicans, speaking in the chambers that had been violated hours before, insisted on vilifying the electoral processes approved by members of their own party in states that had adapted their voting process to accommodate COVID-19-threatened voters. These members of Congress railed against the process, relying on the words of the Founders and constitutional minutiae.

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A Pyrrhic victory is one that inflicts a major loss at the expense of pursuing a minor goal. The Republican officials whose stubborn stupidity compelled them to pour kerosene on the smoldering ashes of the Capitol by railing against the finality of the election Wednesday night should learn a lesson we were taught a long time ago: Pick your spots. Each should be provided a copy of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and be locked in their damaged offices until they have read and absorbed it, cover to cover.

Steven E. Kramer

Mashpee


White privilege on full display

I can imagine a teacher using Wednesday’s events to reinforce a lesson: “OK, class, is anyone still confused about the phenomenon called ‘white privilege’? Did anyone see the cracking of heads, tear gassing, or rubber bullets flying during the many hours of an attempted coup at the Capitol — you know, the seat of government in your country? Yes, you saw cops lined up with riot gear but then marching off to who knows where. The few cops engaging the rioters appeared to be giving directions to public transportation or good eateries in the area.”

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain


What was that impeachment lesson again, Senator Collins?

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, was certainly right about one thing: Donald Trump learned a valuable lesson from his impeachment acquittal — namely, that he could count on most Republicans to excuse whatever crime he wanted to commit. It took a coup attempt to get many — but not all — to finally say no.

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Charles Meins Jr.

Chelmsford