Letters to the Editor
Like most Americans, I was distressed last week when rioters at the instigation of Donald Trump invaded and trashed the Capitol. It was even more upsetting for my wife, Mary, who worked twelve years on Capitol Hill. I covered Congress for Ridder Publications before going to The Washington Post and have been in the Capitol many times. What happened there was an affront to every American.
But something useful happened as a result of this terrible event, which was triggered by Trump’s speech to a D.C. rally Wednesday. You’ll recall that Trump urged his supporters to go to the Capitol and said he would be there with them. (Instead, he cowardly returned to the White House to watch on television what he had wrought.) The invasion of the Capitol did for many prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Lindsay Graham, what no previous Trump provocations had been able to accomplish, turning them against the president. Trump still has millions of followers, but his incitement of the mob removed whatever luster remained on his presidency. He’s never again going to be the Republican nominee and probably will cease to be a Republican kingmaker.
By barring him from social media, Twitter, and Facebook delivered the final blows. Trump is a master of the Twitter form. No Twitter, no Trump.
Trump also deserves responsibility (or credit, depending on one’s view) for the outcome of the Senate runoffs in Georgia. The GOP nominees cast themselves as watchdogs of a Biden presidency that Trump was trying to prevent from coming into being. It was a mixed message.
As President-elect Biden has observed, Trump’s baseless lying about the election also served the useful purpose of demonstrating the independence of the judiciary. Trump and his minions filed more than 60 lawsuits attempting to set aside the election results in half a dozen states. All were dismissed for lack of evidence. One of the most powerful rebukes was delivered by a federal judge whom Trump had appointed.
I have no idea what happens going forward. I’m a political independent who voted for Biden and Kamala Harris, and it seems to me as if they’ve struck a positive tone during one of the most difficult political interregnums in history.
All of us – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – have a stake in reducing the fiercely partisan rhetoric that is tearing our country apart. It’s not going to be easy to do after the last four years, but I hope that some of the Republican leaders in Washington and elsewhere join Biden in doing it. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, not for the first time, is showing the way.
There are genuine and important policy differences in our country. They deserve to be contested on their merits, not on demonizing those who do not agree with us.
Take This Seriously
Although I acknowledge the justifiable angst of Montecito’s restaurateurs regarding statewide restrictions on outdoor dining and the deleterious impact on revenues and employees, I am also concerned about some sentiments expressed in reference to the coronavirus in a recent publication. While I am not doubtful that every precaution is being taken to protect the lives of patrons while dining and that there has been no concrete evidence to correlate outdoor consumption of food with actual contraction of the virus, I nonetheless wonder where one writer who commented that 99 percent of the people suffering from the virus avert death, has obtained that statistic. In reality, it could in all likelihood be higher, especially, when all is said and done. Of more concern, however, is increasing research that a significant amount of COVID sufferers have not fully recovered. Incidents to the contrary are staggering: protracted fatigue and malaise and damage to vital bodily organs. Whether these effects abate completely over time, remains to be seen. What is apparent, however, is that this is not a disease to be toyed with or perceived in a frivolous manner. Knowing this, it is truly incumbent for all of us to take this pandemic seriously and to cooperate toward the eradication or balanced control of this devastating disease.
Elizabeth Araluce Mason
Heart to Heart
Last week’s “Editor’s Letter” was special and touched me. Not only did I enjoy your family teen experience, but also your focus on seniors, including those in your family now living locally. I look forward to reading more, knowing [MJ writer] Zach Rosen will receive many suggestions for future editions.
Best wishes for 2021.