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Our systems need to change

In the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol and Donald Trump’s impeachment, several things seem important. What we are experiencing now is one of the “unforeseen” consequences of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” when the Republican Party decided to court Southern racists who were alienated by the effort of Democrats and civil rights leaders to end systematic racism and give our Black citizens equal rights.

Among those rights were decent educational opportunities, equal access to jobs and housing, and recognition for all they have contributed to our society.

Like me, people saw the Confederate flag in the Capitol hallway. The problem is that while the infection in the Republican Party started years ago, it is only grown worse as the party and one president after another, including Trump, has encouraged people to blame people of color, immigrants, cities and Democrats for the economic and social consequences of globalization.

I don’t think Republicans have been honest for years about corporate gifts and influence, about corporate outsourcing of jobs and about the callous disregard by corporations for America’s workers, the environment, small towns and small businesses. Leaders have stood by for decades while watching corporations shift profits away from workers, white and Black, to the already rich. No wonder folks on both the right and left are upset and alienated.

Thanks to the pandemic, we now know who essential workers are, and how much our political and economic systems need to change.

Jim Owen

Belfast

A different kind of insurrection?

Without bringing former President Donald Trump into this issue, isn’t it actually an insurrection for the social media, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc., to be able to have the power to penetrate the walls of the Oval Office of the White House itself and to actually have the power to shut down any president of the United States? Who is running the United States — social media or our appointed politicians?

People can hate the former president for whatever reason but that’s not the serious issue here. The more serious issue is that social media has the power over our country now by themselves causing a form of insurrection of the White House’s Oval Office. By having this power, it sends a dangerous message to “We The People” of America that our country is not in charge, nor are we — it is the social media companies.

What a sad day it has become for the most beautiful country on this earth, the United States of America. It is time to wake up and deal with the real issues here that we are facing in America. A big part of social media has become none other than another pandemic passing over our earth and ripping away our freedom right before our very eyes.

I grieve for all those who were hurt earlier this month and it should never happen again. If it is possible for dysfunctional Americans to penetrate the Capitol, how much more is it possible for terrorists to do so?

Eugene Allen

Holden

The future of both parties

As we draw lessons from the recent past, one thing is probably certain: The Democratic Party is not immune to a takeover from an outside candidate, nor from the same emotionalism that has gripped the Republicans.

Donald Trump registered as a Republican in 1987, and changed party affiliation five times after that: to the Independence Party, Democratic Party, back to the Republican Party, as an independent and finally, back to the Republican Party.

I just angered my Republican neighbors, but here’s a news flash for my Democratic friends and fans of Bernie Sanders: he’s not even a Democrat, he’s a self-described democratic socialist.

Although Sanders pined for the financial and organizational support of the Democratic Party to fuel his presidential aspirations, he has not fully become a Democrat. He is still counted as an independent in Congress and is introduced as an independent before interviews. (I wonder how other democratic socialists feel about that?) Although Sanders never won a nomination and his behavior is certainly benign when compared to Trump, his seemingly self-serving attitude has been troubling.

What lessons can we draw from politicians like Trump and Sanders?

Since the 1970s, both political parties have adopted rules increasing the role of primaries and caucuses in the presidential nomination process. Ultimately, however, they are private organizations that can follow whatever procedures they wish. It may be time for them to review how candidates are chosen. The future of both parties and our democracy may be at stake.

David Klausmeyer

Ellsworth