I read with disgust Peter Kelly’s letter of Jan. 15, in which he suggested that Joe Biden, as president, should pardon former President Donald Trump as a way to "stand up to those seeking revenge" and "reunite the country". Holding Trump legally accountable for the crimes he committed as president, including inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, would be justice, not revenge. The United States, to me, has a terrible history of sweeping crimes and atrocities under the rug in the name of healing. I believe President Gerald Ford was wrong to pardon former President Richard Nixon, and President Abraham Lincoln was wrong to pardon ex-confederates. To suggest that a Trump pardon would "reunite the country" is deeply naive at best and deeply dishonest at worst.
New Hyde Park
Nation paid price over past four years
When I think back on these past four years, I’ve realized that the damage done is not solely the fault of President Donald Trump. He was not the single voice in the crowd spouting his endless narcissistic lies. No, he may have made the first crack in the wall of democracy, but he wasn’t strong enough to split it completely. He had a lot of people behind him holding the chisel and swinging the mallet: Sens. Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, to name just a few. And of course there is our own congressman, Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), one of the chief Trump banner carriers. And let us not forget outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, while not chanting with the crowd, did nothing to dispel Trump’s lies. I see silence as complicity. If these people, many of whom Trump attacked, had spoken up and fought for our constitutional and presidential norms, much of the damage could have been avoided. To me, their cowardice gave validity to the lies and bad policies. But they chose job over Constitution, and an entire nation has paid the price.
First, understand our problem
As long as we keep repeating the farce that "this is not what America is," referring to racism, I believe there will be no healing and we will continue to slide into the abyss we have created. As any recovering alcoholic will tell you, recognizing that you have a problem is the first and indispensable step toward recovery. What we saw on Jan. 6 demonstrates what we have been for a while. The 45th president brought it to the foreground, 74 million of our fellow citizens bought Donald Trump’s lies, and here we are today. Let’s be honest to ourselves and each other, and let’s start the recovery. Let’s leave punishment of crimes to the competent authorities. Let’s, each individually, examine our actions or silence over the past five years and decide to do better. There is no other way to show patriotism.
Ernst P.A. Vanamson,
Recognize Senate aides who saved votes
President Joe Biden should award the Medal of Freedom to the Senate aides who saved the electoral votes from the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol.
A call for calm and compromise
I applaud and second those readers who wrote letters requesting respect for everyone’s views, for calm dialogue in discussing our differences, and for compromise in helping us move forward as a nation. I think we need to recognize that we are a divided country that needs to come together and that the vast majority of voters in both parties are friends and neighbors who are both kind and reasonable people. We should not give in to the extremist views of the far left or far right wings of the political parties that are all too often championed by the biased media and other media outlets in apparent attempts to drive higher ratings. I believe the polarized climate will continue to exist only if we let it. Let’s instead open our hearts and minds and attempt to understand there are two sides to every discussion and work together to create a better world for our children. I pray that President Joe Biden can be a president for all Americans, as he promises, and unite us as one nation. How about we all try to help him do so?
Comparison between rioters, QAnon uneven
Many letters have compared the rioting and looting during Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the pro-Trump demonstration in Washington. There is no justification for the criminal acts and violence that occurred in either case, but, in my view, to compare the two is to compare apples and oranges. BLM is based on facts — that Black people have been killed by police. Whether justified or not, our courts will decide, based on the case facts. The disgraceful acts of QAnon, the Proud Boys, et al. at the U.S. Capitol were, I believe, based on the lies told by the outgoing president and reinforced by some members of Congress, the "facts" of which had found no merit in every court in which they were presented. Former President Donald Trump drove a wedge into the United States based on his lies. Until he admits to deliberately misleading the people, I believe that wedge will remain and "we the people" will stay "us and them."