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Trump’s false narrative

The United States is breathing a collective sigh of relief now that the Capitol building has been cleared of Trump rioters. The looters may have disbursed, but it’s a fantasy to believe that they will quietly go home and accept a peaceful transfer of power.

Ransacking the Capitol building may have been an utter failure as far as stopping the certification the Electoral College results was concerned, but this event has brought organized violent opposition to the Democratic process into the mainstream of American. The rioters and hundreds of thousands of other people who identify with them now feel empowered to take actions like this again.

Populist authoritarian movements often start with an attempt to seize power so poorly organized that broader society laughs it off. Among organizers and supporters however, the initial failure builds more anger and contributes to a narrative of victimhood. Supporters reorganize, learn from their mistakes and try again. Hugo Chavez first tried to overthrow the Venezuelan government in 1992 but was arrested. The coup flopped, but it made Chavez famous. Two years later Chavez was released and formed a political party. In 1997, he was elected president and began dismantling Venezuela’s democracy.

The looting of the Capitol building failed in its stated goals, but this was an inflection point. The attack on the Capitol building has pulled the United States into a new era where a large portion of the country thinks organized civil violence is acceptable. This threat is larger than it’s been since the Civil War and all Americans need to take this threat to our society seriously. Trump’s false narrative that he’s simultaneously a victim and an infallible savior needs to be relentlessly pulled apart.

Ned Swain

Portland

A vaccination idea

Just heard someone talking about the problem of inoculating people with the COVID-19 vaccine. They were talking about the shortage of trained personnel to help and administer the shots.

How about offering every college graduate or student who is carrying a large student loan debt the opportunity to do service for the United States, and in appreciation portions of their loans would be forgiven in proportion to the amount of time that they give their service? We have similar programs for the forgiveness of debt for service in underserved areas for medical personnel. How about doing it for all of our country?

Chuck Taylor

Houlton

We need courage from Collins

Given the devastating circumstances surrounding the Capitol riot and failed insurrection, it is increasingly apparent that an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump will move forward in Congress. As this is the case, I urge Sen. Susan Collins to support conviction to remove the president from office should these articles pass the House.

It has become abundantly clear that Trump has not learned “a pretty big lesson” after the first impeachment as Collins first believed. Indeed, he has been marvelously resistant to any perceptible intellectual or moral growth in the last four years. He has proven himself a clear and present danger to the republic.

Unfortunately, this innate recklessness may be the most consistent trait of a chaotic, scandal-plagued term in office. Moreover, he has recently promised his followers that “our incredible journey is only just beginning.” This statement gives me concern as it raises the specter of a second Trump presidency. Conviction in the Senate may be the only way Congress can prevent a potentially catastrophic second term.

I urge Collins to join other courageous members of her party to convict the president should a vote come to the Senate floor.

Todd O’Brien

Orono

A terrible message

What a slap in the face to all good and decent Americans to see the man who incited a riot against this country, the country he had sworn to defend and protect, still occupying the White House a week after the attack. Why is he still there and who is leading our country?

It seems we are in a very dangerous position right now, vulnerable to our enemies, both foreign and domestic. I urge our elected officials to do what is necessary to immediately remove this dangerous and unstable man from his position of power. We are sending a terrible message if he is allowed to stay.

Cindy Todd

Etna

If that was comedy I’m not laughing

I often read “Agree to disagree” and their disagreements can be entertaining, but I found the Jan. 8 column, “21 predictions for 2021” totally offensive and inappropriate.

All that was done was to propagate claims of unproven election fraud that got five people killed in last Wednesday’s attack on our nation’s capital. The election outcome has been certified and it is time to accept the result. To continue voicing a proven lie and to malign a company that had little presence in the vote tabulation is beyond reprehensive.

If Phil Harriman’s support of a president who encouraged insurrection and violence is his idea of comedy, it stank.

Brenda Cookson

Stetson