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Reform democracy so it can survive

The first months of 2021 have been marked by insurrectionary movements in many democratic nations. Myanmar, Niger and even the United States have experienced violent post-election turmoil that threatens the legitimacy of their democratic institutions. According to the 2020 Global Democracy Index, many states have slipped back into authoritarianism with the UnitedStates, the self-appointed leader of the free world, ranking as a “flawed democracy.”

This frightening trend toward authoritarianism can only be thwarted through the reformation of our beloved democratic institutions. World affairs do not remain static but are constantly changing, and our democracies must reflect these changes. Citizens must not shy away from foreign affairs as globalization has made the world so interconnected that what happens across the world is very relevant to your daily lives. Global problems require global solutions, not nationalistic ones. I urge readers to recognize the fragility of democracy, as it is not a guaranteed birthright.

We, as global citizens, must put aside our nationalist ideologies and come up with policies to reform our democracies so they may survive for future generations.

Dustin Alward

Mapleton

Congress should support racing industry

I respectfully request that Congress pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act. The bipartisan RPM Act protects the right to convert an automobile or motorcycle into a racecar used exclusively at the track.

Modifying a vehicle into a racecar is an integral part of America’s automotive heritage. Many types of racing, including NASCAR, were founded on the premise that street vehicles, including motorcycles, can be converted into dedicated race vehicles. Racing events are an economic driver for many communities and a source of affordable family-friendly entertainment for millions, with participants that range from professionals to novices using converted race vehicles.

Congress didn’t intend for the Clean Air Act (CAA) to apply to motor vehicles modified for competition use only. However, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains that CAA requires converted vehicles driven exclusively on the track to remain emissions-compliant.

The RPM Act clarifies that transforming motor vehicles into racecars used exclusively for competition does not violate the CAA. It is imperative that Congress passes the RPM Act to provide long-term certainty to racers and motorsports parts businesses.

Gerald Batten

Brewer

The Big Tech strawman

On Jan. 6 2021, a fundamental tenet of our democracy, the peaceful transition of power, was threatened. As a lawless mob overtook the Capitol, former President Donald Trump encouraged them. Whether it was telling his supporters to “fight like hell” or perpetuating false claims of election fraud, Trump created the vitriol that led to these attacks.

As a result of inflammatory statements made that day on Twitter, he was banned from the platform due to the threat of violence. As many conservatives argue that “Big Tech” must be regulated and claim that bias exists, their arguments fail to recognize that, even if Twitter was forced to act like the government in protecting the 1st Amendment, Trump’s incitement of violence would still not be protected.

As the Supreme Court ruled in Schenck v. United States, and later in Brandenburg v. Ohio, speech that is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action” is not protected by the 1st Amendment. While Twitter has work to do in ensuring that bias is not present, the kind of broad governmental regulation that many on the right propose will not solve their problems with the platform. Even if Twitter couldn’t place additional restrictions on speech, Trump would not and should not be unbanned. His conduct fundamentally violated democratic norms and his words are not protected speech in any sense.

Regulating Big Tech is a strawman designed to deflect pressure from former Trump.

Devon Hunter

Veazie