I believe most Americans deny the extent to which an authoritarian Republican Party actively seeks to destroy our democracy. I am grateful for the reprinted Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial “Democracy under attack in Wisconsin” (January 3), which warns that “Donald Trump’s repeated lies about the 2020 election over the past year have put our democracy in grave danger, but he did not do this alone. “
Wisconsin, as the editorial made clear, is a chilling example, but it is part of a much larger orchestrated initiative. The New York Times editorial New Years Day noted, âOver the past year, Republican lawmakers in 41 states have tried to advance the Jan 6 rioters’ goals – not by breaking the laws but by passing them. Hundreds of bills have been proposed and nearly three dozen laws have been passed that empower state legislatures to sabotage their own elections and overthrow the will of their constituentsâ¦. [T]he Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that openly despises democracy and has shown that it is ready to resort to violence to achieve its ends. exist.”
Likewise, George Packer writing in the January / February 2022 issue of Atlantic warns: âThere is no easy way to stop a big party that intends to destroy democracy. The demonic energy with which Trump repeats his liesâ¦ America’s authoritarians are the number one threat America faces. “
There are many vital issues that preoccupy us and others, but resolving them first and foremost depends on defending our democracy and fighting authoritarianism.
Jack Nelson Pallmeyer, Minneapolis
The article on Computer-Drawn Legislative Maps illustrates how ingrained gerrymandering is in our system (âTechnology Level Rules the Game for Legislative Maps,â January 2. Courts say political gerrymandering is a problem ( I agree), and the courts say they want districts that are equally populated, as contiguous as possible and compact (that seems like a perfect criterion). And they want maps that don’t deny the rights of any minority community. or which do not divide communities with a shared economic, cultural or economic heritage (that seems to me to be mandated gerrymandering).
In a hypothetical state with eight electoral districts and a population of 75% White, 15% Black, and 10% Hispanic, should each district be 75% White, 15% Black, and 10% Hispanic, or 75% of the districts should-? Do they have white majorities, 15% have black majorities and 10% have Hispanic majorities? No matter what you choose, you will have chosen gerrymandering. You may have chosen the right gerrymandering or you may have chosen the wrong gerrymandering, but rest assured, you have chosen gerrymandering.
Our goal should not be acceptable gerrymandering; our goal should be no gerrymandering. Choose the map that represents the best compromise between containing uniform populations and appearing contiguous and compact and nothing more. It may not be fair, but it will be impartial.
Jack Kohler, Plymouth
Regarding “Let’s put Christianity back into Christian politics” (Opinion Exchange, January 1)
Thank you, Robert K. Vischer, for putting a label on the cognitive dissonance that I have struggled with for over five years. It is a huge relief to be able to let go of the unease I have left after voting for a candidate who does not fully align with the teachings of the church. For me, the means do not justify the ends if the means do not conform to the biblical values ââthat I was taught from childhood.
Susan Handy, Eden Prairie
Vischer’s opinion piece deals only with a small aspect of the polarization that has plagued American society. He says, âChristian nationalism is about power – to be gained and used against external threats. To be clear, I am not defending Christian nationalism. Politics is dirty business, and Christians should be very careful in their public involvement. But let me ask: is no other group seeking power? Whether it is Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, Black Lives Matter, Antifa or Unions, all efforts are directed towards the conquest of power. The author also postulates: âWhen Christians refuse to recognize the possibility that our political tribe is capable of evil, we deny the reality of sin. The only way for the writer to come to his conclusion is to use the Bible as a dictionary of sin. Whether it is the Ten Commandments (Exodus), the Golden Rule (Matthew), or any other relevant part of Scripture, when he or any of us are using the Biblical standards, it is demonstrably clear let evil take hold of American society, not just Christian nationalists.
Whatever our religious or atheist beliefs, American values ââare in decline, we have lost the art of tolerance and forgiveness and replaced them with selfishness and resentment. Unfortunately, it will take more than politics to imbue biblical standards with core human values.
Philip Peterson, Edina
I agree with Vischer that Christian nationalism can be a harmful thing, as evidenced by the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, but if Christian extremism can be dangerous, how much more dangerous is the left-wing extremism that led to riots and looting in 140 American cities with multi-billion dollar property damage? The attack on January 6 lasted for part of a day and was carried out by around 1,000 people. The riots that followed the death of George Floyd lasted much of the rest of 2020. According to Wikipedia, at least 14,000 people were arrested in late June 2020. Riots after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, resulted in damage or destruction of at least 56 businesses and caused more than $ 50 million in damage, according to the the Wall Street newspaper.
The left-wing extremism which provoked the riots is similar to the Christian nationalism which provoked the attack on the Capitol. Right-wing rioters believe the 2020 election was stolen; left-wing rioters believe the United States is a white supremacist nation where police officers are permitted to murder blacks with impunity.
The attack on the United States Capitol is concerning because some of those involved were calling for the killing of politicians whose views they disagree with and because they were trying to overturn valid election results. I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of this outrage, but it should also worry us that thousands of left-wing extremists have destroyed the property and livelihoods of thousands of innocent people. Extremism is potentially dangerous no matter which side of the aisle it comes from.
James Brandt, New Brighton
After reading the Friday newspaper article about the blood donation shortage, I wanted to share my story (âBlood supply in ‘rush mode’,â December 31). I donated blood once about 25 years ago and passed out afterward, so I concluded I was a bad candidate for donation and never tried again. Then recently after hearing about the shortage I thought I should give it a second try. I’ve made two donations now to Memorial Blood Centers, and it’s super easy! I told them I was passed out the first time I tried it, so they kept me in the chair a little longer afterwards and brought me some cranberry juice. Then I went to relax in their living room with free snacks! Chex mix! Cookies! No more juice! Overall it was painless and very quick. The actual portion of the donation took less than 10 minutes. I don’t know what I was afraid of because it really is an easy way to give back to the community and maybe save a life. I plan to donate again as soon as I can (they are contacting me at the appropriate time to schedule the next visit).
I encourage anyone who is considering giving it a try! You will feel so good and happy afterwards, and the staff at Memorial Blood Centers are very grateful to you.
Cindi Thompson, Saint-Louis park
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