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Letter: Defend democracy; condemn Trumpism

On Jan. 6, America was attacked by ultra-right domestic terrorists, fascistic white nationalists and radical Trump supporters — anti-democratic forces bent on obstructing the activities of Congress and attempting to effectively and illegally install their leader, Donald Trump, as dictator, in denial of recent clear and valid electoral results in favor of Joe Biden for president. People were injured and died, and the Capitol was ransacked. In that Trump and certain Republican legislators incited these demonstrators to riot and insurrection, the impeachment of Donald Trump and the censure of his collaborators was an appropriate and imperative response. As for those quintessentially corrupt Republican lawmakers who have, through their complicity and acquittal of Donald Trump, aligned themselves with anti-democratic white supremacists and radical extremists, they have since lost all credibility and worthiness of consideration. They deserve to be shouted down in the public space — Fascist! Fascist! Fascist!

Protecting our democracy is obviously going to take more than voting. It’s time for all patriots and pro-democracy Americans to openly testify their allegiance to the Constitution, the rule of law and our pursuit of justice and equality. Make your outrage and your thoughts known in the spirit of community and in affirmation of our democracy by demonstrating in place (COVID-safe), such as through social media, or signs in your yard, or on your car. This is the least we can do. This is a way we can identify who we really are, signify unity and peacefully limit unnecessary confrontations. Let’s have the courage of our convictions and rally to defend our democracy and condemn Donald Trump and Trumpism for the clear and present danger that it is.

COVID has shown us that personal liberty should not tread on our common freedom (the mask as personal choice or social obligation). This emphasis on personal liberty carries over in our approach to many issues, including democracy itself. When it does, it can be factional — tribal at best, totalitarian at worst — lending to dogma, authoritarianism and dictatorship. We see how many ultra-right demonstrators confuse freedom with liberty and how it is often associated with racism and white privilege; but liberty only equates with freedom in the context of justice for all.

The future of our immediate focus must be on the common needs of all Americans — defeating COVID, economic recovery and social justice reform; that is — health, security, equality. Bold action and truth and accountability in addressing these concerns is what it will take to relieve the fears, frustration and tensions that this current political turmoil expresses.

Mike Kelly

Albert Lea