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Letters to the Editor, July 6 - 9

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The mob rules

EDITOR: Among the many emotions my smart, engaged friends feel these days is bafflement. We are perplexed at how the great United States of America is being led by a spoiled cheater, liar and bully, by a man driven by slights and insecurity.

Virtually no one of standing, including the great bulk of his own supporters denies that Donald J. Trump is all of those things. And there is ample evidence that he is motivated by narcissism and revenge.

So how can a person with such obvious character flaws and emotional illness maintain support?

Why don’t more good Republicans call him out? There are plenty, and most are silent.

Why don’t they stop the incompetence and corruption by cabinet secretaries as well as by the president’s family?

Why do we all focus our collective attention on President Trump’s tactics and tweets while decisions about nuclear arms, great alliances and dangerous enemies are made by someone who is not credible, who is ignorant and... maybe... worse?

Despite this overwhelming sense of political vertigo, one explanation is clear – feckless leaders of the GOP are downright afraid of the party’s new hardcore supporters. With, because and in support of Trump, there are millions of Republican voters who mirror their leader and make choices out of fear, anger, ignorance and envy:

* We know that Trump stokes fear among his base with largely erroneous threats from: immigrants, “radical Muslim terrorists,” trading partners and on and on.

* We know from his rallies that his supporters are furious.

* There are countless polls showing Trump voters to be less educated.

* And due to some great research we also now know that they fear and resent a loss of status and a fear of displacement,

So, while more educated, more urban, more diverse and more competitive Americans, indeed a majority of voters, are flummoxed by the collapse of so many standards, we must face the evidence that we are being led by a man with a terrible character who: uses fear, stokes fury and exploits ignorance in a symbiotic siren song to his supporters. And they, like the sailors of Ancient Greece, will sail on to the hard rocks of reality.

We can hope that more Republicans like Steve Schmidt, Senators McCain, Corker and Flake, as well as others renounce this kind of behavior and constrain this pied piper. But for now, we must face the fact that the mob and their mob boss rule.

This was Benjamin Franklin’s great fear, that great offices would be filled by demagogues responding to the angry, ignorant and fearful.

Mobs don’t think. Mobs are emotional, destructive forces driven by panic and hate and vengeance.

The first and greatest democracy of the modern era is being led by someone chosen in large part because he identifies foes and attacks blindly just the way a mob does.

A great many Republican voters elevated a person so unbridled, so willing to ignore the facts, break the rules and beat someone up because they wanted that. And they still want that - someone to do their blind, dirty work.

If not, why are they still supporting him?

Donald Van de Mark

Sonoma

First it’s them; next it’s you…

EDITOR: I want to express my appreciation and support for our immigrant citizens and those who are undocumented in Sonoma.

Our county’s population is over 503,070 – 35 percent of which are Hispanic, Asian or African-American. Ninety percent of our non-white residences are legal immigrants. Agribusinesses and hospitality would quite literally not exist without them.

There is an urgency, now, due to a fever of hatred being fanned across our country. It’s not based on facts but by demagoguery. Immigrants are approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population about the same percentage throughout our history. There are less undocumented workers than in 2007.

Immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans, there is no correlation between crime rates and levels of immigration. Crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.

Immigrants pay into our tax system yet are ineligible for the benefits. The taxes they do pay more than cover items like public education and healthcare. Half of all undocumented residents file tax returns; they all pay sales tax.

We want a fair system that welcomes a variety of people with varying degrees of skills and to welcome those fleeing crushing poverty and violence just like many of our own relatives did not long ago.

However you feel on this issue, be mindful that this animosity is affecting real people and children who live among us, the documented, undocumented and citizens alike. Today it’s them; someday it could very well be you.

Leigh Cavalier

Sonoma

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain!

EDITOR: Picture the POTUS preening himself in front of a double sawbuck as he channels “Old Hickory” and whispers to himself: This could be Me, Me, Me. However, Andrew Jackson was both a statesman and a general. The Donald is neither. Yet they have some ignoble acts in common. Jackson’s dishonorable and zero-tolerance Indian Removal Act led to the tragic “Trail of Tears.” The Donald’s equally dishonorable, zero-tolerance and brutal border order should likewise earn him a dark and disgraceful place in American History, not dissimilar to Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.” The American people need to be like Dorothy and see that our wizard is just a faux president who will have no good interred with his bones.

Michael Heiman

Sonoma

Zero tolerance for Trump

EDITOR: Baby jails?! Only in America.

Let’s deport Trump to one of his favorite dictatorships, North Korea or Russia.

Bruce MacDonald

Sonoma