Turn on the news or pick up a newspaper any day of the week and you will find stories about protests and political unrest in countries all over the globe. The common element in almost every single instance is people questioning the legitimacy of their government. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will create more instability in a country than people questioning their elections and whether the elections truly represent the will of the people. Who wins an election is less important than faith in the process.

When President Donald Trump invited a foreign country to meddle in our elections, he not only committed a crime, he planted the seed of distrust. The United States is governed by a piece of paper, the Constitution. In accordance with this piece of paper, we hold an election every four years to elect a president. Amazingly, we accept the results, and we transfer power not based upon a military coup or armed conflict, but because we put our faith into what a piece of paper tells us to do and trust that the results reflect a fair election and the true desires of the citizens who voted.

This process should not be taken for granted. It is the envy of people all over the world. It is fragile and not guaranteed. It must be protected at all costs. Our entire government derives all of its power from the faith the citizens and people all over the world have in it. When our government passes a law or enters a treaty with a foreign government, the power to do so and the legitimacy of those laws and treaties is based on the understanding that our government was duly elected and represents the free will of the citizens of the United States. When foreign countries start to believe that our elections are open to foreign influence, our power and influence are negatively affected.

Our elections are everything. Every power and every right we enjoy as citizens is protected by our faith in our elections. Our safety and our security depend upon our faith in our elections. Trump not only committed an impeachable offense, he committed the very worst offense.

Jerry Johnson, Eden Prairie

• • •

Now that the U.S. Senate has acquitted Trump, what will Democrats do in the next several months leading up to the elections in November? Will they follow the lead of Rep. Adam Schiff in his continuing quest to smear Trump and stop him at every turn? Or, will House Democrats work with Trump on lowering the cost of pharmaceutical drugs? Will they work with Trump on major infrastructure projects such as highways and airports? Will they work with Trump as he tries to streamline critical projects such as ports and pipelines?

To put it simply and directly, will House Democrats support projects that are needed, or will they go along with Schiff? Statewide, the choice is yours, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar and Collin Peterson.

Fulton Gallagher, Bemidji, Minn.

• • •

After the Senate witness vote Friday, I was sad. Not angry. Not disappointed. Just sad. Sad that documents and witnesses were not allowed as they are in fair trials. Sad that Republican senators seemed to vote blindly with their party and out of fear for their own re-election. Sad that my grandchildren will read about this in the future. Sad that if there was nothing to fear about more evidence, why not allow it. Sad that while the majority of Americans wanted to hear from witnesses, it did not happen. Sad that after many, many years of voting mainly Republican, I can no longer support a party that acts as it has in recent months.

Susan Keeler, Darwin, Minn.

• • •

A rushed, shoddy, partisan impeachment led by House Democrats blew up in their faces — this following over two years of the Russian collusion hoax. Democrats have spent the last three years trying to take down our duly elected president instead of focusing on issues important to American people. Meanwhile, Trump has been going about the business of our country, creating nearly 5 million new jobs in his first two years, reducing taxes, lifting about 8 million people off food stamps since 2017, building an economy that is the envy of the world, strengthening our borders and rebuilding our military. Democrats will regret their petty “impeach Trump” strategy when he is re-elected in 2020.

Chad Hagen, Sleepy Eye, Minn.

• • •

Trump’s impeachment was “partisan” merely because our Republican legislators willfully disregarded overwhelmingly damning evidence.

Edward Parker, Minneapolis

• • •

We’ve excused him for his potty mouth, his alleged sexual assaults, his lies, not releasing his tax returns, mocking respected politicians, telling Russia and China to wreak havoc in our elections, thinking he has one over on Kim Jong Un, his tariffs on China, his racist comments, pretending to care about religious freedom, condoning the Saudi prince’s assassination of a critic, calling legitimate journalists “enemies of the people,” separating children from their parents, using his office to fill his own coffers, relaxing environmental regulations, ignoring science and promoting policies that hasten global warning, playing golf instead of working.

The list goes on. And on. And now we have excused him for his quid pro quo in Ukraine and abusing his power against the legislative branch of government by trying to cover it up. With another election coming up, there is nothing to stop him from doing it again, since he will never believe what he did was wrong, making a shambles of our Constitution. Trump’s response? Sneers. Trump’s henchmen’s response? Sneers. Trump’s uninformed followers’ response? Sneers.

I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am that we are in this mess in the first place. One can argue the methods in the House were not the most bipartisan. Majorities do that. It pales in comparison to the machinations in the Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing ahead of time he would not be an impartial juror, followed by the boldfaced lie of the oath he took to be impartial. Regardless, to allow Trump’s actions to go unchecked, without consequence of any kind, I will say this: If we have just opened the door to Trump’s re-election, we can throw the Constitution out. He won’t need it anymore.

Elizabeth Streiff, Minneapolis

READING

The delight of a good book

And ... a win for the daughter-in-law ... and the Star Tribune. Thank you for publishing the multi-page book guide in the Sunday Variety section before Christmas. I loved poring over all of the recommendations and decided to make this the Christmas of books, finding just the right selections for my in-laws, both Ph.D. college professor retirees. The evidence of a good guide is in the thank-you note from the gift receiver, in this case my mother-in-law, stating, “I don’t know how you do it, Tricia!” Hurrah for good books and winning gifts!

Tricia Hall, Minneapolis

 

 

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