I was writing this opinion piece as the U.S. House was debating and then voting on whether to impeach our current president. I find it to be a solemn occasion, and not one to celebrate. Though I find many of his words and actions to be deplorable, one particular item stands out the most for me: The Washington Post has said that he has told well over 14,000 lies to the American public over the last three or so years!

I am currently reading “New Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton. He wrote these words in 1949. He said, “We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it!”

David Skrypek, Bloomington

• • •

The impeachment process of President Donald Trump has made us Americans aware of one sad fact: of how divided a nation we are, from Washington, D.C., on down to the man on the street. There are no winners here; we are all losers, because as a very famous person once said: “A nation divided against itself, cannot stand.”

I would bet that Russian President Vladimir Putin is dancing in the Kremlin!

The Rev. Michael Stelmach, Columbia Heights

• • •

“The empire (of Washington swamp-dwellers) strikes back” would have been a better front-page headline on Dec. 19 (“Impeached”). Sixty-three million Americans voted for an unorthodox Trump, who promised to address the pressing crises of our country. Remember, past presidents gave us glowing rhetoric, finger-pointing and blame-gaming but no results. China’s cheating, cheapskate allies, suffering veterans, a lousy economy, unchecked illegal immigration, ISIS terrorism and Middle East turmoil among other priorities sat in a muddle of inaction while the swamp denizens debated furiously.

Trump used his negotiating skills to address and fulfill many of these promises. Now their trumped-up (pun intended) allegations will be exposed for America to see. I predict it will ignite a backlash of outraged deplorables like me in the next election.

Donald Pitsch, Eden Prairie

• • •

A well-deserved impeachment of selfish, sociopathic, security-risk Trump will be politically blocked in the Senate, but the real battle is for public opinion. Here’s what ordinary American citizens can do: Prominently display the U.S. flag to show support for tossing out Trump and restoring the rule of law.

It’s our flag, and it stands for constitutional integrity and civic virtue — patriotism above partisanship, democracy not dictatorship, honesty and truth instead of a torrent of lies and insults.

Sixty years ago our Chess Club coach, Col. R.J. Watson, U.S. Army, retired, on very special occasions used to regale us with songs that he had learned as a boy 60 years before that, back when he heard the Civil War veterans gathered on summer nights on the steps of the Fond du Lac county courthouse, singing their old camp songs and hallowed ballads redolent of the sacrifice and heroism of the people’s army summoned by Abraham Lincoln.

Sometimes I imagine I can almost hear them now: “Yes, we’ll rally ’round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again, shouting the battle cry of freedom ... .”

I just hung out Old Glory in the flag bracket on our screened porch this morning, and will do so every day, weather permitting, from now until Election Day 2020.

The Star-Spangled Banner, with all its noble symbolism and iconic power, must never be surrendered to the demagogues and propagandists promoting the deception, trickery and fraud of the Trump personality cult, with its sinister ideology of political trumpery, concocted from relentless appeals to fear, prejudice, greed and ignorance.

Oliver Steinberg, St. Paul

• • •

A Dec. 19 letter writer commented about certain Democrats being “forced” to vote to impeach. In case he missed it, three Democrats voted against the impeachment of Trump, and they will not be personally attacked or primaried by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as they would be by Trump for being disloyal. Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips and the other Democrats are doing something you don’t see (m)any Republicans do anymore — they are upholding their oaths to the Constitution despite possible negative political consequences. That’s called courage.

Ruth Conley, Andover

• • •

According to former U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, President Donald Trump is “the chosen one.”

However, despite this apparently amazing place in history, in an six-page letter to Pelosi, Trump assured the world that he is being treated worse than “those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”

Surpassing these convictions of Trump’s importance and martyrdom, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., declared during Wednesday’s impeachment hearings that even Jesus had it better than Trump.

I am writing this letter to the editor, so I should not be speechless, but I find myself so overwhelmed, so astonished by these casually arrogant blasphemies, that no words seem sufficient.

How have we come to a place where in less than three years one man can shred our Constitution and honor himself with a cult that threatens to destroy the democracy our founders so thoughtfully formed? How have we come to a place in history where a golden escalator mocks a crown of thorns?

Before today, authors, poets, playwrights and musicians often kindled remedial action, but my faith in the efficacy of any of these inspirations is waning in the face of what is rapidly appearing to be a serious visit down the rabbit hole and a grave threat to life as we have come to expect.

Shawn O’Rourke Gilbert, Edina

• • •

“Impeachment polarizes voters.” This jump-page headline appeared the day after Trump was impeached (“House vote widens the growing rift,” Dec. 19).

It is not quite right. The more apt headline would have been: “Trump polarizes voters.” Or even: “Trump thrives on polarizing voters.” He speaks about representing only part of the nation, the part that has rather glibly become known as “Trump’s base.” No, impeachment did not polarize voters. Donald J. Trump polarized voters long before the Democrats embarked on their solemn obligation.

Miriam Karmel, Minneapolis


Let’s think about something deeper

On this winter afternoon, the dim daylight filters past the city’s sky-scrapered skyline and gently lights the opaque window while the scattered shadows of the naked branches of nearby trees sketch an ever-changing pattern with each cold gust of wind that gropes and hums at the outside frame.

The year is fast closing and as the December dark descends, we are reminded that in a few short days the tide will turn, and another year with growing light will stretch before us, and with all that hope can give, we will seek to renew ourselves.

It is a time we set aside for giving. And there is, in fact, only one triad of gifts that can truly make a difference. The first of those is bestowed by the universe, the second is a gift of fate and the third is the only gift we, as mortals, can give that matters. That trio is light, time and love.

Don Anderson, Minneapolis

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