What an embarrassment to watch Republican Senators during the impeachment trial ("Senators try to stay focused during long days," Jan. 24). They are bored, they need fidget spinners to play with, they need naps, they are frustrated because they can't have continual access to their little Twitter accounts or their social media. They are disgruntled by the process and have to walk around. Their attention drifts, they do crossword puzzles secretly, they grab magazines, they fall so soundly asleep that sketch artists have time to sketch them while dozing. Is it all too much for you pampered senators? We're so sorry you have to abide by these rules like regular American jurors do each and every day, all across America.

As a teacher, I am used to a few students complaining about not being able to use their phones during class, or about things being "too hard" or "boring." After all, some of them are 14. Yet even adolescents manage to follow the rules and pay attention most of the time. Jurors, some of them senior citizens, most not legally trained, all over the U.S. would be admonished if they fell asleep while participating in a jury trial. They are expected to take notes, focus and deliberate serious cases. Why then are so many Republican senators, who signed up for their jobs, and who are paid handsomely ($174,000 a year), as well as pampered with aides and staff who answer their phones and run their errands and write their memos, unable to do what untrained American jurors do each and every day for a measly $50?

Is it too much to ask that people who represent millions of Americans focus and pay attention to serious concerns regarding potential crimes that the president may have committed? Or has everybody already made up their minds, no matter what the evidence says, because their loyalty, rather than to the U.S. Constitution, or to the American people, is not as strong as their loyalty to one man — the man, who ironically told them that witnesses and documents were not necessary in this trial? What a pathetic spectacle to behold.

Eva Lockhart, Edina
• • •

Please refresh my memory. When was the election in which we voted to remove any oversight on President Donald Trump and all future presidents?

Jim Eason, Plymouth

I've got my choice picked out

It is not surprising that the ranking in polls of contenders for the Democratic Party nomination continues to shift. There are a number of really good, qualified candidates.

I, like many people, am now faced with how to vote in the Democratic primary. For years, my mantra, in both life and in business, has been, "It's all about priorities." Given the current opprobrious conditions in Washington, the No. 1 priority for our next president needs to be, "Put our federal government back together again." There are unqualified, inexperienced and, some would argue, corrupt people serving in top positions in all departments. Policy is nonexistent or confused, and the credibility of the U.S. as a global leader is in shambles. Without a well-organized, working federal government we will not be able to put into practice the changes in health care, education, environmental policy and fiscal reform that we would all like to see.

Therefore, I will be voting for Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary election. He knows how our federal government ought to function. He has background as a senator in a working legislative branch, and he is the only candidate with direct experience in the organization and operation of a working executive branch. And, with current and recent presidential contenders as cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking officials, a Biden administration would be best prepared to "put our federal government back together again" and create a foundation for moving forward with critical social and fiscal reforms.

Joan Barnes, New Brighton
• • •

Speaking as a veteran, I have many reasons to support Sen. Bernie Sanders, but foremost is his understanding of U.S. foreign policy, our obscene military spending and unending war. Bernie's stance on getting us the heck out of the Middle East and bringing those wasted dollars home where they can be better used is the kind of potion we need to begin healing the sickness in this country.

Barry Riesch, St. Paul
• • •

This year's presidential election occurs at a pivotal time in our history, and once again a younger generation is ready to step up and act on America's many unmet needs. To turn the page on the past and lead us in addressing those needs, the candidate best suited for this moment in history is Pete Buttigieg.

Our challenges and crises are well known. Many Americans still can't access health care, while the costs of care continue to skyrocket. As China develops an infrastructure to support a dynamic economy, our transportation systems continue to fall into disrepair. Entrenched politicians maintain power while making it harder for Americans to vote.

And as climate change threatens the globe, the current president ignores it while spending his days tweeting insults at his opponents.

The crises we face today have been years in the making, and politicians have been more interested in political warfare than acting to make our lives better. We can't wait any longer for Washington to get it right.

Pete Buttigieg, however, offers not just the energy and abilities to address these crises, but a capacity to inspire the nation. As mayor of a Midwestern city, he led successful efforts to revitalize his community. He answered his nation's call to serve in the military. His background and life experience have given him a clear understanding of government, business and our interconnected world.

Above all, he offers a type of hope and optimism that we haven't seen in a candidate since former President Barack Obama.

To turn the page on the past and lead us into the future, Buttigieg is the right candidate for this moment. He will be a president we can not only have confidence in, but whom we can be proud of.

Patrick Hirigoyen, St. Paul
• • •

In these days of political rancor and discord, it is clear that both major political parties are becoming more polarized. And yet, the majority of Americans are seeking a more moderate course. Most want access to affordable health care for themselves and others. Most want a good education to be affordable to our youth and people re-entering the workforce so that America will have competent workers to carry us into the future. Most want access to healthful food, quality goods, fresh air and clean water. We want business to run well, yet equitably. We want to be safe in our borders. We want all of this for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren and further descendants.

Many Americans are ready for a change from this administration's policies. However, most of us do not want our lives shaken up. We prefer gradual change to revolution. The far-left candidates frighten us because we fear too much government, skyrocketing taxes and business-suppressing legislation.

What we seek is a sensible, moderate leader who understands our insecurities and fears as well as our hopes and dreams. We want a president who understands how government works, trusts the institutions our Constitution devised, and will listen to experts. This is the kind of person who can mend our rifts and reunite America.

The one candidate who fits the bill is Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Joann W. Pasternack, Mendota Heights

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