The actions of U.S. Reps. Michelle Fischbach and Jim Hagedorn to attempt to overturn the will of the people of the United States of America are a horrible blight on the proud state of Minnesota ("Insurrection," front page, Jan. 7). It is inconceivable to me that they could cast aside hundreds of years of American history as well as the treasured democracy our Constitution created for a simple matter of political expediency.

I have voted in elections where my candidate won; I have voted in elections where my candidate lost. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my personal preference should dismember our democracy to soothe the pains of defeat. This is because I realize that the single most important attribute of our government is not the specific people in the government, not the person atop the government, but rather the sacred process by which the people of our country create our government: each person voting, each a point of light coming together with others to create the beacon of democracy. It is this beacon that has been our guiding light for over 200 years. Not just the guiding light for our country, but a light that has inspired countries the world over.

That two representatives from Minnesota have dimmed that light is both heartbreaking and infuriating. My job is to work with and care for U.S. veterans who have sacrificed their health and risked their life for this country. Whether those veterans voted for President-elect Joe Biden or President Donald Trump, the reason they made that sacrifice was to ensure that our democracy, our lifeblood, is protected and vibrant.

I hope that we can excise the darkness cast by Reps. Fischbach and Hagedorn, restore the vitality of our values and let the pure, unadulterated light of North Star State shine once again.

Adam Bock, Eagan
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Perhaps there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016. But, seriously, could Vladimir Putin have asked for more than what he's gotten?

Joe Ritter, Minneapolis
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Upon seeing protesters entering the Capitol, Rep. Dean Phillips yelled at Republicans, "This is because of you!" Sounds like the Problem Solvers Caucus might be off to a rough start, but the Finger Pointers Caucus is alive and well.

Phil Larsen, Dayton
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After the horrible events that were incited by Trump on Wednesday, including four deaths, two Republican representatives from Minnesota voted to overturn the election results: Michelle Fischbach and Jim Hagedorn. In my opinion, every one of the 147 Republicans who persisted in this act of insurrection should be removed from office, which Congress can do with a two-thirds vote. Absent the willingness and fortitude of their fellow Republicans to repudiate them as they should, I implore my fellow Minnesotans to remember these representatives when they ask us to re-elect them in two years. The irresponsibility of their behavior is unforgivable.

Jim Cotner, St. Paul
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Now that members of Congress have had the experience of hunkering down in fear for their lives, let's not forget that most of our school-aged children practice for such an event on a frequent basis. This is the lived experience of most Americans — a constant fear of gun violence that leads us to check every exit in public places. Perhaps now, finally, elected officials who put the Second Amendment before the common good can reflect on what it feels like to be exposed to the reality we live every day. And I hope they never forget that the "good guys with guns" stood by as an armed mob broke into their bubble.

Carol A. Dungan, Minneapolis
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Trump must be held accountable for inciting insurrection against the U.S. Capitol. He must be removed from power. He is either deluded (he actually believes that the election was stolen from him) or diabolical (he knows the election wasn't stolen from him but he simply wants to retain power). In either case, he is a security risk to our country and must step down.

Allen Edwards, Alexandria
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I hope Vice President Mike Pence, if the 25th Amendment is invoked, or Biden don't make the same mistake President Gerald Ford made pardoning Richard Nixon and asking everyone to just move on. Letting Trump off without charging him for his crimes against this country will send a clear signal that the president is in fact above the law and can do anything he or she wants while in office and not have to worry about any consequences.

It is also extremely important that Trump supporters in Congress and in high levels of the government are held accountable for their actions. Trump could not have done all the damage he has done without others in positions of power supporting his actions.

If we don't address the division in our country and hold people accountable for their illegal actions, we will be repeating these events over and over again.

Dale Trippler, Blaine
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As I watched the Trump supporters break down windows and pour into the U.S. Capitol building, unchallenged by any law enforcement officials, I firmly believe that if those were Black bodies instead of white bodies pouring in, they would have met with significant, perhaps deadly, challenge.

Stephan Patnode, Minneapolis
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Dear Republicans: I am sorry that your party allowed someone to elbow his way onto your stage and take over your show. The Republican Party was hijacked by a demagogue. You have many good, intelligent members and I know you can do so much better than what the last four years have given us. This is a country of diverse and differing opinions. We need at least two parties to balance one another. We will not agree on solutions to problems we both recognize. But in the past, we have discussed, even argued, the merits of our unique approaches, and eventually we have found common solutions. Neither party is ever 100% satisfied with the results, but both parties accept the solutions and try to make them work. That is democracy at its basic level: recognize an issue, debate it, offer solutions, compromise and accept the outcome.

There is a huge difference between a Republican and a Trumpite. The former would choose democracy. The latter would rather choose a dictatorship. I am a Democrat and I respect Republicans, even when I can't necessarily agree with them. But I have no respect for the Trumpites. Not now, not ever.

Joseph Wright, Bloomington
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Watching the insurrectionist siege of the U.S. Capitol by persons incited by the sitting president in an effort to overturn the recent free and fair presidential election, and having only weeks earlier finished teaching a college course on the Civil War, I found myself recalling the first Republican president's message to Congress on July 4, 1861.

Characterizing the recently begun Civil War as "essentially a People's contest," Abraham Lincoln noted that "our people have already settled ... the successful establishing and the successful administering of [popular government]." What remained to be demonstrated was "its successful maintenance against a formidable attempt to overthrow it."

Lincoln might well have been speaking pointedly to us. We should take his words to heart and resolve with still more urgency and determination to maintain our democracy at this hour of grave peril to it.

Greg Kaster, Minneapolis

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