As the events of recent weeks unfold, I keep asking myself, “Do Republicans, especially those in Congress, actually believe that our constitutional republic can survive another four years of this man’s policies, decisionmaking and behavior?”
Republicans are put in a position of defending clearly inappropriate, indeed impeachable, behavior toward a foreign government. They must live with his inexcusable, ill-considered and counterproductive decisionmaking regarding Syria and our Kurdish allies. And then they must endure tirades like the president had, in front of cameras, at the cabinet meeting on Monday where he said that a plainly worded part of the Constitution did not exist and harangued the loyal State Department professionals who are telling the truth to congressional investigators. He says he “never heard of them,” as if that matters. Mr. President, as much as you regret it, this is not the Trump Organization.
These are just a few outrages from recent days. I’m leaving out the Doral/G-7 debacle. If he survives impeachment and a Senate trial, consider how he will feel validated. The behaviors and destructive decisions we can expect at that point are unimaginable.
His re-election campaign is already heavily using social media to spread untrue information about potential opponents. That is just the beginning. Russia is already actively supporting his re-election, as it did in 2016. The prospect that our election will not be as free and fair as we have come to expect, at least before 2016, is very real. I feel very comfortable in saying that no other presidential campaign will use lies and misinformation and bots and all the rest like Trump’s campaign will. He may well get re-elected on that basis.
So, Republicans, it is in your hands. Can you deal with four more years of Constitution-bashing and dangerous national security decisions? Or would you be better off saying no, he deserves to be removed from office for all of the egregious behavior and abuse of his office which we see on pretty much a daily basis? Will our republic, our democracy, our Constitution survive another four years of Trump? I fear not. Republicans, please put country first.
Gary Fifield, St. Paul
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I was astonished at the closeness of the numbers for and against impeachment in Sunday’s Star Tribune (“Minnesota in deadlock over impeachment,” front page). In my view there are solid legal reasons for impeachment, and our Constitution is the document that lays out what is legal and what is not in our government.
Trump’s actions in the matter of Ukraine are now well documented both by the administration and by various witnesses. His actions are against the law. The law states that it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.
The emoluments clause in the Constitution (Article I, Section 9) specially prohibits a president from enriching himself or herself from other foreign nationals.
The Mueller report conclusively shows Trump’s obstruction of justice in attempting to stop an investigation into 2016 election issues.
These should be enough to warrant impeachment. The Constitution and we as a nation do not believe a president should be above the law. If we let Trump get away with these illegal things then we are setting ourselves up for becoming a totalitarian country with one all-powerful dictator like Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin where what the ruler says is the law.
Beyond these legal and constitutional matters are the instances of bad policy in such matters as the abandonment of the Kurds in Syria, the loosening of environmental regulations/protections in this era of climate change and the inhumanity of our treatment of immigrants.
James Burpee, Plymouth
ST. PAUL TRASH COLLECTION
I can’t support the system’s politics
I am voting “no” on the St. Paul trash referendum. I am not opposed to organized trash collection. I think it has many benefits when executed correctly.
I grew up in Chicago. We had city-run trash collection; it wasn’t outsourced to some company in Texas or Florida. If you had an issue, you called your alderman and they resolved it, typically within 24 hours. The other benefit to city-run trash emerged in winter. When snow was a real issue, Chicago would place plows on the garbage trucks to improve snowplowing efforts.
But my “no” vote is related to something else very important to me and my family: We strive to spend our money on companies that are aligned with our values. We try to purchase clothing made in factories that don’t use slave or child labor. We purchase food from companies that provide their employees fair wages and working conditions. We strive to support anti-racist companies, even if it costs more. I believe we have a moral duty to do our due diligence on what companies we patronize.
Waste Management Inc., our city-mandated trash hauler, doesn’t live by our values. The former nonexecutive chairman of the board was forced to resign after journalists discovered that he funded Secure America Now, which ran anti-Muslim ads during the 2016 election cycle. Waste management, as an industry, has provided tons of money to politicians who don’t share my values or the values of a majority of St. Paul residents.
Whether the “no” vote prevails or not, my hope is that this sends a clear message to council members and the mayor. We deserve to pay a trash rate equal to residents of neighboring communities. We deserve to have services comparable to our neighbors who pay less, i.e., yard waste and organics composting. We deserve to have a trash program that combats serious environmental and climate issues. And most importantly, we deserve to have our city support businesses that are anti-racist and align with the values of St. Paul.
Anthony Molaro, St. Paul
Deaths should spur us to action
Nearly 36,600 people died on U.S. roadways last year (“Traffic fatalities fall; deaths of pedestrians, bicyclists rise,” Oct. 23).
Every day, 100 men, women and children die in car crashes in the U.S.; globally, the number is about 3,300 per day. Every day worldwide and every month in the U.S. as many people are killed by cars as died in the horrific and life-altering terrorist attacks on 9/11. If any other event or form of transportation killed 3,200 or even 100 men, women and children in a single day, it would be front-page news worldwide. For car crashes, most receive a brief mention on the inside pages of the local paper.
Things we can do immediately: honoring traffic laws; wearing light-colored, reflective clothing; wearing helmets; adding lights to bicycles; behaving courteously, considerately and cooperatively.
Things that will have to wait until next year: lowering speed limits in urban areas; enforcing traffic laws with cameras, having zero tolerance.
Things that will take a little longer: improving transit, developing self-driving cars.
Ronald Mead, Minneapolis
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