Letter to the Times: Trump is not the problem

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Note: The Lawrence Times runs opinion columns and letters to the Times written by community members with varying perspectives on local issues. These pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.

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As President Biden has pointed out, our democracy is under attack. That was exemplified most clearly with the riots of Jan. 6, 2021, which were part of Trump’s plan to overthrow the newly, and fairly elected government. It has continued to be under siege at the national level and in a number of states by efforts to take away women’s rights, to make it harder for people to vote, and to put in place secretaries of state and attorneys general who continue to espouse Trump’s big lie that he won the 2020 election.

This is a serious problem that we need to deal with as forcefully as possible. It may seem obvious that the way to deal with it is to remove Trump from the scene. But — and I never imagined I might say this — Trump is not the problem. If Trump, god forbid, should pass away, or be put in prison, there would be another similar Republican who would take his place. You don’t have to look hard to see that Ron DeSantis is a younger version of Trump, Marjorie Taylor Green a female version, and there are any number of other Trump wannabes on the sidelines.

Trump or DeSantis cannot destroy our democracy on their own. The real problem lies with the Republican Party. If the problem were just Trump, the GOP could have taken care of the matter. They have had ample opportunity over the past two years to do so. They chose not to. Instead, they continue to push the big lie, to minimize the seriousness of the Jan. 6 insurrection, to denigrate the hard work of the Jan. 6 Committee, and to condone and rationalize Trump’s errant behavior, such as taking classified documents and refusing to return them. Thus, it is left up to the rest of us — Democrats, Independents and Moderate Republicans — to bring the GOP to its senses. And we must do it now, in the upcoming election.

This is no ordinary election in which we vote based on our judgment about the policies of the different candidates. This election is about the long-term survival of our democracy. 

No doubt there are some Republicans who, if elected, might be trusted to do the right thing to defend our democracy, but it is very hard to tell who they are. For example, many Republicans who were ardent supporters of banning abortion are now avoiding the issue, and may even be singing a different tune at the moment, but we know where they really stand on that issue. The safest thing to do is to give them a sabbatical! Unless you are certain, absolutely certain, that a Republican candidate knows the right thing to do on this existential issue, you should vote for some other candidate. 

And I would suggest that the 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results of 2020 cannot be trusted, nor can those members of Congress who voted to cover up the insurrection. They essentially did not uphold their oath of office.   

— Thomas Weiss (he/him), Lawrence

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