That is the question
"Why," I ask? When I joined the military in 1966 at age 17, I was told by my NCO to never ask "why." Why, I asked. He said I just told you to never ask why. Just do it. Oh, and also never volunteer for anything, anything. I asked why. This began to infuriate him no end.
Now at the ripe old age of 74, I am still asking why. This time I am asking why American citizens are so conflicted about giving up so easily the most precious right each American citizen is given, the right to vote. Imagine if we did not have the right to vote and all decisions were made for us by politicians and bureaucrats. Just think how this great country would be after we have lost forever the right to vote. When our citizens are so careless with this most important "right" handed down to us for merely being American citizens. That's all! When we don't care enough to demand the correct accounting of the vote and demand our leaders conduct the process in a transparent, fair, and honest manner. When the media opine rather than report unbiased news, when politicians regularly today call their opponent a "liar" and worse, as if this type of speech is now the new normal. When cities are allowed to be burned and citizens beaten in broad daylight in many of our major cities, when questionable police tactics are employed against our citizens, it makes me ask why.
Do you ever ask why? Better start soon.
Respect and gratitude
Let me get this straight: After all the voting, after all the counting, after all the state certifications, after all the vicious and violent threats to both "R" and "D" state and county election officials, after the electoral college's certification, even after Mitch McConnell's reluctant admission that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the "newly and duly" elected president and vice president of the United States, and after over 22,000-plus lies from the guy who actually did lose the election; after all that, some still believe the 22,000-plus-lies guy. Not only that, but he continues to play the victim and beg for money from his "base" for his fruitless lawsuits, otherwise known as a "con-job" or "scam." Sending money to a presidential "paskudnyak" is "meshugge." Oy vey!
In the meantime, most of us can congratulate the incoming president and vice president-elect and the refreshingly qualified team they are assembling to serve in their administration, and the courageous election officials and volunteers who--during a pandemic--risked so much to enable and protect our nation's crown jewel, the vote. We can offer a shout-out, too, to New York Attorney General Letitia James for the justice that is to come.
But our deepest respect and gratitude should be reserved for the over 81 million Americans who voted to preserve our nation's character, our human compassion, our shared values, our democracy, our standing among nations and, most of all, the planet we all call home.
Peace, love, joy, good health, prosperity and normalcy to all.
We always have hope
I'm hopeful the vaccine availability increases soon. Hopeful our economy and society can stabilize to benefit all in need. Hopeful we've seen enough, suffered enough, lost enough and learned enough to work together for stable, sane, sensible politics and social justice while keeping the message of our pledge of allegiance as a guide.
Sometimes hope is the best place to start.
Thankful for paper
I'm just wanting to express my appreciation to everyone on staff who contributes to my receiving the news every morning. I depend on it and devote 30-40 minutes each morning to reading your daily contributions. Great job, and keep up the good work. By the way, I've traveled around the country and have not found any paper that can match your news product.
A guaranteed victory
Our election process should be so simple and straightforward that no disgruntled parties could challenge its results. As an example of such a process, I'll describe how it worked in the communist dictatorship where I grew up.
We had only one major party. Voting was mandatory. Each district had only one polling place. As voters entered the polling place, they were given a ballot that had already been filled out. All you needed to do was sign it. If you were in the hospital or on your deathbed on Election Day, a smiling comrade would bring you a ballot to sign. After the election, the president declared it a great success because 100 percent had participated and 99 percent had voted for the Communist Party. We applauded and sang the national anthem.
A cynical observer might argue that elections under a one-party regime yield the same result as no elections whatsoever. But without elections how could the president ever be certain of the people's admiration and loyalty, both of which were very important to him? What about democracy? Guaranteed by our election process. Freedom of speech? People knew what to say so as not to end up in jail. Freedom of the press? What for? Those pesky journalists just ask embarrassing questions that could upset our trust in the system. Constitution? A flexible document to be referred to only when convenient. Human rights? Reserved for the president and his faithful. Presidential term limits? Easily extended by a compliant legislature.
The president was also the head of the Communist Party and had unlimited powers. He could administer punishments or pardons at will. Those who were willing to sing his song might be richly rewarded, but a slip of the tongue might cause a fall from grace or off the first convenient cliff.
I believe Donald Trump would be pleased with such an election system. It would mean a guaranteed victory every time. No worries about getting a reputation as a sore loser, and Americans would be spared the ridiculous circus he put us through by attempting to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.
Just simply fade away
A phrase heard often: "... or risk President Trump's fury." This time it was related to Vice President Pence, but it has been used so often, in relation to so many people, that it is difficult to keep count. I do not recall any other presidency in which these words played such a prominent role. Perhaps after Jan. 20, it will simply fade away.
Do we dare to hope that President Trump will do the same?
MARY N. WATERS