Opinion

A Year After Jan. 6: ‘Democracy Is at Risk’

To the Editor:

Re “Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now” (editorial, Jan. 2):

We are very close to losing our Republic. I know we are tired after the last few years, but we have had a year to lick our wounds and we must rise up and push back on the Big Lie and hold all of the people who propagated this lie accountable. Period.

We are past the “when they go low, we go high” point. The majority of us know that Donald Trump attempted a coup. Where is the Democratic Party with good countermessaging? We need to play the Republicans’ game — harsh, quick and now.

We need to brand ourselves the Patriot Party and take away that claim from them. We need to point out through advertisements, billboards, etc., that the acts of Mr. Trump and the Republicans who supported him were seditious. We need to bring all of our advocacy groups together, put aside our causes for now and unite to save our country.

A plea for my fellow patriots to write to their representatives, push back on misinformation, use billboards and advertisements, and reach out to notable people and news sources to roar.

Susan M. McDonnell
Fort Pierce, Fla.

To the Editor:

Although The Times may be ringing in the new year with an alarm bell warning of the ongoing threat that the “stop the steal” movement poses to our democracy, I fear that President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland intend to lower the decibels.

Regardless of how important the congressional investigation may be, Donald Trump and his supporters have exploited the weaknesses in Congress’s investigative process and powers. A congressional report may preserve facts for posterity but will change nothing. Only a criminal grand jury investigation can ferret out the truth and demand accountability by issuing criminal indictments.

I believe that the president and his attorney general are concerned about the inevitable accusations of political prosecution, the cycle of recriminations such proceedings might ignite, and energizing a Trump movement fueled by grievance and reveling in victimhood. Maybe they presume the powers of normality will prevail to fend off future assaults on our electoral process, just as they had in 2020.

Which strategy is the best is currently a matter of debate. What is certain is that in short order we will learn whether Ben Franklin was right to worry about whether we can keep our Republic.

Asher Fried
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

To the Editor:

“Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now” evinces the paternalistic mentality that is likely to result in the Democrats facing a wipeout in the November 2022 elections. The evident panic in the editorial reflects the realization that Republicans are poised to retake the House this year. Why are Democrats polling so poorly? Perhaps it is because a dogmatic ideology that sees political opposition as a threat to be suppressed, surveilled, hounded or outlawed is itself a direct threat to our democracy.

Political pluralism is a central tenet of our democracy and must be protected from both the reckless zeal of the mob and the self-righteous zeal of the elites. Ultimately, the American people are the caretakers of our democracy, having never failed to fulfill that obligation.

Barry Ziman
Alexandria, Va.

To the Editor:

I agree completely with your editorial. Unfortunately, our citizens are in denial. What you describe is terrifying, but denial is even more terrifying. Democracy is at risk, and the filibuster and the courts are collaborating against the will of the people. Without taking drastic measures, the majority will be ruled by the minority for years to come, by a party that denies truth to retain power.

The House committee investigating Jan. 6 might be our last hope to save democracy. We need the public to hear the truth.

Linda Gravell
Waterbury Center, Vt.

To the Editor:

You correctly observe that Democrats and the American public in general are “underestimating the threat facing the country.” Our democratic government remains in peril, as swing states enact laws that permit postelection nullification.

Prosecutors and judges who face the insurrectionists in court are also showing a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of Jan. 6 and its ongoing threat to our democracy.

Why are convicted rioters (even those who physically assaulted police officers defending the Capitol) getting off with no prison sentences or only three to five years? Why are so many of the Capitol attackers being charged with misdemeanors (such as trespassing or destruction of federal property) rather than with felonies up to and including insurrection and sedition?

L. Michael Hager
Eastham, Mass.
The writer is co-founder and former director general of the International Development Law Organization in Rome.

To the Editor:

You cite President Benjamin Harrison’s belief that the Constitution guarantees to all Americans a republican form of government. He added that “the essential features of such a government are the right of the people to choose their own officers” and to have their votes counted equally in making that choice.

It is slightly ironic, however, that Harrison was elected president (in 1888) despite losing the popular vote.

Donald Isler
Irvington, N.Y.

To the Editor:

On the basis of information gathered so far by the congressional Jan. 6 committee, one can stipulate that not only did President Donald Trump, while in office, cry “Fire!” when there was no fire (i.e., the Big Lie about a stolen election), but he also did not cry “Fire!” when one was raging — for 187 minutes of presidential dereliction of duty on Jan. 6.

Manfred Weidhorn
Fair Lawn, N.J.

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