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To the editor: The recent impeachment trial should have made clear to everyone in the country that it is no longer possible (if it ever was) to support Donald Trump and also support democracy and the rule of law. Video after video, tweet after tweet showed Trump spreading the Big Lie of election fraud, summoning his disgruntled followers to D.C., whipping them into a frenzy and urging them to march to the Capitol to disrupt the ratification of electoral votes, as mandated by our Constitution.

Even if, by some act of magical thinking, one denies that this was incitement to riot, it is irrefutable that once the violence began Trump made no effort to stop it. When some of his most ardent supporters texted or called him from the besieged Capitol and implored him to call off the mob, he did nothing, even though their lives were in danger. As the crowd was screaming “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump tweeted more inflammatory remarks about his V.P., which one of the rioters read aloud over a bullhorn from inside the Capitol. And when the assault was over, Trump told the mob that they were “great patriots,” that he loved them and that they should proudly “Remember this day forever!”

How much plainer does it have to be? The president praised people who disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, murdered a Capitol police officer, injured over a hundred others, desecrated the Senate, ransacked Congressional offices and threatened to hang the vice president! Republicans all across the nation will have to decide if their party stands for demagoguery and violence, or for the Constitution and democracy. If Republicans (and Independents) elect more people like QAnon wacko Marjorie Taylor Green and Trump apologist Josh Hawley to Congress in 2022 it will further erode our democracy. If Trump or a Trump clone is elected president in 2024, we will lose the republic that so many Americans gave their lives to create and defend.

The choice is that stark and that urgent. You can support Trump, lies, violence and autocracy, or you can be on the side of the Constitution, the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law and democracy. It’s one or the other.

William Dunkel

Windham, Feb. 15

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