Thursday, January 21, 2021
Science

Capitol offences live up to Trumpian playbook

Capitol offences live up to Trumpian playbook
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Trump and his lawless supporters failed to recognise the truth of the proverb ‘‘righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people’’ (Proverbs 14:34). Nan Howard, Camden

Monarchists conveniently ignoring presidential facts

Predictably, the monarchists among us are dragging out yet again the tired, old, discredited line that an Australian republic would lead to a Trump-type president (Letters, January 9-10).
They choose to ignore still the fundamental differences between the two constitutions, in the executive, legislative and legal structures of the two countries. Come the Australian republic, the politically uninterested will barely notice that anything has changed. Penny Ransby Smith, Lane Cove

I wonder who your correspondent proposes should be head of state and how he/she would be elected. I agree with you about the governor-general, but I think we could still use the title prime minister, not president. Overall, our system of government must not change; just look at the US to see what can happen. Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill

Your correspondent is correct to remind us of the difference between the US Republican Party and Australia becoming a republic. But we need to go further back in the debate than ‘‘how this apolitical president is chosen’’. That debate should start with: ‘‘What powers, responsibilities and duties will be ascribed to our head of state?’’ Do we want a US-style administration with wide-ranging powers, which would leave us with four levels of government? Or should the head of state’s sole ‘‘power’’ be to require a stalled, unworkable government to go back to the people for an election, and have duties and responsibilities slightly wider than our present G-G (open Olympic Games, for example)? There are many models in between, but I see the latter as having the only chance of success. Alan Cook, Merewether

I very much would like Australia to become a republic, but since we have a mechanism to have a prime minister, I see no reason we need a president. Ian Catt, Surry Hills

I offer Angela Merkel, who has governed Germany with a steady hand for more than a decade in a parliamentary system under an elected, nominal president. Han Yang, North Turramurra

Given what we know of our politicians, would we trust them to devise and implement a republic here in Australia? I offer a solution that retains a constitutional monarchy and gives us an Australian head of state. Our own princess of Tasmania, Mary Donaldson, Crown Princess of Denmark who, one day, will become the Queen of Denmark. We could just rearrange that flag in the corner and change a few references in our constitution. Ronald Elliott, Sandringham (Vic)

Taken in by a wannabe dictator

Tom Switzer (‘‘Party must wash off Trump stain’’, January 9-10) wants it understood that he was not taken in by Donald Trump, whom he always knew lacked the capacity and moral character for the top job. Switzer won’t be the last conservative commentator to distance himself, albeit too late, from the would-be dictator. Tony Moore, Queens Park

Tom Switzer correctly attributes Trump’s populist rise, in part, to ‘‘widening inequality [and] wage stagnation’’, while simultaneously lauding the ‘‘booming pre-pandemic economy’’ as a legacy of which Trump could boast. As with all neoliberal economic outcomes, this boom was nothing more than a sharemarket illusion fuelled by the further concentration of national wealth in the hands of the already super-rich. A process that further widened inequality and entrenched wage stagnation.
And Switzer can’t help revealing his true colours with a gratuitous swipe at the incoming Democrat administration, which is ‘‘likely to make huge errors, especially economically’’. Freddy Sharpe, Gordon

I have read Switzer’s support of Trump and his Republican Party for more than four years and now I find it encouraging, if not slightly hypocritical, that he’s finally seen the light. David Boyd, Bondi Beach

Tom Switzer analyses the US Republican party post-Trump and suggests means of self-repair.
Unfortunately, he spoils the piece at the end with this: ‘‘Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democratic Congress are likely to make huge errors, especially economically, in their governance’’. What errors, how huge and how likely are not explained. By writing this, Switzer is acting like Trump himself, who insists he won the election, but with no evidence. Richard Edmonds, Balcolyn

Switzer says Trump can boast of a ‘‘booming pre-pandemic economy’’ and yet simultaneously says there is a ‘‘widespread sense that the US is in serious decline’’. Why? It’s due to ‘‘the widening inequality’’ Switzer identifies. Trump pretended to care for the ‘‘forgotten’’ Americans, but not a single policy was designed to reduce income inequality. He only exacerbated it with tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy. Now that Switzer has apparently joined the dots on US decline, will he now become a warrior for income redistribution? Brendan Jones, Annandale

One can only hope that Biden and Harris ‘‘make huge errors’’ economically, such as raising the minimum wage from $US7.25 an hour to something more substantial. The Trump tax cuts, enacted in 2017, are due to expire in 2024 for individuals but not for corporations – what a surprise. This has meant that the extra spending power individual Americans have gained has been financed by the federal government, further increasing government indebtedness. If this is considered sound economic management, Biden and Harris will find managing the economy a breeze. Rodney Crute, Hunters Hill

Let the truth out

The revelations in ‘‘Fortunes built on back of slavery’’ (January 9-10) about the appalling treatment of First Australians is just the tip of the iceberg. It reinforces the need for truth telling as sought by the Uluru Statement. We need a truth and reconciliation commission to bring it all into the light. Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

Mature response

The program for the COVID-19 vaccination was barely announced and older ‘‘virtue signallers’’ were saying those younger should take precedence (Letters, January 9-10). As being vaccinated is not mandatory – but obviously recommended – they can delay getting the jab. Leave the rest of us oldies to agree that the federal health authorities gave more than a moment’s thought to the sequence in which the population should be vaccinated and that it reflects their scientific knowledge and the aim of keeping older persons, the group overseas experience has shown suffer deeper effects from COVID-19, out of hospital. Maurice Critchley, Kenthurst

I admire the benevolence of mature letter writers suggesting younger people have the COVID-19 vaccination first. It is my belief that the reason ‘‘we’’ elders will be given priority is that we are in a high-risk group. If we catch the virus, we would place a much heavier load on an already stretched health service. Janet Reynolds, Greenleigh

Punitive addiction

Since Portugal decriminalised drugs for personal use in 2001, drug use and HIV rates have gone down and health has gone up. Gabrielle Carey (‘‘We’re all addicts now: a call for compassion’’, January 9-10) points out lots of diseases are self-inflicted, but if a diabetic refuses to get their blood glucose level down, we don’t arrest them and put them in jail. Time to stop slavishly following the US and its war on drugs. Most health professionals agree that addiction is a medical matter and a curable disease. We need more detox centres for both drugs and alcohol and fewer jails. Jenny Forster, Manly

Four horsemen

Given the events in Washington last Thursday, a horse called Sedition just had to be the best omen bet for punters in ages. It duly won at Canterbury on Friday night at juicy odds. Then on Saturday, a horse called Ulysses, perhaps named after one of the books nominated by Herald letter writers as one of the most boring books ever, ran at Randwick, and also won. Who needs a form guide? George Zivkovic, Northmead

Better read, I said, but Austen’s for everyone

No one in their right mind tries to read Ulysses. Instead, listen to Jim Norton read it. He (with a little help from Marcella Riordan) reads it on 22 CDs. He puts in all the missing punctuation and brings to sparkling life all the voices. Maurice Dunlevy, Scullin (ACT)

Your correspondent could read Rudyard Kipling’s short story The Janeites, about World War I soldiers for whom the works of Jane Austen were respite from war. If her novels are ‘‘like wading through treacle’’, maybe try the laugh-out-loud short stories of Austen’s teenage writings. It is opinions like this letter that put boys and young men off reading Austen’s novels, much to their loss – Jane is for everyone. Gillian Diekman, Kellyville

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was of great assistance in my fight against insomnia in year 12. Regrettably, what was not on the HSC English book list was the wonderful Catch-22. Andy Crook, Springwood

A lot of the literature mentioned was required reading for Leaving Certificate English in 1964. Fortunately, Classic Comics covered most of the titles. Jim Rogers, Byron Bay

  • To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

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