Wayward president leads US away from democracy

Wayward president leads US away from democracy

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Credit:Illustration: John Shakespeare

With riots in Washington portraying a sad day for democracy (‘‘‘Insurrection’: Biden calls storming of the Capitol ‘an assault on liberty’’’, smh,com,au, January 7) we should be grateful for the manner in which our election processes work. Once our election has been confirmed, we have a process which allows for a smooth transition of government. The system in the US is clearly inadequate where the President refuses to concede and the President-elect occupies the same space. Michael Blissenden, Dural

To the President who stood in front of a church holding up the Bible, these words from Hosea: ‘‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.’’ Joan Brown, Orange

When history is written, it will show how one man, Donald Trump, plundered the most powerful nation in the world into a laughing stock. For those in a hurry to make Australia a republic, think very carefully about the constitution, because the US model is not it. D’Arcy Hardy, North Turramurra

The exceptionalism that US citizens learn from birth must now be called into question. With the breaches of security and march on the Capitol, democracy is at risk and this once great country has lost its way. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer


It is time for Scott Morrison to stop hiding behind diplomatic nicety towards the President of our ANZUS ally. He needs to stand up and call out Trump as a terrorist intent on destroying a liberal democracy. He needs to publicly dissociate our country from the madness in America. Peter Hull, Hat Head

What further outrage will Trump have to commit before he can be charged with treason? After the storming of the Capitol building by his armed thugs, highly placed Republicans like Pence and McConnell, who have been complicit in Trump’s rampaging reign, must surely look in horror on what they have helped perpetrate on the wasteland Trump has left in his wake. Ron Sinclair, Bathurst

How good is the Republican Party in America? Their chickens have come home to roost after four years of the great grifter dividing its base and letting the lowest common denominator take control.
I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and ’70s and watched the mob keep a country divided and violent. The elected GOP members showed by their silence and self-serving inability to control Trump that they have no moral backbone and represent self-interest over serving the electorate. Dermot Perry, Mount Keira

Scott Morrison could make a bold statement in support of democracy in the United States on behalf of all Australians by publicly returning the Legion of Merit recently awarded to him by Donald Trump. Trump’s failure to concede defeat and the continual spreading of lies and misinformation about the conduct and outcome of the election has gravely undermined the democratic process in America and directly fuelled the violent storming of Congress by his supporters. What you walk by is what you accept. Richard Horsburgh, Ashfield

Cricket plays a dangerous game by its own rules

The NSW Health Minister declines to cancel the cricket Test because ‘‘you have to think about people’s mental health’’ (‘‘Masks a must for crowds at the cricket’’, January 7). Apparently there are addicts who will spiral into dangerous withdrawal if they are unable to go to this cricket game. It is heartbreaking to learn of this addiction, which is so serious that it takes precedence over the health of the whole community in the middle of a pandemic. To our shame, we were all just assuming that allowing the cricket to go ahead with crowds was merely the result of bullying by the SCG Trust. Paul Hardage, Leura

Masks in public, QR codes and suburb lockdowns? Um, okay. Crowds at the SCG? Um, No. Michael Keene, Stanwell Park

Does this mean that mental health professionals can now prescribe a day at the cricket for people who present to them with a variety of symptoms such as depression? If really sick, maybe a patient should get five days to knock over the condition completely. Great for cricket tragics – one could claim the price of a ticket as a legitimate medical expense. The danger is of course is if Australia loses by an innings, the effects could be disastrous. John Nichol, Baulkham Hills

With the introduction of the new, highly transmissible, COVID-19 strain currently representing the greatest threat to the situation in Australia (‘‘Concern as UK cases jet into Sydney", January 7), it is time that testing of those travelling home from England is instituted prior to travel. Now there are numbers of 1 in 50 in England and 1 in 30 in London having been infected with COVID-19, controls are required to stop plane travel becoming a spreading event. China, for example, requires returning citizens to show printed proof of a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours prior to departure and has done so for some time. Louise Dolan, Birchgrove

Please stop being rude to front-line staff when they inform you that you have to have a mask on when you enter the store. They are just doing their job. It is not they who make policy. To the two customers I saw this week who so rudely harassed and intimidated the workers at IKEA, I shudder to think what you are teaching, or will teach, your own children or children in your extended families, encouraging them defy authority and common sense. Karma will catch up with you some day. Ron James, Hornsby

There is strength in institutions

Pru Goward’s opinion piece is timely and on the money (‘‘In viral times, compliance is a strength’’, January 7). Public trust and confidence in politicians are at an all time low and not without reason.
Governments have a reputation for being self-serving, manipulative and dishonest. People are compliant and socially responsible by nature, when respected and properly informed. As individuals we have little influence, so are heavily reliant onthe media to be our voice to government. Responsible media has helped keep governments honest and accountable. Investigative journalists continue to expose corruption and unethical behaviour at the highest level, often at great personal cost. Politicians fiercely resist being held to account and brazenly pressure the media to back off. The Morrison government’s attacks on the ABC and individualjournalists are clear evidence of this.
Graham Lum, North Rocks

Blowing the whistle

One of your correspondents (Letters, January 7) says Julian Assange dumped material on the internet without critical analysis. In fact he didn’t. He put it on the internet in encrypted form
so that mainstream media outlets partnered with WikiLeaks could access it and use the resources and professional journalists that WikiLeaks didn’t have, to redact what needed to be redacted before they published it. Someone else leaked the decryption key. Assange even warned the US authorities that that was going to happen so they could protect anyone who needed to be. Another correspondent says the [British] court found Assange guilty of the charges levelled at him. In fact that court case wasn’t about whether he was guilty or innocent of the charges. It was to decide whether the conditions in the extradition treaty with the US had been met so a court there could decide whether he was guilty or innocent. It decided they had, but that his (claimed) fragile psychological condition precluded extradition. Gordon Drennan, Burton (SA)

While I support the exposure of war crimes, I don’t support the dumping of classified documents without thought or consideration of consequences. Assange supporters overlook his role in corrupting the 2016 US election. Without Assange leaking Hillary Clinton’s innocuous emails, she would have won. I find it difficult to forgive Assange the lies and chaos that have ensued. Anne Matheson, Gordon

Family matters

Christmas Island apparently houses up to 200 criminals awaiting deportation, who rioted and set fire to part of the complex (‘‘Facility on fire, detainees riot over isolation’’, January 7). The unfortunate Sri Lankan family locked up there would have had a ringside seat to the violence – no way to treat Australian born children. The family should be released immediately and returned to the Biloela community. Stephanie Edwards, Roseville

The four human beings detained on Christmas Island are not simply the ‘‘Biloela family’’: they are human beings who happened to be born elsewhere and chose to seek a better life in Australia.
While the Morrison government chooses to make them anonymous and thereby deprive them of a face, we need to start talking about two young children, Kopika and Tharunicaa, and their parents, Nades and Priya, as human beings who will one day make a contribution to the community called Australia. While my isolation/lockdown on the north northern beaches is not what I planned for this holiday season, it is far better than the 1000 days-plus spent by this family in isolation and detention at more correctly titled Phosphate Hill Alternative Place of Detention. The cost of their detention is now more than $4.5 million, whereas when living in Biloela they were working and contributing to their community at no cost. This situation does not make any financial sense, it is a blight on our integrity as a nation and is manifestly unfair. David Hawkins, Newport Beach

State of redemption

It is ironic that the US state of Georgia, with such an infamous history of brutality and injustice, now offers a ray of hope for better and an example of redemption (‘‘Full control within Democrats’ grasp’’, January 7). For the first 30 years of the 20th century Georgia led the US in extrajudicial killings: predominantly mob lynchings of blacks by whites. Now it seems Georgia – Republican for two decades – has withstood the Trump onslaught, held the thrice verified election result, delivered the senate to Democrats and elected its first black senator. As Martin Luther King jr once said, the arc of the moral universe is long but bends towards justice. Peter Spencer, Glebe

Don’t delay doctor visit

I read the very sad story of Tanya Roberts dying from a urinary tract infection (‘‘Tanya Roberts, Bond girl actor, dead at 65’’, smh.com.au, January 6). You might think ‘‘Who dies of aurinary tract infection in thisday and age?’’ Last year my 60-year-old husband had been battling what we thought was the flu for a few days. He became increasingly ill and could only speak in single words. He was taken to the doctor, where he was diagnosed immediately with sepsis and started on strong antibiotics. It was a urinary tract infection. Any further delay may have had a different outcome.
Please, if you feel something is not right get it checked out. We are both nurses and healthy and we didn’t see it coming. Trish Nielsen, Avalon

Crook books you can leave on the shelf

Compared to Finnegans Wake (Letters, January 7), Joyce’s Ulysses is much more accessible. Start reading now, and at three pages per day, by the end of 2021 you will have come to the happy ending.
Evan Bailey, Glebe

I would like to add Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It certainly was bleak and reading it for university was an inducement to resort to a crib. And I passed with a credit in that exam. Barbara Whiddon, Annandale

I cite the tedious Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, but do try his excellent non-fiction. Can we start letters correspondence now on boring classical music? Don MacLeod, Dalmeny

I’m reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Her main character mentions Silas Marner as the most boring book he ever read. I’m glad I never wasted a chapter of my life reading it. Helen Lyons-Riley, Springwood

I recommend that we now turn to the most boring plays we have sat through. I will kick off with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Two and a half hours of people arguing with each other. I don’t know why Tennessee Williams bothered to write it. Ken Bock, Carlingford

The digital view

Online comment from the story that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Almost Australian: the Georgia run-off candidate with roots Down Under
From Rick: ‘‘One of Australia’s greatest contributions to a decent and civilised world. Congratulations to Jon Ossoff.’’

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