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Opinion | Threats of Violence in Today’s Political Discourse

To the Editor:

Re “Menace Grows Commonplace Among G.O.P.” (front page, Nov. 13):

It is appalling what our country has become. There have always been dissension and clashes between the two political parties, but there has rarely been anything as utterly ugly as what is going on today.

That a young man at a rally can ask when can we start killing Democrats and get a round of applause is a travesty. Threats of violence have become the norm in the Republican Party, fueled by the unscrupulous twice-impeached promoter of the Big Lie.

Representative Paul Gosar should be ousted for the video in which he portrays slaying Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene should be ousted as well for promoting vile conspiracy theories and listing as traitors the 13 Republicans who voted to pass the infrastructure bill.

Because of her they are getting death threats. Their biggest crime was daring to vote for a bill that would benefit all Americans, instead of toeing the party line. The Republicans who stand by and do nothing and say nothing are equally guilty in their silence.

There is a war on our democracy. Violence is taking over our government. Our elected officials should do the job they were elected to do, uphold the Constitution and govern for the good of the people.

Milena Cornick
New York

To the Editor:

So Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona tweeted an anime video altered to show him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at President Biden. When questioned, Mr. Gosar’s office offered this response: “It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life.” Well, duh!

While we all understand that this is not “real life,” we also understand that this type of political violence porn contributes to the actions of unhinged people that we saw in the Jan. 6 assault on Congress. Revving up the nutballs who are just waiting to create more havoc in our public life should not be the task of elected officials, if they are acting like adults. Paul Gosar should be ashamed of himself.

Judith Koll Healey

To the Editor:

Your report gives grudging acknowledgment that “elements of the left have contributed to the confrontational tenor of the country’s current politics,” but then proceeds to document only statements by Republicans.

I am thinking of a statement by a Democratic representative, Maxine Waters, during the trial of Derek Chauvin over George Floyd’s death: “We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.” This pales in comparison with recent comments by a Black Lives Matter leader, Hawk Newsome, about possible changes in policing: “There will be riots, there will be fire and there will be bloodshed.”

It isn’t only talk. The looting and fires in New York City in June 2020 were not by Republicans. And let’s not forget Kenosha, Portland and Minneapolis.

Opinion Debate
Will the Democrats face a midterm wipeout?

Alexander Goldstein

To the Editor:

The biggest threat to our democracy is not an outside threat, but politicians and their followers who are willing to threaten their opponents over the results of free and fair elections.

If Republican leaders felt that this violence was unwarranted and harmful to their political brand, they would immediately denounce these assaults against democracy. Why are so many so complacent about attacks that would be considered existential if they came from foreign actors?

Edwin Andrews
Malden, Mass.

  Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are facing criticism from Democrats for not toeing the party line. As a bisexual Democrat, I find it horrifying to watch the criticism of Ms. Sinema devolve into sly biphobic attacks that are increasing in frequency and ferocity.

Recent articles about Senator Sinema, including in The New York Times, focus on her person, not her politics. Democrats are attacking her because she is not voting the way they want her to vote, and the attacks are using her bisexuality as a weapon against her.

One article, for example, refers to Ms. Sinema’s style choices viewed as “a type of pinkwashing: leveraging positive associations with gay culture and identity to distract from one’s negative actions.”

Meanwhile, without federal anti-discrimination legislation, bisexuals face discrimination across the United States. One of the places making strides to eliminate L.G.B.T. discrimination is Arizona, Ms. Sinema’s state.

Whether or not one agrees with all of Ms. Sinema’s policy positions, and I often don’t, as an American who cherishes democracy I believe that it is her right (and, as an elected official, her duty) to determine her own political positions, free from attacks on her identity.

(Rev.) Marian Edmonds-Allen
New York
The writer is the executive director of Parity, a nonprofit that works on faith and L.G.B.T. issues.

To the Editor:

Re “How Maps Reshape American Politics” (charts, Nov. 12):

Take all redistricting out of the hands of people who serve to gain unfairly from it.

Create an algorithm that divides each state into as many rectangular districts as the state is allowed, and have each district’s boundaries moved enough to create relatively equal population numbers that ignore any voter characteristics such as political party, race, etc.

Ted Kallman
Ocracoke, N.C.

To the Editor:

Re “Immigration Laws’ Racist Legacy,” by Reece Jones (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 1):

Our nation’s guilty conscience for laws and actions of the past should not be the basis of badly needed immigration reform. After all, the stain of the past was often directed at specific races.

Our lawmakers must decide how many people can immigrate to our country each year. Open borders are disruptive, expensive and harmful to Americans who need assistance. Money used for undocumented immigrants is money that could be used to subsidize poor Americans, including the aid being proposed in Congress today.

Many Americans who are not xenophobic want the crisis on our southern border to end, not because they hate one group of people or another, but because millions of people are entering the country illegally.

The essay suggests that the United States accept the unprecedented illegal immigration on our southern border because of actions that took place long before most of us were born.

Salvatore J. Bommarito
New York

To the Editor:

A Faltering Shadow War Against Somali Militants” (front page, Oct. 25) left me apprehensive that the United States is heading for another Afghanistan-like disaster in Somalia.

The article describes a corrupt, ineffective and highly unpopular central government, propped up by an African peacekeeping force and American-trained soldiers, fighting against Al Shabab, a strong local guerrilla group that has built up a parallel state that collects taxes and has a functioning judicial system.

But what about the more popular regional governments resisting central control from Mogadishu and, at least in most of the country north of the capital, free from Al Shabab as well as reasonably uncorrupt? In the Somaliland Republic, which broke away from the south as a self-declared country, there have been democratic elections and peaceful transitions between administrations, and it, too, has contained Al Shabab.

If so many Somalis reject the central government, why should the United States support it? Continuing to back what your article calls the “fractious political elite” in Mogadishu is a prescription for a mini-Afghanistan on the Horn of Africa.

Martin R. Ganzglass
The writer served in the Peace Corps in Somalia as legal adviser to the Somali National Police Force and adviser to the U.S. ambassador to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.

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