Dangerous to demonize opposing viewpoints

To the editor,

In a recent letter, James Cressey wrote, “Trump has to pardon himself and his family members. The left is evil, hateful, intolerant and vindictive.” If these seem like reasonable or benign statements, please take a moment to consider the implications.

“The left” is a significant chunk of the population. Do you believe that many of your neighbors and many of the people you encounter at the grocery store are evil? How do you treat them? Calling people “evil” (he uses the same word for executed criminals) is a way to dehumanize them and justify ignoring them or worse.

If the president and his family need pardons, either they’ve committed crimes or they’re being framed. Remember that we’re talking about the
most powerful person in the world, who has a major political party pledging loyalty to him. Even after he leaves office, he’ll have plenty of lawyers, connections, and publicity, not to mention judges and Supreme Court justices who owe him their jobs. How would you frame such a person and make it stick? How big would the conspiracy need to be?

Should any president pardon himself? During the Whitewater investigation, should Bill Clinton have pardoned himself and Hillary? I’m guessing the “lock her up” crowd would say no, along with those of us who believe in the rule of law. Richard Nixon was the only previous president who even mentioned the idea of a self-pardon, and even he didn’t seriously consider it.

Cressey went on to claim that when judges toss election fraud cases out of court, it’s because they’re afraid of “Marxists and Antifa” who burn not just buildings but “cities.” He neglected to mention that election officials and their families have received real and frequent threats and harassment. The election officials do their jobs (or further the conspiracy, depending on your point of view) despite these threats. Do you think judges, who are no strangers to death threats, are paralyzed by the fear of unspecified actions by disorganized movements?

The people who threaten election officials and their families have bought into the same narrative that Cressey is promoting. It is dangerous to demonize those with opposing political views, delegitimize the election, spread fear of vague enemies, and normalize self-pardoning. The outgoing president’s inept attempt to change the result of the election amounts to a slow-motion coup d’etat. The coup won’t succeed, but it could easily lead to violence or serious damage to our democracy. If it does, reasonable conservatives who remain silent will be partly to blame.

Jason Wise

Kennebunk

Arundel seeks ideas for old town hall

To the editor,

The town of Arundel has recently relocated its governmental offices to a new location on Limerick Road. This has led to questions as to what to do with the old Arundel Town Hall next to the fire station.

The Arundel Historical Society has recently been asked by town officials for ideas and input as to what to do with the building in the future. After a canvassing of our board of directors, it was felt by the majority that we had enough on our plate with the North Chapel Common Project, which has entailed refurbishing two old farmhouses as well as hopefully building a meetinghouse on our site in the future, along with all of our community activities and events.

However, it is also felt that as part of our mission statement we have taken on stewardship of Arundel’s history and the old town hall is part of that history. So, with these thoughts in mind the town is wondering, once again, what to do with the old building.

Looking back to a York County Coast Star article on Oct. 2, 1968, Arundel was faced with the same situation. As the article stated “We think it would be a shame for Arundel to let this building, which has sheltered its people and government for so many years, be shunned and forgotten in its old age …” It used to be the site of annual town meetings. The article goes on to say, “Perhaps community organizations and businessmen will devote some time and backing to the effort (refurbishing the hall). Maybe some old fashioned working bees like those which once supported the Arundel school could be organized …”

It is with these thoughts in mind that we come to the citizens of Arundel for suggestions and ideas of what to do with the building. While the historical society cannot take on another building to care for, we would be willing to work with a group of people should the town decide to keep the structure. But first the town needs input.

Possible ideas that have been put forth already are a library, site for senior activities and place for small community events. So, if you have suggestions, please email the Arundel Historical Society¬† [email protected]) or the town manager ([email protected]) your ideas.

We thank you all for your good thoughts and ideas ahead of time.

Jake Hawkins

Arundel Historical Society