Bystanders detriment to democracy

To the editor:

Jeff Flake’s speech on the Senate floor reminds us that, in a democracy, there can be no bystanders. He is stepping down rather than ignoring the distress that our country is feeling because of Trump’s careless leadership.

Trump’s latest statement suggested a wish for the judicial system to be hijacked so as to conduct political prosecutions. Speaking to the disruptions in his campaign rallies, Trump said “in the good old days” we could take matters into our own hands.

A friend, Tom, recalls what life was like, when he lived in a country like that. Tom put a chair on his father’s desk to reach the forbidden book. That was the day childhood came to an end for our German friend. Pictures of bulldozers scraping up dozens of bodies, medical experiments on hapless prisoners. Tom asked, “Daddy, did you know about this?” His father replied, “No, son. I was unaware.” Tom’s playmates were asked. No one knew. Only later in the higher level classes did the instructors admit, “We all knew.”

Seventy years later, people travel and live in Germany to enjoy its freedoms and democracy. America’s boys sacrificed to bring about democracy and to soundly discredit Tom’s grandfathers and fathers. The country that today has stopped denying and bends over backward to reflect our best mottos wonders how we could elect someone with Trump’s character. How could we?

Germany and Jeff Flake are tapping us on the shoulder. Be careful; be very careful. The children and grandchildren will want you to explain what happened on your watch. Mom, Dad, did you know?

Even if Trump leaves soon, we will live with this aftermath for a long time. Moving forward will challenge us.

Mary Podzilni,

Wescott