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Letters to the Editor: Why the left should read pro-Trump views

Supporters of President Trump attend a rally in Washington on Nov. 14.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, I was horrified and baffled. But it didn’t take me long to realize I had perfectly “normal” friends and relatives who voted for him. (“About that page of pro-Trump letters...” Opinion, Nov. 21)

One was a very nice woman, a college graduate who seemed to be a model friend and citizen. After much time wondering “how could she?” one friend had the nerve to ask her why she voted for Trump. She listed the policies that Trump espoused and concluded with, “But above all, I voted for life.”

Determined to understand why half the country voted for this awful man, I read as much as I could and forced myself to watch Fox News. I concluded that we have many unhappy citizens in this country who fear losing their treasured way of life.

Many were acutely aware of being looked upon as “deplorables” and strongly resented it. Others were just plain angry and saw in Trump a man who would champion their cause.

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We must put the health of our country above politics. So, I agree with your decision to publish the full page of Trump letters. Thank you.

Linda Mele Johnson, Long Beach

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To the editor: Reading the Trump letters, the comments from letters editor Paul Thornton and editorial page editor Sewell Chan, and the highly critical letters in response, has provided a welcome relief during this nerve-wracking election.

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On Nov. 14, I forwarded the Trump letters to hundreds of friends and family members with the following message:

“How could 72 million Americans vote for Trump? We keep asking ourselves that question. Today, the L.A. Times published 11 letters all from pro-Trump voters. It is sober and necessary reading we need to think about as we approach future elections....

“It doesn’t mean we surrender to the views expressed here. It means we need to do a better job creating and communicating an inclusive, kinder, compassionate vision of a diverse, multiracial, multigenerational America which ensures that every person will thrive, free of racial and economic barriers, bigotry, hate and discrimination.”

The publication of the letters for and against Trump, along with your editorial comments framing them, was a public service in the highest spirit of the 1st Amendment. The bright disinfectant of public exposure is the only way we can understand what others are thinking so we can equip ourselves to respond.

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Stephen F. Rohde, Los Angeles

The writer is a lawyer and constitutional scholar.

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To the editor: I remain mystified as to why The Times and other major newspapers are not calling Trumpism out for what it is — an explicit race war.

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I have been a voter in this country since 1960. This is not about Republicans versus Democrats anymore; this is a coup.

Witness what was done, on purpose, to our Postal Service; witness what is being done now to thwart the electoral process; and witness Trump’s racist anti-immigrant rhetoric that likely spawned the mass shooting in El Paso in August 2019.

I would not publish a single Trumpist letter as long as Trump and his loyalists make war on our democracy.

David Stahl, Sequim, Wash.

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To the editor: Every morning the first thing I read are The Times’ letters to the editor. Therefore, I was fascinated by the page entirely devoted to pro-Trump letters.

Those letters reflected what seems to be the ethos of this time: denial and alternate reality. That these people even read the L.A. Times is itself interesting because the news articles, op-ed pieces and editorials provide no compelling information or viewpoints that sway them.

I thought Chan’s introduction was so candid and sensitive, analyzing and defining the points of view of the critical letters, and then gently rebutting them. I thought the letters responding to the pro-Trump page represented an interesting gamut, ranging from scholarly concern that any publication of Trumpist positions gives them legitimacy, to other people’s gratitude for the opportunity to read how strangers think and feel.

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I agree with Chan that we must be open to dialogue, so I join the grateful readers.

Margo Kasdan, Seal Beach

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To the editor: I appreciate Chan’s note before the responses to the full page of pro-Trump letters. While I vehemently condemn everything that Trump represents, I understood the reasoning behind running these letters.

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There are moments where some issues become less “blue” and more tones of gray. For instance, I voted against Propositions 15 and 16.

However, I have loudly denounced the current resident of the White House throughout his term. He represents a real threat to so many ideals and now the democratic process itself, that it is hard to not condemn all his supporters too.

Like Chan I try hard to have empathy, and I am probably seeing things through a “deep blue” lens, but honestly my patience has worn thin.

There will be a new president, and never has there been a need to safeguard the democratic experiment more.

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Dean Katz, Hollywood


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