Why did so many Americans follow Trump's directions to "take back America" by storming Capitol Hill in Washington? After they did what Trump had incited them to do, why did Trump, a day later, make a contradictory speech in which he was "outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem"? (Trump acknowledges Biden victory, Herald, 9/1).
The problem seems to be that many of Trump's followers choose to believe Trump's rhetoric and lies, despite plain evidence to the contrary. To them the speeches and actions of the President of the USA (POTUS) are imbued with Pope-like infallibility. He can say and do no wrong. Those who concede that the man is reprehensible in character, nevertheless suggest that Trump's actions are good for America.
Already a few of his fanatical supporters have "decoded" his second and contradictory speech. They are suggesting that Trump's second speech wasn't made under advice to save his own hide, and didn't sell them out.
Only in America?
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
What about facing the issues
HAVING witnessed on TV the disturbing events at the US capital, I am amazed that some callers to talk-back radio attempt to downplay or excuse it by pointing to similar previous events. The argument seems to be, that if on previous instances those responsible (BLM) got away with it, then on this recent instance the group (who is apparently looked on more kindly) should be treated lightly. Well, bad or criminal behaviour is always bad behaviour. Previous instances are no excuse. Callers are actually using a propaganda technique from the Cold War, developed by the Soviet Union. It is called "whataboutism" If someone levels criticism at your favoured person or group (even if badly behaved) you simply deflect it, pointing to someone else's bad behaviour, at a different time or place.
This sort of logic is childish, and will never get you off any significant breach of the law. Would it spare me a speeding ticket, because thousands of others have broken the same limit and got away with it? I strongly suspect that many of the callers referred to are Trumpists and would be aghast at the idea of blending something from the Soviet communist era into their thinking. "Whataboutism" is precisely that, an old propaganda trick from the Cold War.
Mati Morel, Thornton
A toast to roasting web posts
THAT it has taken four years of his presidency for the social media giants to realise their platforms are no place for rag tag former reality TV "star" is a sad indictment on the social conscience of not just America but the world at large ("President looking for new online megaphone", Herald 11/1). The term "social media" is a misnomer as its presence and use (abuse) has created cross-generational harm. It is highly unsociable and as society we need to handle it better than we do.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
Betrayal at heart of problem
JOHN Arnold (Letters, 8/1), I don't defend Trump's latest shenanigans. They are indefensible, but historical accuracy is important when playing the Nazi card.
Lugenpresse more accurately translates as "lying press", and Hitler didn't "found" it. It dates from the early 19th century. The Nazis took it up to stir up hatred against Jews and communists, and, later, East Germany used it to condemn western countries, including the US. It's not just the political right either who repetitively chant political slogans. Remember the Obama chant "Yes We Can"?
As for rejecting a rational, factual world, I could just as easily say the Greens do this regularly. Rather than "duping" his supporters, I see Trump as betraying them to cling to power. Ironically, one of his slogans was "jobs not mobs". Trump campaigned against what he called the Democrats' radical and extreme positions, but his recent actions have only more certainly ensured their implementation.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
Long road ahead for streets
I HAVE just read 'City News' Special Edition 2021: A guide to your city of Newcastle Serving You Better. What a joke.
In it they say the council spent over $8 million moving to Stewart Avenue but it seems they can not or will not maintain the local roads in the area.
Jubilee Road, Cardiff Road and the worst, Watkins Road, have been in need of maintenance for years but instead they just get patched, making them worse instead of better.
Every time I travel over these roads I wait for something to fall off my car; it's not old, but I'm concerned because of the constant rattling from the patched potholes.
It's about time council spent money on the things that are important to the ratepayers and fix the roads they are responsible to maintain. As Max Moran of Waratah wrote (Letters, 7/1) "Newcastle's weed problem leaves me embarrassed of my city" and "It's a disgrace to see our main roads leading into Newcastle overrun with weeds, it makes you embarrassed to be a Novocastrian".
Get the grasscutters out and cut the grass. I am not suggesting the workers are responsible for overgrown grass on footpaths or parks.
I will consider making an insurance claim against the council if my car suffers damage from having to travel on these poorly maintained roads.
Phill Watts, Elermore Vale
The good old days are not so good
IS Ken Thornton too tough on Carl Stevenson? (Short Takes, 5/1).
Even though Liddell is currently the oldest operating black coal power station in the NEM with outage rates above 20 per cent of the year and availability down to 60 per cent of the year, many people are attached and will be sad to see it close.
It was also sad when silent films were replaced by "talkies" and when black and white was replaced by colour, but in the end we grew to love these "new inventions".
As our air quality improves, the sludge pits are rehabilitated, and our electricity prices decline, even those who are sentimental about Liddell will eventually agree, the good old days were not so good after all.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Characteristics worth collecting
THANK you Julie Robinson (Short Takes, 8/1). You are 100 per cent correct; I wouldn't want to be a Pom or a Yank. I've written several times we are the best country in the world. Whilst I still believe that to be true, it seems to me we are in danger of losing many of those things that have made us great, including: appreciation for what we have; our freedom to speak our mind openly; our willingness to work hard and pay our way; our acceptance of responsibility and above all these our ability to laugh at ourselves. I lost it for a while, but I'm almost back to my argumentative best, or should that be worse?
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
IN reply to Graeme Kime (Letters, 9/1), people should be very hesitant before downloading the Services NSW app. Firstly, it can't be proven to be very efficient and that other COVIDSafe app also caused a few problems as well, didn't it?
David Davies, Blackalls Park
GREG Hunt (Short Takes, 9/1) thinks we should ditch the national anthem for it causes "so much angst." With who? I know no one who is against it! The very small minority against it is not worth talking about. Keep it as it is.
Don Fraser, Belmont
THANK you, Michael Stevenson for pointing out some of the bad uses of grammar on television, but especially in sport. My bug bear is the laziness of pronunciation especially the words "important" (now impordan) and threatening (now threadening). The letter "t" is disappearing. The more we hear these mispronunciations, the more common and more irritating they become.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
MICHAEL Stevenson laments the decline of adverbs, but prepositions are in even more trouble. That TV show which used to be due, eg. On Monday at 8pm on channel x, is now Monday, 8pm. It seems that our TV people think it cool to follow the American butchering of the language. Of course texting is no help.
Bob Salter, Stockton
I BET Newcastle council staff do not use the toilets at King Edward Park. Please spend some money on updating these toilets, they are a disgrace. I certainly would not send my grandchildren in there unaccompanied, but let's face it there are no other public toilets around for miles.
Alice Nesbitt, Islington
CONGRATULATIONS to Peter Lewis (Opinion, 9/1). That was the best take on the US chaos I've seen so far. His view says it all. PS: Loved his dog, always. Look for him. Let's have more of Peter.
Vinicio Pavincich, Cameron Park
I COULDN'T agree more with Graeme Kime. People are oblivious to the use of the QR coding. How many people possess a smartphone? Most of the elderly probably don't. I was concerned to read how people take photos of the QR code then walk into an establishment. NSW government and NSW Health need to work on this problem. We're a sitting duck and stand a big chance of succumbing to this horrid virus.
Karen Mitchell, Lakelands
SCOTT Morrison's lack of rebuke for MPs who appear to be spreading falsehoods and conspiracy theories about what happened at the Capitol in America is of great concern. Shrugging it off as free speech didn't do the Republican Party or America any good. The Prime Minister needs to act like a leader and take decisive action now against members of his government who mislead the public.
Susie Johnson, Adamstown
NOW I know who Hilary Clinton was describing as "deplorables" back during the 2016 election.