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Where are we headed?

My mind is still reeling over the events of Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, when an insurrection was mounted against our government, instigated by a sitting President of the United States in an attempt to overturn the results of an election, the results of which he would not accept. The sights of that crazed mob invading and vandalizing the United States Capitol, the heart of our democracy, are still unsettling.

I cannot help but be reminded of the several autocratically governed “banana republics” in Central America, driven by corruption, extortion and gang violence, and from which so many of their citizens have recently fled to find better and safer lives here in the United States, only to be turned away or incarcerated by the Trump administration. Did the Jan. 6 rally and attack on the U.S. Capitol not mimic the kind of upheaval found in a banana republic? I think it did.

What is happening in this country, when 147 elected Republican representatives to the Congress of the United States vote to overturn election results certified by the governors of all 50 states? Of the 139 members of the House of Representatives voting to object to certification of the electoral votes for Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, two are local: Fred Keller and Glenn Thompson. Their published rationale is similar to the violations alleged in lawsuits brought in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. All have been dismissed or rejected as being “without merit.”

Why have so many of our citizens become so gullible that they accept the oft repeated lies of candidates and office holders as the truth? Why have conspiracy theories, such as those emanating from Q’Anon, been taken as truthful by so many? Have our schools, youth organizations, churches and other molders of behavioral ethics and critical thinking failed? I think not.

What we are seeing in America today is the abuse of modern technology. Social media have made it easy for con artists, crooks and some politicians to spout and spread lies and misinformation without regard to the values of integrity and honesty, upon which the survival of our social contract is dependent. And the executives of the these platforms have resisted enacting even modest controls, lest they lose advertising revenue and risk not becoming billionaires. Only after the insurrection on Jan. 6 did Facebook and Twitter close President Trump’s accounts.

Folks, we need to wake up and recognize that our country is in deep trouble. We can hope that the new federal administration will make a difference and that members of Congress will be less partisan and work in our best interests, not judge every piece of proposed legislation according to their re-election concerns. We also need to consider shedding our political party loyalties and, instead, consider candidates on their merits, regardless of political party. Political parties can be hijacked, as was the case with Mr. Trump and the GOP. They are not the key to the survival of our democracy; the key is having honest, ethical, educated servant-leaders in every elected and appointed office.

OSCAR W. KNADE

Montoursville

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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