Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

Capitol riots could lead to America’s rebound if we embrace facts and listen

Akron Beacon Journal

Jan. 10

What happens next?

Will the insurrection at the United States Capitol Wednesday that left five dead and our elected leaders scrambling for their lives mark the beginning of restoring our democracy? Or is this preventable tragedy just another sad chapter in a dishonest campaign to undermine our government and pit Americans against each other?

The answer will be up to each of us. And the stakes could not be higher.

We’re confident the mob supporting President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn a lawful election overplayed its hand significantly. They’re not patriots rebelling against a foreign king in the 1770s. Those who entered the Capitol were criminals terrorizing a legitimate democratic government and interrupting the constitutional process of certifying legally cast electoral votes.

Violence has no place in our public discord, whether it’s perpetrated by a few protesters who damaged businesses in downtown Akron last summer or those on Capitol Hill last week.

Nor can we tolerate tear-gassing peaceful protesters last summer in Washington, D.C., and failing to secure a federal building against those clearly arriving to cause chaos.

Trump’s role in inflaming the Capitol rioters warrants his resignation or removal from the presidency, although that’s unlikely given the few days remaining in his term.

To many Trump will go down as the worst president in our history, an authoritarian who cared more about his legacy than helping our country fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s misused and abused his power at every turn, overshadowing any accomplishments he might claim.

The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden gives us hope our democracy can begin healing with a proven leader restoring professionalism and honor to the White House. Biden won’t use his bully pulpit to divide us, although the poisonous political atmosphere he inherits will challenge him greatly.

We’re also heartened to see many Republicans who have backed Trump for four years finally call him out for his election lies and role in inciting the riot. They’re too late to save his legacy, let alone purge their shameful records of ignoring his behavior. But it’s badly needed progress and a sign Trump’s power over his party sustained serious damage.

Republicans with the courage to ignore Trump and deal in facts will be critical to restoring our democracy and providing a loyal and honorable opposition to a Democratic president and Congress.

It’s one thing to claim certain states over-accommodated pandemic voting in violation of their laws. When judges — even those appointed by Trump — determine that there’s no evidence of voter fraud, it’s time to move forward.

As we wrote in this space a few weeks ago, facts matter. They’re the first building block to restoring public confidence in our government and leaders, not to mention saving the Republican Party from splintering.

Moving forward, Americans must keep an eye on extremists of all persuasions without falling victim to positions (and often lies) designed to scare and divide us. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are more than capable of representing their liberal and conservative agendas without weaponizing their rhetoric.

America can’t succeed if either of our two dominant parties ignores moderate Americans.

We also need to listen to all reasonable perspectives whether we agree or not. The views of Trump supporters are just as important as those protesting police conduct if for no other reason than seeking common ground to start discussions.

It’s time to remember we’re all Americans.

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A deplorable day

Canton Repository

Jan. 10

There are no adequate words to describe what we all saw last week as armed and radicalized thugs desecrated our temple of freedom in Washington, D.C.

The right-wing extremists and domestic terrorists that the FBI have been warning us about for years misused our constitutionally-protected right to protest to attack the very country they claim to love.

That sound you’re hearing is the real American patriots and public servants, from Washington to Lincoln, to John Lewis, spinning in their graves.

Politicians who have poisoned the well for years are now pearl-clutching, aghast that the Frankenstein monster they helped to father has broken loose and is trying to usurp the peaceful transfer of power, one of the hallmarks of America’s identity as an exceptional nation.

That distinction is now gone. Those who abetted and hand-held and coddled these domestic terrorists now have blood on their hands.

Five Americans, including a Capitol Hill police officer, are now dead as a result of the reprehensible actions goaded on by the president and his advisers, including son Donald Jr., and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who described the gathering as “trial by combat.”

Not since the War of 1812, has the U.S. Capitol been attacked by people bent on dismantling the structure on which this country rests.

But it wasn’t President James Madison who led the charge. The current occupant of the Oval Office is not behaving like a president but a mad king, intent on burning down the house.

Some of the people who love to decry the ancillary violence which occurred during this summer’s civil rights protests are shrugging at the news that at least two explosive devices were found in the Capitol Building, even as duly-elected representatives feared for their lives.

They were in real danger from their own citizens, the very people they were sent to Washington to serve.

People who have been lied to by the president for four years.

Coal jobs are not coming back.

Mexico will never pay for the wall. Not ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a hoax, nor has it disappeared “like a miracle.” If anything, the spread is growing measurably worse.

The president lost a fair and free election.

Rather than offer leadership by telling his base the truth — that he lost — Donald Trump has continued to feed them a steady diet of lies, resentment, conspiracy theories, and victimhood to the point where some families are bitterly divided, and disaffected and gullible Americans are falling into rabbit holes filled with nonsensical and dangerous demagoguery.

Some Repository readers took issue with our recent interview with Plain Township resident Doug Wright, one of an estimated 500 Northeast Ohioans who took part in last week’s protest, arguing that he shouldn’t have been given a platform.

Wright, who declined to share what actions he took while in Washington, described the protest as “the first battle of the war.”

May we remind you of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s memorable quote: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

It is naive to think that the people who laid siege to the Capitol last week are not some of the same folks who live and work among us.

The disgraceful and seditious crimes which took place last week are about more than a few broken windows and doors and footprints on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.

It’s about the attempted destruction of the Republic.

When John Lewis urged Americans to “get into good trouble,” this is not what he meant.

Protest? Of course. Nothing is more American.

But not this.



No more stock trading by Congress members

The Toldeo Blade

Jan. 11

Watchdog groups have long been barking for ethics changes on Capitol Hill. Rightly so.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) is taking up the cause. Again.

She is relaunching a bill designed to prevent lawmakers from making individual stock trades while working on the taxpayer dime.

The Justice Department is tasked with oversight of any allegations that involve share sales that are suspected to have resulted from inside information that lawmakers get in the course of fulfilling their public duties. The bar is high for criminal charges, as it should be. Everyone, including our elected officials, are entitled to due process. While many investigations may be launched by the justice department, few will end in prosecution.

The logical recourse is to avoid not just a real conflict, but even a perceived conflict. That can be done by restricting our federal leaders from trading stocks while they’re still in office. It’s not too big an ask. At stake is the credibility of our government, which arguably can’t get any shorter in supply these days.

Ms. Warren is not only looking for a ban on stock trading. That’s just part of her “anti-corruption” proposal, one she was pushing during her recent campaign for president. While she is using her influence in the senate, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington has introduced a companion bill in the house. They are seeking a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and a legal block on lobbyists fund-raising for political candidates. These additional measures may be too Utopian to stand a chance of passage.

The best move — the first move — is to narrow the focus of the Warren/​Jayapal Anti-corruption and Public Integrity Act: get on the books, once and for all, a clear ban that will forestall even the temptation or suspicion of lawmakers using private information gleaned from congressional briefings for their self-interest in playing the stock market. The way things stand, temptation to do wrong is too great and the optics are just plain bad.



Giving into unfounded fears

The Marietta Times

Jan. 11

Officials working to get the COVID-19 vaccine to those who need it most have run into an unfathomable problem. Health care workers are buying into the nonsense that the vaccine might not be safe, and are refusing the shot. Not all of them are so bull-headed, of course. Many are doing the right thing and getting the shots so they are safe AND they are doing their part to keep their patients safe.

But in both nursing homes and hospitals across the country, a disturbing percentage of workers are falling prey to entirely unfounded fears — helped along by the lies and conspiracy theories spread via social media and other newsertainment outlets — that they might experience worrisome side effects if they get vaccinated.

In discussing the number of health care workers who HAVE received the vaccine, Neil Pruitt, CEO of a company that runs about 100 long-term care homes across the South, said “It’s far too low. It’s alarmingly low.” In that region, fewer than 3 in 10 workers offered the vaccine so far have accepted it.

Medical journals have published extensive data on the vaccines, and the Food and Drug Administration has made its analysis public, as the Associated Press has reported.

In West Virginia, only about 55 percent of nursing home workers agreed to the shots when they were first offered last month, according to Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association.

“It’s a race against social media,” he said of battling falsehoods about the vaccines.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said only 40 percent of the state’s nursing home workers have gotten shots.

And so vials of vaccines that should be saving lives right now are sitting unused in storage. That is an outrage. Those who, in theory, have dedicated their lives to the health and wellbeing of others should be rushing to get the vaccine when it is made available to them. If they are not, they should be ashamed of themselves; and will bear a portion of the responsibility for the extension of our struggle against this monster.



Pass bill that would provide internet access

The Warren Tribune Chronicle

Jan. 11

The COVID-19 epidemic has made apparent the glaring need in how we educate children.

With their schools closed, millions of students for weeks or even months on end have been forced to rely on “remote learning” via the internet.

But online learning is impossible for a significant number of students. That’s because federal officials estimate that as many as 9.4 million children ages 3 to 18 have no access to internet in their homes.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have an excellent idea to help the digitally underserved students. It focuses on the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program, which can provide internet service discounts to schools and libraries.

Capito and Klobuchar have introduced a bill — the Every Child Connected Act — that would amend the E-rate program. In addition to providing more money for it, the bill would allow use of E-rate discounts to benefit students who need internet access in their homes.

It is a wonderfully creative idea to help millions of American children. As Capito puts it, the bill would help many students gain the same internet access enjoyed by classmates. It could keep them from falling behind in school during periods when “remote learning” must be utilized.

Senators, then members of the House of Representatives, should approve the bill quickly.