Biden, his time
Thank you, Mike Seccombe, for the cool-headed analysis of the anti-democractic structural flaws of the United States electoral system (“One small hand clinging to everything except reality”, November 7-13), in which a projected winning margin of five million votes still didn’t guarantee Biden’s victory, if 200,000 voters in a few key states had supported Trump instead. Frankly, I am a bit tired of endless essays from other pundits explaining why US conservatives continue to support Trump. What matters more is that millions more Americans chose Biden over Trump, hope over fear, science over crackery, decency over indignity. If we didn’t obsess over the Labor voters’ demands after the Morrison victory last year, why should we spend more ink on the Trump base? Let’s instead talk about the agendas and aspirations of the Biden coalition, the broadest and biggest voting bloc in American history, of men and women, the young and old, white and minorities, the religious and the atheists, straight and LGBTQIA+, representing the true diversity of the great nation.
– Han Yang, North Turramurra, NSW
US engaged in democracy
Mike Seccombe characterises record voter turnout in the US election as an “ugly outcome … proving the nation remains as divided as ever”. That is a strange conclusion to draw. Is civic engagement really that ugly? Surely a record number of Americans taking up their democratic cudgel and voting is a positive sign, especially when it involves a repudiation of Donald Trump? While it is true that political polarisation is a driver of turnout, it is also the case that high turnout indicates a degree of trust in the institutions of government and faith in the very idea of democracy. That so many Americans feel a degree of political agency is not nothing.
– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW
The final curtain for Trump
The curtain has at last come down on the worst president ever to hold that office in the United States of America. Donald Trump can resort to all the litigation he wants, but the truth is that the American electoral system is transparent. The people have had their say and Trump has no option but to bow out. His thousands of lies won’t count anymore as he is consigned to the dustbin of history. As famed author Bob Woodward wrote, he was just not up to the job. In the end he found to his utmost dismay “that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth”.
– Frank Carroll, Moorooka, Qld
A lost fossil fuel ally
With Trump gone, to whom will PM Morrison turn to support his gas/coal/oil future?
– Rod Oaten, North Carlton, Vic
Community is the answer
Thanks, Yanis Varoufakis, for enlightening us with your profound words of wisdom (“After the virus: How to design a post-capitalist world”, November 7-13). Inequality, read capitalism, has proved not to be a very smart parasite. Capitalism has been hijacked by the peddlers of neoliberalism. And yet, our governments, in the main, are only too willing to feed the beast by encouraging not only central banks but all banks to lend money. This in a world awash with credit. Private debt is escalating at ever-increasing rates and inequality is rampant. Varoufakis and others have highlighted the problem and have proffered several suggestions. Governments and multinationals, however, will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into line by the people. The opposite of neoliberalism is community. Community is caring and sharing, as has been highlighted during the pandemic. Community is all-embracing, compassionate and forgiving.
– John Bentley, Tongala, Vic
Public interest should be priority
In his essay “How to design a post-capitalist world”, Yanis Varoufakis seeks a solution to the malign power of big corporations. The problem suggests its own solution: disincorporate them. Following 19th-century practice, the legislature creates corporations (limited liability companies) via corporations law and then takes little interest in them. The gift of incorporation has been given too freely. The legislature could provide that companies will be disincorporated if they act contrary to public interest. The narrow requirement that directors act in the best interests of the company could be amended accordingly.
– Tony Minchin, Forrest, ACT
Keeping science as our guide
Amy Coopes’ article “Welcome to Covid-normal” (November 7-13) was an excellent insight into how Australia escaped the fate of many other nations by following the guide of science rather than economics. It was a near thing, with many, rather than accepting the harsh shutdown, calling for “a return to normal” that would have resulted in a repeat of the disasters in Europe and the US. This pandemic is not a one-off event, as a United Nations report states there are up to 850,000 viruses that could be transferred to humans. There are probably just as many threats to our food crops from diseases and pests as well as climate change, meaning we must urgently transform our relationship with the environment. Unfortunately this is not happening: warnings on land clearing are ignored and we build cities that are the very antithesis of what we need to cater for in pandemics or warming. Our survival will depend on allowing science rather than economists, politicians and developers to inform the important decisions.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 14, 2020.
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