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Letter: We need an adult in the room

Martin writes, "Our Jan. 6th Capitol riot is a dark and dismal day in recent history. The day was bad enough and our reaction is worse."

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As a student of history, I think a valid comparison of the Jan. 6th Capitol riot to the U.S. Civil War is in order.

Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis were the highest profile leaders of the Confederacy. They led field armies of tens of thousands who invaded the Union and hundreds of thousands died. In fact, a besieging Confederate force was close enough to Washington, D.C., that a Confederate sharpshooter took a shot at President Abraham Lincoln.

Certainly Lee and Davis were guilty of sedition and treason, but both were spared their lives following the war's end. In fact, Lee ended up as president of a regional college. Compassion and atonement were in the vocabulary back then.

Our Jan. 6th Capitol riot is a dark and dismal day in recent history. The day was bad enough and our reaction is worse. I call it the farmer's dog syndrome. If you ran over a farmer's dog in the 1960s, it wasn't a $35 loss. No, you ran over the most beloved member of the family and it was the best dog ever. The farmer's kids were going to Harvard on the dog's future puppies and the coming to-be-won herding dog championships would bring in so much cash the grandkids would be financially set for eternity. You didn't just kill a dog; you killed all dreams and the family legacy. The cost to you, the murderer, is ownership of your soul. Nothing less will do. And that takes us to Jan. 6th.

I am appalled and disgusted at a mob streaming into the U.S. Capitol. I personally was not there and know of no one who was. I simply cannot understand the thinking behind thousands of trashing trespassers. However, they do not represent the 75 million voters who peacefully cast ballots in a legal election and who abide by official results.

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The follow-up over Jan. 6th is much like running over the farmer's dog. You would do anything to reverse the event, but it is unfair to give up everything to pay for it. To go forward, we need an adult in the room like the one we had 157 years ago. Lincoln, before his assassination, established a policy of forgiveness and healing. Lincoln was a great statesman and humanitarian who championed unity and one country. Odd, isn't it, a backwoods country rube who learned to write with charcoal lumps on shingles also knew political division is not a path to national greatness?

Mike Martin lives in Enderlin, N.D.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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