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Capitol police officers will heal, but they may never forget how their fellow Americans betrayed them

A sense of unbelievable betrayal will remain seared in their hearts and minds.

Capitol officers
U.S. Capitol Police, Michael Fanone, right, looks on as U.S. Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, left, testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC.
Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Watching the testimony of the officers attacked in the Jan. 6 melee at the Capitol has been heart-wrenching. These brave men still seem to be in shock and dismay at what they endured from the violent crowd that stormed the Capitol — as lawmakers cowered in whatever safe places they could find.

The four officers faced brutality. And they felt betrayed as well, by their fellow Americans. Is this what a wife’s eyes look like when she is struck for the first time by her husband? Is this what a child’s eyes look like when he is slapped by his mother? Is this the look of a pet dog when its supposed best friend kicks it in the ribs?

I dare say it is.

The officers will heal from their physical wounds, but the psychological scarring — this sense of unbelievable betrayal — will remain seared in their hearts and minds.

Kathleen Melia, Niles

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Tolerate Republican sour grapes for a better American future

Leave it to Trump and his crowd to bash the just agreed-on infrastructure deal, one that is at least 20 years late as it is. Hard to tell whether they detest it because of the cost, because the Democrats get credit for it or because it could lead to raising taxes on the undertaxed high earners among us.

But had our nation’s infrastructure needs been federally addressed way back when, (a) the repairs would have cost much less; (b) there would be less deterioration to repair; (c) existing risks of cataclysmic failure would be fewer. As it is, some bridges are too unsafe to use. If they could tolerate spending $2 trillion on the misbegotten Iraq War, without even a hiccup, why are Republicans gagging on spending less than that for beneficial lifetime infrastructure?

Legislative stalling killed funding back when it ought to have happened, made worse by failing to tax the rich to pay for it. In the 1950’s, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower got the costly interstate highway system built, paid for by abruptly hiking taxes. The top tax rate was around 92%, and fiscally we survived. Today, that would be Republican apostasy. But try to imagine today’s pace of commerce without that interstate highway system.

Lost in the political posturing is the simple fact that the $1.2 trillion cost is spread out over 10 years: some $120 billion a year. Our economy can digest that readily, especially when considering the resulting efficiencies of freight services and personal driving to be gained by our soon-to-be all-electric cars and trucks. That can’t happen without substantial infrastructure spending to create a national network of battery-charging stations to replace gas stations, phasing out fossil fuels.

This may explain some of the Republican pushback; the fossil fuel industry is one of their major financial supporters.

And replacing lead water pipes? A godsend!

This major infusion of federal dollars may or may not be combined with local and state spending on infrastructure, but job-creation is a constant political worry. Safe to say Biden’s infrastructure bill will broadly boost economic activity, especially given the need to go all out on solar and wind electricity generation. It all spells jobs, jobs, jobs involving forward-leaning technology.

For example, today’s idle coal miners could be retrained for these jobs of the future, building, installing and servicing. The same for chronically unemployed youth in our inner cities. For all those gains, the nation can tolerate today’s Republican gripes.

Thank you, Democrats, for taking America into the future. Better late than never.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Selfish, irresponsible, unvaccinated

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama recently was quoted as saying, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.” So, to all those folks who are refusing to get vaccinated: If you don’t want to listen to the CDC, or Dr. Anthony Fauci, maybe you’ll listen to the Republican governor of Alabama.

By refusing to be vaccinated, you are putting not only yourself at risk, which is your choice, but also the rest of us, which should not be your choice. Unless you have a valid medical reason to not get vaccinated, you are being selfish and irresponsible. Period.

Bob Chimis, Elmwood Park

Who gets to go back to ‘normal?’

If mask mandates are to be reimposed, an exception should be made to keep masks optional for venues that voluntarily enact a “proof of vaccination required” policy. Those of us who have done the right thing by getting fully vaccinated should be able to mingle and interact like “normal” people if we choose.

David G. Whiteis, Humboldt Park