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We are living in a very dark time

My New Year’s wish is that all of America wakes up to our new reality before it’s too late.

Kyle Rittenhouse, left, waves to cheering fans as he arrives for a panel discussion at the Turning Point USA America Fest 2021 event Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Phoenix.
Kyle Rittenhouse, left, waves to cheering fans as he arrives for a panel discussion at the Turning Point USA America Fest 2021 event on Dec. 20 in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin/AP Photos

You know deep in your heart this country is definitely on the wrong track when a formerly accused murderer, Kyle Rittenhouse, is the new poster boy for right-wing fanaticism.

But there he was, front and center, taking a bow at the most recent gathering of the fringe element of the Republican Party: Turning Point USA. As an unofficial spokesperson for the NRA, he was seen smiling from ear to ear, unlike his appearance on the witness stand a little over a month ago.

This time there were no tears and no fears for the misguided youth as the overzealous crowd showered him with cheers and applause. For the rest of us, though, it was a gut-wrenching video that evoked unpleasant memories of past rallies featuring many of the nation’s leading misfits, malcontents, racists and cowards.

Watching it from a safe distance we are left to shake our heads in disbelief: This can’t possibly be the same country that we inherited from our honest, God-fearing ancestors, can it?

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We’re all living in a very dark place these days, and it’s only getting uglier and more divisive when a lawless gunslinger is presented as a folk hero and a disgraced ex-president is allowed to shamelessly spread lies and deceits.

If this is a bad dream, I long to be awakened. But if it isn’t, my fondest New Year’s wish is that all of America wakes up to this new reality before it’s too late.

Bob Ory, Elgin

What we need now

Peace and teamwork are what America most needs now.

We need leaders who don’t threaten our form of democracy by suppressing the right to vote or question the legitimacy of fair, certified elections. We need to punish the insurrectionists of Jan. 6.

We need support for the rights of all Americans without racial, religious, gender or ethnic biases.

We need an equitable distribution of wealth and a living wage for all heads of household. To stop the violence on the streets of our cities, a guaranteed living wage for work done would go a long, long way.

Marion J. Reis, Lombard

Austin vs. Oak Brook

I find it interesting that the shootout in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood in October where one person was killed was determined to be mutual combat. There were children in the home and people in the neighborhood who could have been injured. Oh, and a person did lose his life, yet no one will be charged. How dare the law allow “mutual combatants” in my neighborhood. Have we no protection in Cook County?

And now a shootout in the Oak Brook mall, where four people were injured, saw the shooters being charged in DuPage County on several counts, including aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Kathy Anderson, Chicago