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As a Tennessean, I am very disappointed by Sen. Lamar Alexander's vote not to call witnesses in an impeachment trial in which the defendant, Donald Trump, is unquestionably guilty.

Mr. Alexander has long been a good public servant for Tennessee and for our nation. He has supported education, decent health care, our national parks and environmental causes. I have regarded him as a statesman and one of the last decent Republicans.

However, Mr. Alexander has made a mistake by tolerating the thousands of mistakes and lies propagated by Trump, an immature sociopath. Mr. Alexander's decision in the impeachment trial will place a sad and permanent stain on an otherwise distinguished record.

I will not be voting for any Republican in the 2020 elections. I urge all Tennesseans of conscience to join me in that resolve.

Allen Chesney

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We must all be patriots and vote

In elementary school, I learned about our Constitution and its elegant system of checks and balances that "protect" us from those who govern. For more than 50 years I felt safe, until this past week. I felt safe from the abuses of power and the evil of absolute power, which corrupts absolutely.

Last week the foundation upon which we all (conservative and liberal) depend, the Constitution of the United States, suffered a seismic blow. There is now a large crack in our protection. Impeachment has been removed as a genuine check on executive power/overreach.

Will the crack widen into one-party rule (fascism)? Only we the people can make that decision.

In the next election, vote. If you never vote, register. If you feel hopeless, vote. Only by voting can we let those in power know we are not going to allow the destruction of the division of power between the branches of government (president/congress/supreme court).

Collectively we are wise and perhaps the only ones who can turn the tide away from one-party rule. Let's join together and bring our country back to solid ground. Now is your time to act, to be a true patriot!

Judith Pedersen-Benn

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Diversity can only enhance our lives

What a sad state of affairs when a national story headlined "Parent Resistance Thwarts Desegregation Efforts" makes the front page in the 21st century as it did in Monday's Times Free Press. Don't get me wrong. Responsible news outlets certainly should report such startling trends, but wouldn't you think news of that sort would have been condemned long ago to the dusty archives of the 1950s, '60s and '70s? In 2020, aren't we better than this?

Do affluent, mostly white parents referenced in the article really not get that experiences that bring together students of different backgrounds, whether that be racial, socioeconomic or otherwise, give our children a better education? And a better life?

From preschool through college, most of my son's education introduced him to classmates from different backgrounds. Now he is a citizen of the world whose instincts are to treat society's ostensible "other" with respect, empathy and friendship.

Good intentions are not enough in a nation as divided as ours. We must be purposeful about raising and educating our children to contribute in, by any definition, an increasingly diverse world.

Julie Van Valkenburg, Signal Mountain

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