Letters to the Editor: Edgar Allen Poe warned us of the tragedy of a Trump presidency

President Trump, recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, takes off his mask before entering the White House on October 5.
To the editor: David Ulin's article, "A Telltale Edgar Allan Poe Story for Trumpian Times," resonates because it is painfully appropriate for our present circumstances and brings back memories of part of my teaching career.
"The Mask of the Red Death" was one of Edgar Allan Poe's plays that my students and I studied together in the American high school literature course I taught. We examined the character flaws of Prospero and his courtiers and tried to find out what they meant for us as readers. In today's world, the comparison with President Trump is inevitably apt to reflect a "ruler" who is steeped in arrogance and has absolutely no interest in the suffering of "his" people.
Most powerfully, however, is this statement by Ulin: "The president literally understood what was coming to him. It is too easy." For me, it's a constant struggle not to go down to that level - Trump's level - so I comfort myself with filling out and casting my ballot and in the increasingly difficult effort to remain optimistic about the twin scourges of this government and COVID -19 will exist.
Unfortunately, the answer to Ulin's question of whether it is too much to ask for a direct and concise explanation on how to fight the pandemic is as follows: With this President, it is way too much to ask.
Judith Powell, Long Beach
To the editor, like Prince Prospero, Trump's fall will be due to his own hubris. If you only take care of yourself, you will not be able to deal with crises that affect others.
Prospero says: "The outside world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to mourn or think." Sound familiar? Trump said, "I don't take any responsibility at all."
There were seven rooms in Prospero's white castle, one blue and one red. Death entered through the red room, and those who only protected themselves, including ballet dancers and idiots, found there was no way to do it Escape Red Death.
The ebony clock has struck and the arrogant bets of denial will fall.
Jeff Rack, Altadena
To the Editor: In Tom Stoppard's masterful re-conception of "Hamlet," two bit players, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, set sail for their own executions after a series of plot changes. Only when they passed the point of no return did they see that they could have stopped the unstoppable path to their death: "In the beginning there must have been a moment when we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it . " ""
We Americans are today's heirs to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. We have seen this lawless president empowered by a lawless political party undermine and corrupt our government. The Democrats' two weak impeachment trials were on par with Bonnie and Clyde's reckless driving charges.
Trump's huge crimes and misdemeanors include taking migrant children from their parents, bypassing Congress, and raising funds for national security purposes to build his fanciful border wall, violate the constitutional remuneration clause, demonize the media, and bring in peaceful protesters Brutalizing Washington so that he could have done his Bible photo op.
And then of course there is COVID-19.
So here we are, asking Trump to say that if he lost he would accept the election results, which of course he refuses, as he did in 2016, with no consequence.
"In the beginning there must have been a moment when we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it." Will we miss it again?
Mark Brodin, Newton, Mass.
To the editor, what do some people not get out of wearing masks? They say it should be a "personal choice" and that forcing one to wear one is a violation of individual freedoms.
OK, then the same logic applies to driving while drunk. If I want to do it, it's a personal choice. The government should not be allowed to take away this freedom.
Guess what happened when the drunk driving laws got tough? The rate of auto accidents and deaths fell. When people prove that they are unwilling to do the right thing themselves, behavioral legislation becomes necessary.
Brian Gotta, San Diego
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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