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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

Beginning today's Letter with Ukraine and Putin's war against it and Democracy wherever it lives; then filling the center with the tug of war between Democracy here and the Republican Party; the struggles in Iran and China; returning to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the rules-based international order still holding, and, finally, back to our country's continuing struggle to maintain and improve Democracy; the Letter had circled the wagons. There could not have been a better way for it to end 2022 than with Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who almost died in his quest to protect the right to vote. He spoke directly to us when he wrote before passing: ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.’

Amen.

Thank you, Heather Cox Richardson and LFAA subscribers, for your wisdom, fortitude, caring spirit, humor and friendship. Happy New Year!

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Thank you, Fern, for being a lead supporter, comment-maker and amplifier.

I love the way this group rallies, elaborates, encourages!

This is the second thing I read each morning after the daily lesson from “A Course in Miracles.”

It all fits together.

Democracy is a miracle we must all guard and lift up. Reading LFAA each morning, sharing it, sharing and reading the comments, keeps us on task, connected, bolstered for the job ahead: to play our own part in protecting and preserving Democracy as voters, activists, vocal members of our own community.

We are blessed to belong and to be given this daily insight into the historical traumas that beg for correction -- amends and resources to the Native American people whose lands we stole, whose people we killed and enslaved, and the kidnapped and enslaved Africans on whose backs this country’s wealth was built.

I am grateful HCR won’t let us forget these facts; that she continues to illuminate them.

Peace and happy new year, friends in truth.

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Let’s not forget the exploitation of the Chinese. The building of the western portion of the trans continental railroad would likely never have been completed without their labor. Chinese laborers were not just those already here but many were brought over directly from China to work on the project. They endured less pay, racial discrimination, performed more dangerous aspects of the project, and denied simple amenities such as meals and tents than their white counterparts. After the completion of the trans continental railroad their contribution was left unacknowledged in history even as late as 1969.

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I am 88 years old. In my small country school I learned about the transcontinental railroad, including the Chinese workers and what they suffered. Our public schools teach less and less about who we are as a nation. As many texts come out of Texas, a few years ago I read that Jefferson’s name was to be dropped from texts. Founding Fathers were human beings, influenced by their times. They need to be studied to understand how we can use their wisdom and profit from their mistakes to improve the democracy they left us. What FL and TX want to eliminate from libraries is what is necessary if we are to continue to move forward.

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Absolutely! Pardon my oversight.

To all who would care to join me, the organization for which I work, PACEs Connection (for positive and adverse childhood experiences) is deep into our second year of our Historical Trauma in America Series. George T — our webinars take the generational trauma of the US by region, and last year’s look at CA and the NW had a detailed account of that exploitation as well as others. We also go into Japanese internment, theft lands and disregard for culture and way of life for Hawaiians and peoples of Alaska and other regions and territories. Virginia Witmer, we try to right those blatant lies.

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With gratitude for starting my morning with yours and Fern's comments. Also thanks to Heather for an excellent round up of the year, both good and bad. Once again the party of death shows its colors. An excellent 2023 to Heather and Buddy and all who share their wisdom and courage here with their posts.

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Carey, Your message rings with our mission and good spirit. Thank you for this music-like harmony of love and responsibility.

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Fern & Carey, I for one in this growing “classroom”, am grateful for your summations of Professor Heather Richardson’s daily doses of history past and history occurring. For me it shines a light on where we seem to be headed and gives a much needed boost in moral in the effort to protect and support our Democracy, our view of human rights- where it has faltered and why we protect it so fiercely. Wishing everyone good health and good cheer in 2023. We did make another trip around the sun.

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We Did! Thank You Pat!

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Happy New Year, Fern! When you are able to summarize an amazing letter with such clarity, you illustrate how we (all of us this time) can make a difference. Count yourself in the "wisdom, fortitude, caring spirit, humor, and friendship" category. Brava!

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You get only love from me, Ally.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNekAAwhfQA

Ally, thought you might enjoy this latest from "Beau of the Fifth column"

I had to search in the letters to find a link for you, so this isn't applicable to yours or Fern's comments, just fyi.

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This is great, thank you!

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Jan 2, 2023·edited Jan 2, 2023

Good tape linking causes for 'dangerous' counties in the South. Thank you Miselle. It's helpful to give readers a idea of the subject being addressed in a link. Wishing you a caring and healthy '23!

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Great summary of a great summary. 2022 was quite a roller-coaster ride - happy new year!

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Thank you, Mitchell. Your New Year's greeting prompted a happy smile, right back at you!

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Fern, your words eloquently spoke what was in my heart to comment. Thank you for putting them together so much better than I could.

And thank you professor for your continuing gifts this year of hope mixed with sobering reality.

Happy New Year!

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Yes, you could and have, Carol Guenther 💓.

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Thank you Fern McBride for your wisdom and for adding and expanding HCR’s daily knowledge and wisdom. You let us know every day, we’re in this world, this struggle and the beauty, together.

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Irenie, I think that it was yesterday, when a subscriber thought you wrote a comment that I posted. Some folks may think we're twins. That's a good thing, isn't it Irenie!

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Big smile, Fern. Yes, it’s absolutely a good thing. A compliment. As a good friend, tells me, we're sisters from another mother. What an amazing family. Happy New Year Sis’.

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My two best informed sisters, along with Lynell! L’ Chaim in bringing in the New Year! May we experience peace and joy. ☮️🎊🥰

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L’Chaim to my Sisters. What we share is forever and priceless. How to find kindred spirits is within the realm of miracles. And thank you, Heather Cox Richardson for making it so. You, too, are our sister. ☮️❤️

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Shalom Aleichem, Sis Marlene.

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Yes, Fern, I agree. I would like to comment about John Lewis last two sentences: 'Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.' Last night, I found a channel on TV that is showing re-runs of The West Wing from years ago. In the episode last night, one character in the West Wing said to another character, "What do you call a leader who has no followers?" The other man didn't respond, but the first gave his answer, "A man walking." I think that ties in well with the final part of the Lewis quote about each generation must do its part.

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Salud FERN & Community: "1930s` New Deal" ... "1960s` Great Society" ... I know there is much Citizen work to done in the years ahead but, I am looking for guiding points on the Horizon -------------- "2020s' ..." ?

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2023...Will not be easy, but WE the PEOPLE will KEEP it FREE.

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FERN, I have used your phrase already in 2023, ""WE the PEOPLE will KEEP it FREE."

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All of Us This Time!!

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YES!!!

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Like your edit MaryPat.🕯

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Fern, your words and wisdom are always welcome and appreciated. Thanks for being such an integral part of the LFAA community. Best wishes for the New Year.

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Oh, Mim, your message is dear. Wishing you a healthy '23, rich in discovery and love.

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Thank you, Fern for your comments!

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Thank you for your comments, replies, support and warmth, Sharon.

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And Thank You Fern!!

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“…and each generation must do its part.” This year, I think Gen Z played a huge part in these outcomes in a way that makes me slightly more optimistic about the coming decade.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

Erica,

Both of my Gen Z kids did their part.

The voted straight Democrat, both of them.

However, both of them are not entirely convinced that Democrats are really all that different from Republicans.

Perhaps their perspective was impacted by Nancy Pelosi's husband doing insider trading in chip companies prior to the CHIPs act passing? They both heard about that.

They both DO like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and we watch her excellent Zoom casts together. It was her passion for her district that swayed them to the Democrat side.

They both feel she is not in the pocket of some big donor (but, we have no evidence for that).

Neither of my kids like Chuck Schumer though. They cannot give me a clear reason why.

So, Gen Z helped in the last election but the vote splits were so close to 50/50 well, we should not be too comfortable.

Plus GenZ overall ambivalence about people in politics, in general, should give us all pause.

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My grandchildren, half Gen Z and half Millennial, are very politically engaged and all vote Democratic. Their progressive views echo those you describe for your kids. Mine are impatient with the moderates, Biden and Shumer in particular, whom they see as well meaning but stuck in the past before the Republicans went over to an alternate reality in which they’re fighting an all out war on us and democracy. Our grandkids are frustrated that nobody in power is taking seriously the climate crisis or the insane gun culture they’re inheriting. They feel stuck and rather hopeless about ever affording a house or having a family—despite having good jobs, they can’t afford to buy a house in our high cost area unless they move a long commute away from those jobs. I’m old and feel the same way. Our old politicians need to cultivate and make way for some young, energetic, progressives to appeal to the millions of those coming of age, even in red places, who are eager to make a more equitable, safe world.

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I hear you, Judith! My daughters are 39 and 34. They both informed us that they are not having kids because of the state of the world and our country’s chaos. Though disappointed, I get it. Dating for them now iis over the internet, sometimes meeting at a restaurant but ends up each person going their own way. They are hard-working strong women who know what they want and for that, I am grateful. They too, are worried when, if ever, they will own a house because we live in the San Francisco Bay Area where houses are prohibitively expensive. We keep fixing up our nearly 96 year old home so that they could either live in it or sell it so that they could own something.

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I have 2 Grandaughters, Ages 9 & 12 here in the Bay Area. Both are vastly more mature than me in those early years. The 12 year old is already making an important Decision. I'm Busy providing them cognitive games, paint brushes & suff; they do the digital repairs. The 9 year old dusted grandpa at a Christmas card game with a knowing smile. Trying out my new salutation: Keep it Free.

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My nieces and nephews are a 2/3 ratio of Millennials to Gen Z. The Millennials are strongly Democratic (well, my nephew leans farther left than that, but votes Democrati); birth years 87 and 89 and the Gen Z are also Democratic, although less involved politically (birth years 93, 93, and 97).

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Millennial son, wife, their circle voted Democratic. And to think, when signing up for AP Civics, I was on verge of suggesting to him, science, math classes might be more beneficial. Just managed to zip lips; yikes!

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Morning, Ally! Many happy returns to you and your team!

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Happy New Year Ally!

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Give your kids a high five for me, Mike!

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Can do and happy New Year!

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Erica Benoit "I think Gen Z played a huge part in these outcomes"

“𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘵 25, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵. 𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘵 35 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯.” So said Winston Churchill. Or US president John Adams. Or perhaps King Oscar II of Sweden. Variations of this aphorism have circulated since the 18th century, underscoring the well-established rule that as people grow older, they tend to become more conservative.

Millennials — born between 1981 and 1996 — started out on the same trajectory, but then something changed.

Could some force be pushing voters of all ages away from the right?

The most likely explanation is a cohort effect — that millennials have developed different values to previous generations, shaped by experiences unique to them, and they do not feel conservatives share these. ... tacking much further to the left on economics than previous generations did, favouring greater redistribution from rich to poor.

Home ownership continues to prove more elusive for millennials than for earlier generations at the same age in both countries. With houses increasingly difficult to afford, a good place to start would be to help more millennials get on to the housing ladder.

https://www.ft.com/content/c361e372-769e-45cd-a063-f5c0a7767cf4

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I am in my 75th year. As time has passed, I have become more liberal, a more informed liberal. I hope more Americans in 2023 will come to understand that the symbol of the current Republican party is no longer the sturdy elephant but, the untalented Mr Santos, basking in the embrace of a weak and silent House Republican leadership.

I spend 2 days a week working in a ceramic studio building pots along side 2 talented and thoughtful women in their 70’s who have also become more staunchly liberal in the face of the current rightwing assault on Democracy and the weakest among us.

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"the untalented Mr Santos, basking in the embrace of a weak and silent Housr Republican leadership."

I have started calling all Republicans by the name Santos. It is perfect.

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The GreatvWhiteSantosis.

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A laugh broke out with '...….Santosis' It rhymes with halitosis, rigor mortis, stenosis, Holy Moses!

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What chance for those with republicosis against such perky no(s)es. My face is breaking up.

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Add sclerosis.

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Santosis: a condition of split personality resulting from having one's mother die on two separate occasions. (Please note that I am not making light of his mother's death, assuming that she's actually dead, but of his inability to keep track of his, um, assertions about when it happened.)

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🤣😂

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😂 Thanks for the laugh.

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I don't know if you recall, Mike, the kerfuffle when the columnist Dan Savage, in response to then-candidate Rick Santorum's homophobic rants, encouraged the use of Santorum as a neologism for a particularly, um, graphic product of a certain kind of congress. It was a defining moment for me and is still something that makes me smile when I think about it. Santos is destined for the same kind of "greatness" as Santorum, I suspect. https://chicagoreader.com/columns-opinion/dan-savage-sticks-it-to-rick-santorum/

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Thank you Professor Richardson. I look forward to more conversations in our local markets and post office parking lot. Your efforts continue to help many of us expand our understanding and our commitment to using our best efforts to actively support the gift of democracy in our daily lives!

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James, You are a shining example of growth at all ages!

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I’m right there with you; same age, everything. And you can bet your bippy that I vote!

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You are living the life, James! More power to you for your creative endeavors and your liberalism.

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Even renting an apartment is out of reach to many young voters. Half of adults under 25 are living with their parents.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

It takes up so much strength to survive the shivering nights without hope of finding shelter. For young adults to care they must have help coming back indoors. To those buying out affordable housing to flush out their portfolios I say choke on your greed. Sorry Joan but you hit a chord as my daughter starts the new year in a camper trailer switching propane bottles every other night. This is a crises getting too big now.

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Agreed. My twenty year old daughter would surely prefer to have her own place, alone or with friends. She and her friends all live with parents rather than spend every penny on rent.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

That makes good cents Joan. My older sister and her 4 roommates put me up under the kitchen table for my first week. But by the weekend I had rustled up an old army tent and went independently to the woods. That was then and well. With real estate having again reached a boom cycle young families out of college are competing with half assed investors using rentals as cash flow vacation rentals. Surprising how many attorneys are becoming slum lords. With contracts their specialty rentals of any kind are impossible now and new construction is unreachable. If you have a hiccup like a divorce single women with children pay the price for this “new” investment stream. If you fall through the cracks today you will be back in my old moldy tent. As passers by we see the camper cities growing exponentially, but do we really see them? Along side of our glowing economy we have this growing poverty paralleling us. I don’t know what that portends but I am uneasy. This is the working class.

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Long ago, I rented a walk-in closet for $35/month in a 2 bedroom apartment in San Francisco with 4 residents. It wasn't bad - overhead light, room for a narrow bed, excellent shelving. When I got tired of that and still couldn’t find work, I moved back east, found a series of low-paying jobs, and easily afforded living in a decent shared apartment. And that’s the catch - those low-end jobs no longer produce enough to live on, not for rent and not for groceries.

It’s a disgrace and a scandal, not least because a lot of the price increases for housing are directly tied to “investors” buying up lots of housing for profit. There should be laws against it. Some federal laws have been proposed, but no way is the new Congress going to do anything so useful. So the question is what can be done on the local and state levels. I don’t know the answer to that. I do know it’s a critically important question.

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The problem with “well-established rules” is they can never be universally applied. Many of us here violate the more-conservative-with-age rule, my 67 year old self included. My millennial daughter has always leaned left but her twin brother has been overtaken by anger and conspiracies. Counter examples can be found for any blanket rule. Except the ones Nature presents!

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Too true! Can’t imagine the difference in mindset between us and them. I KNEW I would go to college and become a teacher. And thanks to my great aunts, my father and relatively cheap tuition, it happened. Neither of my kids is working in the field of their degrees. They are both self-sufficient, but uncertain about their career paths. And both are working their butts off!

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A year full of all kinds of events I said, right up to just before they happened, "that's not gonna happen!" A year in which I am very glad to have been proven wrong.

And we all did it.

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...a year of “We the People”, all of us this time! Wishing you all a year full of peace and unity.

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Starting with the revelation of Ukrainian Resolve showing the world that Greed and Power are no match for the Human Will

Joe Biden’s experience demonstrated that Government steered by those wanting to serve The People is stronger than any Government run by “a businessman” who’s sole purpose is consolidation of power and money into the pit of authoritarians

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"The story of 2022 turned out to be how many folks both abroad and at home stepped up to the plate." I will add my praise for how you told that story. Lucid, inspiring, and as comprehensive as possible in such a brief note. Thank you.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

Like many here, I often already know much of the day's news when Heather reports it here at night. But I don't necessarily understand how it fits into other events and its historical significance or antecedents.

Add in the community's comments and voilà — we learn even more from each other. LFAA is, simply, essential to me.

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Thank you , Heather, over and over, for being one of the articulate voices for democracy, for your dedication to the historical perspective, and for your balance based on reality. Happy New Year

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“…the list of accomplishments for this Congress rivaled that of the 1960s’ Great Society and the 1930s’ New Deal.”

And those accomplishments were made in spite of an opposition party whose one and only political goal still is to make the duly elected sitting President of the United States fail.

Well done, Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. Well done.

This new year methinks one can reasonably be more optimistic than the last several new years.

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What kind of party operates on the premise of we're going to hurt you before you hurt us? Hurt is defined as everyone having the same rights. Like petulant toddlers, the Republicans only consider things fair when they get their way. Their attacks on the basic foundations of the country like the separation of church and state demonstrate how badly they lie to the country.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

The party of Not. A party with a narrative, but neither an ideology that include building nor a story line that gives room for honest decent over goals or processes. The party of Father Knows Best where Father is an enraged and demented failure in all he told the children he was a succes in beneath his brown striped double brested Hartz-Schafner-and-Marx suit.

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Exactly Fern.

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That attitude would appear to be the complete opposite of "Do unto others etc" Funny how that seems to have been overlooked by the evangelicals, isnt it?

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I felt that not enough people would wake up, but enough did. Well, our voter participation is abysmal, but we can battle another day. Ukraine resilience reminded us of the fighting spirit we once had, despite republicans siding with the enemy, as many did before WW2, when Japan solved that problem. The do nothing Congress did something, not enough, but more than most dreamed, including me. Especially since republican obstruction is at an all time high during my long life.

My wishes for 2023. May the republicans jump the shark, may Rupert be deported, dead or alive, and may hate and greed take back seat to love, empathy and a renewed commitment to our pale blue dot.

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Gym Jordan and his unnameable cohorts are jumping up and down with excitement, but the GOP majority is TINY. They might just find that bipartisan governing is more fun and much more rewarding than wasting valuable time and effort noisily attempting to avenge invented wrongs.

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And wouldn’t it be justice if they lost that teeny tiny majority when the ones who participated—passively or actively—in J6 are indicted? 🥳🧧

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Ssh, ssh! Eyes closed, fingers crossed.

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What a lovely vision!

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JACK SMITH l! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

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Is he a lovely vision? Shining hope, at any rate.

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Spreading doubt is something the R's are very good at. I wish they would grow up and govern. This is what we pay them to do. Not play around creating seeds of doubt.

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Happy 2023, Jeri! Yours are some of the responses that challenge me and give me a giggle. Virtually hugging you!

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'Renewed commitment to our pale blue dot' - LOVE IT!

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Jeri, I wish for you a calm and easy 2023. I can only imagine how willing you are to shut the door on 2022, and step afresh into a new year.

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

Heather, your letters are ever hopeful , none more than this one. Thank you for your dedication to this very meaningful project, chronicling the political developments of our time. But more than that, thank you for buoying your readers with your belief in our democracy, our power as citizens, and our institutions which still hold, though threatened. 2023 holds promise. We must work to fulfill it.

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Carmen, your comment “made my eyes sting,” as my daughter says when something affects her deeply and she holds back the tears. Thank you, and thank you, HCR, so very much for all you do to educate me and lift my spirits when I seem to need it most.

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I use "eye sweat". I like "made my eyes sting" as well.

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‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.’” Thank you for the part you have taken on. I wish you, Buddy, and your family a 2023 (it is the morning of New Years Eve here) of kayaking, sunrises, sunsets, love, and new memories.

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Great summary of a challenging year!!

Thanks for all you do!!

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What an eloquent and powerful year’s end summary. Thank you for all that you do to inspire us, Professor Richardson, and to give us hope through history.

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You, Heather, helped so many of us "step up to the plate." Thank you for all you do and for this community. Happy new year!

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

It still has a bit of that hanging-on-with-teeth-and-fingernails feeling, but we've proven that those putatively fast-moving dictatorships aren't anywhere near as slick and flexible as their proponents claim.

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What a great Letter! Thank you so much for its brilliant clarity with a message of hope to carry into the New Year.

My wish for tonight is that you post a beautiful photograph and take some time for yourself and Buddy!

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Thank you for this brilliant summary, Professor.

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Of all the things that happened this year, perhaps the most infuriating thing to my way of thinking, was the collective actions made by this Supreme Court. With that, I’m going to shut up and practice my resolution of trying to be kind; but you get my drift.

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It struck me that the implacable villain of the year wasn't whom you might think, but - the Supreme Court.

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I look at the current SCROTUS as an extension of the attempt to overturn the election wherein the previous administration's Executive branch has corrupted both the Legislative and Judicial branches of our government.

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