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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign that reads, ‘Women for Trump,’ as he speaks during a campaign rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Oct. 12, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign that reads, ‘Women for Trump,’ as he speaks during a campaign rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Oct. 12, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 13: Trump’s words will hurt us. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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His words will hurt us

Re Trump May Fade Away, But His Vile Talk Will Linger (Oct. 12): I agree with Elizabeth Renzetti that the tone of the presidential campaign has sunk to an alarming new low of sexist, racist mudslinging, which bodes ill for the future. But I fear for democracy itself. Donald Trump’s charges of electoral rigging, the constant debasing of Hillary Clinton as “crooked” and calls to “lock her up,” Mr. Trump’s hesitation when asked (at the end of the first debate) if he would accept the outcome of the election, the woman at an Iowa rally who said she’s ready for a revolution if Mr. Trump isn’t elected, the hacking and leaking of e-mails, the hyperbole and vitriol of partisan commentators: It makes one wonder whether democracy can survive.

A scary prospect indeed.

Joyce Rowlands, Toronto

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Donald Trump said his comments about sexual assault were only words, but words have an impact. As a survivor of sexual assault who has post-traumatic stress disorder, his words make my throat close and my chest tighten.

That’s because Mr. Trump’s words remind me of two men who were caught on tape “locker room bantering” about me when I was 18. A few hours later, one of them raped me.

Mr. Trump’s words are an example of the permission slips some men give each other to dehumanize and hurt other people. Now that Mr. Trump has turned the American election into a referendum on sexual assault, survivors’ words can make all the difference.

D.M. Ditson, Regina

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Ego and self-interest

Re ‘Shackles’ Off (Oct. 12): Donald Trump, meet Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party. While polar opposites politically (Mr. Corbyn being an unreconstructed socialist and Mr. Trump a self-proclaimed billionaire), both, without any qualms, have split their parties and in so doing made themselves unelectable.

It is even more ironic that both are appealing to the same disaffected constituencies – largely “angry white men” from regions hard hit by economic change and an irrational fear of immigration.

Mr. Corbyn was desperately unpopular with his MPs, but by digging deep into Labour’s union and socialist grassroots, which mobilized the sign-up of a record number of new party members, he won a renewed mandate.

In so doing, however, he has consigned the party to the margins in any upcoming election.

Similarly, Mr. Trump’s boast of “shackles” off and his declaration that he is now free of the party’s restraints will leave the GOP split between Tea Party/Trumpers and the so-called establishment wing, and facing the same dire electoral prospects.

Whether left or right politically, ego and self-interest are the common denominator.

Richard Cooper, Ottawa

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At this point, even if everything Donald Trump says about her is true, Hillary Clinton is only the second-worst candidate running.

Kevin Riemer, Pointe-Claire, Que.

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Democracy reformed

Re Referendums: Democracy’s Blight? (editorial, Oct. 11): Elections belong to the people and they should be consulted on electoral reform, but they should only be consulted after they have had a chance to experience an alternative. It is a much fairer choice when we’re allowed to choose between two “knowns” rather than a known and an unknown.

Ask a simple question on the ballot in two subsequent elections and you’ll have a more valid understanding about what Canadians want.

A referendum before-the-fact is unreasonable and unfair; consultation after-the-fact is both reasonable and fair.

Allan McDonell, Orleans, Ont.

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Under the current first-past-the-post system Canada has become an example of responsible government to the world. With our system, parties at election time outline their policies and plans in broad strokes and voters choose a platform that, by and large, they approve of and the country, generally speaking, moves forward.

Under PR, a government becomes all things to all people in a system where horse trading and compromise can derail positive and timely action. Worse still, under certain circumstances one-issue parties whose policies otherwise would never, and rightly so, see the light of day have a platform disproportionate to their support among the electorate.

Frank King, Sydney River, N.S.

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Whiteness …

On Saturday, Margaret Wente’s The Perilous Whiteness Of … Pumpkins? properly ripped into the absurd, but disturbingly politically correct academic work masquerading as serious research, projects often supported on the public’s dime.

Two days later, along comes Denise Balkissoon to tell us about Robin DiAngelo, Ms. Balkissoon’s featured California expert, who informs us that “whiteness” must be deconstructed for our own good (Whiteness Is A Racial Construct. It’s Time To Take It Apart – Oct. 10).

All of us “white control group” types are complicit in our “privilege.” With effort, we can overcome our “fear” and “fragility.” In time, we will build the necessary “stamina” to make sustained use of “white” in conversation.

I hope Ms. Wente laughed as hard as I did at the beautiful irony of the back-to-back timing of these two articles.

Some of us “whiteness” deniers actually live our lives without worrying about contrived sociological labels, ones meaningless to anyone striving (and not always succeeding) to simply be a good person. We struggle on, thinking that trying to treat everyone we meet the same way that we would like to be treated is a good rule.

But such simplistic thinking would destroy Prof. DiAngelo’s carefully constructed academic research. Best not let it get around.

Bryan Davies, Whitby, Ont.

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Aleppo air lift

Re Destruction Of Aleppo Marks Obama’s Failures In Mideast (Oct. 8): It is impossible to disagree with Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson’s critique of the failure of Barack Obama’s performance in the Syrian crisis.

At the very least, NATO could be air-lifting relief into Aleppo, as was done at the end of the Second World War to relieve the Dutch among others. Humanitarian action on that scale would also be a strong signal to the Russians.

Nicholas Tracy, associate, Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society; Kingston

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Ticket to ride

Re Obama Renews Pitch To Send Humans To Mars By 2030s (Oct. 12): If U.S. President Barack Obama wants to put a man on Mars by 2030, why not get an early start? Send Donald Trump. Now.

L.C.S. Owen, Sackville, N.B.

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