What about peaceful protesters?

On Inauguration Day, thousands of peaceful protesters converged on Washington, yet the Inquirer covered only the violence ("America First," "Violent protests hit D.C. streets," Saturday). CNN got it right when it said the violent demonstrators "were vastly outnumbered by the thousands of nonviolent protestors." The Wall Street Journal concurred.

My husband, a supervisor with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and I, an adjunct English professor, raised signs and chanted with a sea of others (engineers, accountants, doctors, biologists, professors) on Seventh Street, standing in line for more than four hours - shoulder-to-shoulder with red-hat-clad Trump supporters - in a winter chill and drizzle. Checkpoint security rituals were surely designed to keep protesters from reaching the U.S. Navy Memorial by parade time. CNN caught that.

When a racist, bigoted man who disregards facts and argues by calling names and lobbing low insults is elected president, it's a big deal to those of us who teach reasoned argument and recognizing authoritative sources for a living. The least our hometown paper can do is cover our resistance rather than pretend we don't exist in favor of more sensationalist content.

|Robin C. Bonner, Spring Mount, rcbonner14@gmail.com

Respect begets respect

I disagree with columnist Michael Smerconish's take on the congressional boycott of the inauguration ("Lawmakers had a duty to honor office, if not the man," Sunday).

Smerconish duly noted how the GOP demeaned President Obama and disrespected the presidency. President Trump is a different story. He himself demeans and disrespects the office to which he has been elected. He has flouted conventions and trampled norms, daring anyone to stop him, refusing to deal with severe, even unconstitutional, conflicts of interest, and putting family members in positions of power. He exhibits dangerous authoritarian behavior, spouting lies and threats while positioning himself and his family to wield power and reap profits.

This is not normal. This cannot be normalized. Trump's behavior dishonors the presidency. Our congressmen refused to accommodate this vindictive, vengeful, narcissistic liar, and I commend them for that. They demanded that Trump conduct himself in a way that merits respect. Until then, he doesn't deserve it.

|Rosalind Holtzman, Elkins Park

Boycott will affect constituents

I agree with Michael Smerconish that the Philadelphia congressional delegation should not have boycotted the inauguration. His reasons are noble: respect for the office of president and the institutional process of the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our democracy. My reason is less lofty: Trump remembers his enemies, and their snub will likely affect not only their careers but the lives of their constituents, of which I am one.

|Joyce LaCrosse-Smith, Philadelphia

Sexist coverage of first lady

I am a woman of color, and the article, "Melania Trump: The first sexy first lady?" (Philly.com, Friday) made me feel horrible. I thought it was satire, at first, because it was not your usual standard of journalism.

Who cares how "sexy" she is? She is the first lady of the United States - she has the power to influence thousands of lives (as Michelle Obama did) - and is married to a horrifying, racist, sexist man, who has the most powerful position in the country. It is dangerous to write such fluff pieces to normalize Trump's existence in the White House, because he has described the sexual assault of women and is anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican.

The article, though written by a woman, degraded Melania Trump and analyzed her "sexiness" to the male eye, when she is a woman in a position of political and social power. To talk about how high the slit on her dress was and how "sexy" she was compared to other first ladies was sexist and useless. What is going on in the world is dangerous to me, a brown woman, and dangerous to a lot of other people who are proud Philadelphians of color.

|Rekha Shankar, Berwyn

Misguided slogan

In the years leading up to World War II, almost a million people joined the America First movement, which preached solidarity with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and the belief that the rich Jews who controlled movie making, the media, and the corporate world were leading America to war. Charles Lindbergh said that, and many Americans agreed. Frightening, but true.

You would think that our newly elected President Trump would be aware of the feelings that phrase arouses among Jews who are keenly aware of their persecution during this historical period. The English language is rich with ways to say what you mean without invoking the specter of fascism, Nazism, and anti-Semitism. If Trump wishes to heal and unite a divided country, he can start by disavowing this divisive and hateful phrase.

|Saul Lichtine, Voorhees

A sense of hope and change

There has been much dissent about Donald Trump's inauguration and worry about what he will do once in office. But as an Air Force veteran who holds a master's degree in political science and has worked in the communications field for more than 40 years, I have an optimism and hope about the future that I have not felt in a long time. You can actually feel the energy of a new era, in which the shackles of government overreach and political correctness will free the entrepreneurial engines of the nation.

As an outsider and populist, Donald Trump has many foes who have a vested interest in the status quo, including Republicans, Democrats, the media, Hollywood elites, and even the federal bureaucracy. Not since Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" has so much of the establishment been stacked against one person. As in the movie, however, I pray that right will prevail, that elected officials will pull together for what is best for the country, and that the United States will renew its unique position as that "shining city upon a hill."

|Michael Corey, Browns Mills, xmdorey@aol.com

Democracy relies on a free press

Long ago, I became a newspaper reporter, drawn to the profession by Watergate-era idealism. My news career lasted two years. One evening, an angry crowd chased me out of a public meeting I was covering, calling me dishonest and threatening physical harm. It wasn't worth the $250 a week I was grossing, so I made a career in corporate communications, from which I've since retired.

Witnessing the Trump administration's shameful campaign of gaslighting and deceit, I have great sympathy for what journalists are going through. It's vital that the Fourth Estate make these antics abundantly clear to its readers and viewers and deny Trump and his reprehensible minions their goal of confusing and dividing the public they claim to serve.

Trump and his kind must not succeed at undermining the work of an objective and uninhibited press. The survival of our democracy depends on it.

|Larry Stone, Endwell, N.Y., stonelarry21@gmail.com

Start with the small things

President Trump says he wants to help the common man. Here's a few things he can take care of with the stroke of a pen, or a tweet to the right cabinet member, that would make my life easier every day:

Set a standard for chargers and connectors for all cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices.

Set a standard for batteries for handheld construction tools.

Ban set-top cable boxes that are now necessary for each TV in my house. One descrambler in the house should be sufficient for all.

Force the automotive industry to standardize the onboard diagnostics so the average mechanic can fix his own car again.

These small changes might not make America great again, but they would make it a simpler place to live.

|Anthony D. Porreca, Abington, anthonydporreca@outlook.com