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Forum, Jan. 28: And the Children Shall Lead


Saturday, January 27, 2018
And the Children Shall Lead

I am only 9 years old and I do not want to spend the next three years of my life with Donald Trump at the head of the country, especially because I am female. I don’t like that he is against women and because he judges people by the color of their skin. I feel like we should have a protest against Trump. I feel he should be fired from president. How was Trump raised to be like this? I wish we had a president who is fair to us and the world.

Ella Sussman

Lebanon

And the Children Shall Lead II

Today my 9-year-old granddaughter, Ella, wrote her first-ever letter to the editor. She and I often talk about things in the paper. Sometimes it’s just a funny Garfield cartoon. Today it was her demand for an explanation of the political cartoon published Jan. 16 showing Martin Luther King Jr. dropping his I Have a Dream speech into the trash as he approaches “U.S. Customs” with signs directing Norwegians in one direction and people from “s---hole countries” in the other.

Ella had strong opinions about this. I showed her the Forum page, explaining how she could share her own ideas there. I am motivated by her letter to write my own as well.

Ella, like many children and grown-ups, is distressed by what she hears and sees coming from our leaders, and especially our president. She expressed this distress during the campaign, on the day Donald Trump was elected, and she has kept her eyes and ears open ever since.

How do we process these events in our own minds, and how do we help our children and grandchildren process them? Throwing away his speech in the cartoon might well feel like act of despair on the part of King. Despair, anger and fear are common themes these days.

One of Ella’s favorite presidential quotes is, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Different president, different times. Ella says we should have a protest, and I say she is correct. And so we do protest. We marched in the Women’s March in Montpelier. We have done volunteer work for people we worry will be left behind. Ella now puts aside $1 of her allowance every week for a charity of her choice.

Martin Luther King was a man of action as well as words. My response to Ella is for us to continue to find ways to live our lives with dignity, honor and morality, and to spread the word in as many ways as we can. I am grateful to my granddaughter for helping lead the way.

Bonnie Kimmelman

Lebanon

Penalize Lawmakers for Shutdown

I am writing to express my frustration over current and past government shutdowns in which members of the military and other government workers are suffering loss of pay and disruption of their lives through no fault of their own.

Since the threat of voters not re-electing those government officials responsible for the shutdown does not seem to be a timely enough or a direct enough consequence, I propose a new federal law that says the president, the vice president, senators and representatives shall not be paid their salary nor reimbursed for their travel or other expenses for any time when the government is shut down because Congress could not to come to an agreement on a budget or other legislative matters.

If a shutdown continues for more than one week, taxpayer contributions to the lawmakers’ generous health care plan will cease for the length of the shutdown and will not be paid back after the shutdown ends.

Thank you for your consideration.

Veronica Colby

Lebanon

The Real Sickness of the Society

In a Jan. 9 interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, the Rev. William Barber, president and senior lecturer at the nonprofit organization Repairers of the Breach, said, “If we get fixated on a person, rather than do what Dr. King said, examine the societal moral crisis that creates characters like a Trump ... that empowers them, then we’re really in trouble. And we have to deal with the sickness of the society.”

Quite a mouthful, but I think what Barber’s saying is that, without the crises, Donald Trump wouldn’t necessarily have been empowered. Sure, we’d be better off without him, but that wouldn’t change climate deniers’ affronts to the ecosystem, corporate America’s rape of resources, nor the elite’s stranglehold on money diverted from the lower classes. Those evils were not brought on us by Trump. For that we must blame the real drivers of government.

The Tribune News Service opinion column “Our Military Budget Is Bloated,” published in the Jan. 12 Valley News, says Trump signed a military spending bill allocating nearly $700 billion, ignoring a spending cap set at $590 billion.

The difference isn’t due to the Pentagon, but the military contractor lobby. The privatization of our government is one of the most maleficent symptoms of society’s sickness, the sickness being a fixation on capitalism at the expense of those less fortunate; the quest to satisfy the fixation is the abuser-capitalist’s consuming drive.

I’ve written more than once in this space that we must place the blame of our eroding democracy squarely on those supply-side/trickle-down economists who fund political action committees, the GOP, Trump and the alt-right. Our resources are finite, but the abuser-capitalists are committed to copping an ever more costly financial high.

Our duty to country and planet is to wean the spendthrifts off their fix, and convince them it would be in their best interest to invest in sustainable goods and practices. How? Vote deep-pocketed officials out, cash-starved ones in. Once in office, remind them we’re watching.

Kevin McEvoy Leveret

White River Junction

Sorry, Vikings Fans

I find it amazing that, with our country struggling in so many ways, the Patriots and the Eagles will be in the Super Bowl.

I know that God does have control of everything, even sports.

Rose Smith

Lebanon