Forum: Jan. 11: Republicans Are Sitting on Their Hands

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Republicans Sit Tight

It appears that among those who have thought about it (and including most of your readership), a consensus is emerging that Donald Trump is not suited to be president. The people I hear expressing that opinion are uncertain about responsibility for this dangerous state of affairs, or how it has come to pass.

I would suggest that responsibility rests with the Republican Congress. No one else is in a position to demand his nonviolent removal from office. Trump is what he is, and is not going to be any different, ever. But in the House and Senate, there are many Republicans who are capable of processing information, rendering aesthetic and ethical judgments, changing their minds, and acting in the best interests of the country. That they do not is not to their credit.

They sit tight, apparently grateful for the small favors they have been shown, and watch this catastrophe unfold. How do they expect to be remembered?

David Montgomery


A Clown’s Gold

Dangerous clown Donald Trump has been wicked bad so long I wonder if there is anything good there. Recall the saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Could it be that up in the Sierra Madre mountains, when they upend that big flat rock, revealing a venomous Gila monster waiting with tearing teeth, is it possible that also waiting under that rock is a leather poke of gold dust too? Even just a speck of gold?

Yes — there is an occasional glint of gold buried in the mounds of brown stuff Trump delivers by the tweet. Right off the bat, he was so destructive so quickly to so many on both sides of the political aisle that just a few weeks into his only term, powerful players plotted the best way to get rid of him, shorten that only term.

They still are. “Impeachment” is a word heard repeatedly on talk shows, as well as in quiet back rooms in D.C. That possibility is so present, makes you take a fresh look at Vice President Mike Pence. That silver-haired, misguided fellow has never uttered a word I agree with, yet Trump is so revolting he makes Pence almost look good.

Another glint is the voter backlash that Trump’s misogynistic, racist and homophobic actions and words have initiated: Trump-backed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore lost to a Democrat, women and blacks voted in record numbers, and across the country women in record numbers are seeking elective office in local, state and national races.

I’m forced to admit that Trump is, for all the wrong lessons, a gifted instructor. His master class is how to become a dictator. He’s fluent with the unholy arts — identifying people’s resentments and manipulating those people into falsely blaming someone else for their problems. Only if you study the instructor closely, stay aware of his methods, and remain well-informed on the subject matter he lies about will you be immune to the hate he peddles. That’s a good lesson right there.

Robert Roudebush

North Haverhill

Partnership Is in Place

We applaud the Hartford Police Department and the Upper Valley Haven for their compassionate assistance to the homeless during this severe stretch of winter. As the Jan. 4 Valley News editorial noted (“Community First: Helping Hartford’s Homeless”), Police Chief Phil Kasten’s understanding of this complex issue was key to this joint initiative.

The editorial also pondered the potential benefit of the partnership model, described in staff writer Matt Hongoltz-Hetling’s article of Dec. 26, for other issues, such as substance use disorder and mental illness.

We want to assure our Upper Valley neighbors that this kind of partnership is, in fact, occurring now. In 2015, the Public Health Council invited local police chiefs to meet and discuss expanding Crisis Intervention Team training beyond the Lebanon Police Department’s program, implemented and continued by Lt. Matt Isham in 2010 with collaboration from the New Hampshire state branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The training is an intensive, 40-hour program that prepares officers to respond effectively to mental health crisis situations. The training is built around presentations by many mental health professionals, service providers, family members, and individuals with mental illness with the express purpose of building working relationships among them. These relationships, along with better trained officers, mean those with mental illness are more apt to receive treatment rather than spend time in jail.

Chief Kasten initiated crisis intervention training at the Hartford Police Department for his officers and welcomed officers from other departments. As a result, in addition to Lebanon and Hartford, Haverhill, Hanover, Enfield and other towns now have crisis intervention-trained officers.

Building and expanding partnerships to benefit our residents is what the Public Health Council is all about. Local advocates for the National Alliance on Mental Illness also work to bring parties together to benefit those living with mental illness. We thank Lt. Isham and Chief Kasten for their leadership, and all the providers who donate professional time to this partnership.

Alice Ely

Executive Director, Public Health Council of the Upper Valley


Marjorie Matthews

Volunteer, National Alliance on Mental Illness, NH


Donna Stamper

Volunteer, National Alliance on Mental Illness, NH


Retirement Is Great

I’m reassured by Anthony Stimson’s allowance (“More on Intelligence and Guns,” Jan. 6) that I am not “that stupid” (so I can be trusted, say, with a bazooka or a mortar). But I write here not about gun issues, but about the now-retired Valley News writer and editor Dan Mackie (“Retirement Beckons, Then Wraps Me in Its Warm Embrace,” Jan. 6).

I retired myself seven years ago, and I want to tell him three things: 1. No, unless you are different from the many prevaricators who make the claim, you will not be busier than you were as a journalist. 2. It is great: I wake up and, if I want to visit my grandkids, I go do it, later, should I choose, taking a nap to recuperate. 3. I hope he doesn’t retire entirely from offering his witty, beautifully written and often moving columns, such as the one about ... retirement.

Sydney Lea

Newbury, Vt.