Forum, April 17: Children Deserve a Chance

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Children Deserve a Chance

Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ”

There are 15,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect in the state of New Hampshire annually. Childhood should be a time of wonder, growth, safety and unconditional love. Yet, for many children in our state, their young lives are the exact opposite. Abuse and neglect of children continues to be a crisis and at times remains invisible until it is too late.

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of New Hampshire is in need of volunteers who care deeply to act as a voice for our children. Please consider becoming a CASA volunteer. To learn more about how you can help, please call 603-626-4600 or go to casanh.org/advocate. Training starts in Lebanon on June 8 and new volunteers are urgently needed. As a CASA volunteer you will be able to act on behalf of the child, but also facilitate providing treatment and rehabilitation services for parents to stop the destructive cycle and help ensure the child’s safety. All children deserve a chance to have a happy childhood.

Mimi Weinstein


Let Readers Choose Cartoonist

The Forum has run quite a few letters in recent years about the low quality of Glenn McCoy’s political cartoons — concepts, artwork and text — plus his predominantly mean spirit. With a wide variety of artists featuring both conservative and liberal themes — and note that the most talented work both sides of the aisle — it’s a mystery why the Valley News continues to feature solely McCoy on the right.

A quick internet search for “conservative cartoonists” turned up many who are better than McCoy. I hadn’t heard of any of them, but each draws better, makes more incisive political criticism and wields a sharper tool than Glenn McCoy. They’re funnier, too — many of them make me smile or laugh, even when I wince because they’re skewering a politician or issue I support, and that’s a good trick.

The editorial page is where a newspaper showcases its best op-ed features. The Valley News does a good job of presenting writers who seem to represent accurately the Upper Valley’s political distribution — perhaps 75-25 liberal and conservative — but strikes out consistently on right-leaning cartoons.

Valley News readers deserve better, and why don’t you ask us? Show your readers some higher-quality work and let us vote for our top choice for a conservative cartoonist.

Michael Whitman


Trapping Is Cruelty

In reply to Ralph Kurash’ Forum letter, “Hats Off to Young Trappers,” April 5: I cannot believe you can be so blind to the cruelty you are sugarcoating for young trappers. You say that “the greater reward is watching the sun come up, anticipation approaching the next sunset, and becoming a student of nature.”

While a trapper is reveling in anticipation, an animal is caught in a trap and writhing in pain and agony somewhere, trying to bite off his own paw or leg to get free. Then he will die an awful death. Is that what becoming a student of nature is?

The barbarism of regarding animals as things (or products) should have gone out with the covered wagons.

Melinda Hunt


A Better Health Care System

I have no pretensions that “Trumpcare” is actually dead, and that it will not see new light this year, and that the Congress will not see fit to further gut protections for the poor and working class. But now that we celebrate the bill’s initial defeat, we can begin again to not just defend the Affordable Care Act, but dream of and demand a just and equitable health care system.

 I want to frame this letter with two quotes, both from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The first is from a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, where he stated that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.”

 The second is from his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, in which he writes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ... Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

 The American Health Care Act was going to leave an extra 24 million people uninsured, but that number needs to be added to the 28 million people currently uninsured today under the Affordable Care Act. That totals over 50 million people, representing roughly one-sixth of the population. Not to mention the countless people who are unable to see a doctor because of the co-pays and deductibles, and the many people forced into bankruptcy over medical debt. The injustice in the health care system cannot be ignored.

The Vermont Workers’ Center and others have put forward a solution to our health care crisis: equitably funded universal health care. Join us on April 23 at 2 p.m., when we are hosting a health screening to do basic tests of blood pressure and blood sugar. This will be followed by a panel of movement leaders fighting for justice everywhere. The event will be at the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction.

Griffin Shumway