Letter: When Men Were Sons and Brothers

When Men Were Sons, Brothers

To the Editor:

It’s interesting how often people assume that humans lived in male-run nuclear families even in 800,000 B.C., as is the case in a Feb. 8 Valley News article on the ancient footprints in Britain, including those of two children and an adult male, which is described as “a family foraging” on a riverbank — perhaps on a nice cozy Sunday outing.

Anyone interested in an anthropological study of prehistoric humans will learn that people all over the world lived in groups where all the males cohabited with all the females, much like bonobo monkey colonies today, and marriage was unknown. A female spirit was worshipped, and males were seen as sons and brothers, not fathers. The nuclear family emerged only around 6,000 B.C., when people finally became conscious of the role of sperm, and men proceeded to imprison women in inescapable unions so as to ensure the paternity of sons. Feminist historians believe that the Trojan War was in fact fought over the “marriage project” — that the issue was whether a woman should be imprisoned in marriage or not. Needless to say, the pro-marriage forces (the Greeks) won! But it took a bloody 10-year struggle.

Nan Bourne


Too Tolerant of Drug Use

To the Editor:

Once again, Gov. Peter Shumlin has made of point of publicizing what his administration is doing to expand services in Vermont for the treatment of drug addiction. And once again, he has taken the opportunity to be dismissive of the role that law enforcement has to play in combating this problem, and to claim that addiction is merely a disease to be treated. I suppose if he had his way, all laws in the United States against the use and possession of drugs would be repealed, and the new health-care act would be amended to force insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of addicts. But he, of course, would have no takers for that kind of “single-payer” plan. And besides, addicts rarely have health insurance.

If I were a Vermont police chief, or sheriff, or state’s attorney, I bet I would get really tired of hearing this message.

Vermont does not have the funds to meet all the needs for the treatment of addiction that exist there. And it never will given the spread of the disease. The governor admitted as much in his January address to the Legislature. Nor will treatment do anything to stem the “flow of new addicts,” as he calls it, not even with “early intervention.” Young people who abuse drugs, and who ipso facto, violate laws, generally are neglectful of their health and do not go to see doctors to have their blood pressure checked, let alone to have their drug use monitored.

The most useful thing that Gov. Shumlin could do to stem the tide of drug abuse in Vermont would be to stop calling for the legalization of marijuana. If he does not think that that is a potent mind-altering drug; if he does not think its use is habit forming and can lead to brain damage; if he does not think that this is a form of substance abuse; if he does not think that it lies at the heart of an ethos of substance abuse in Vermont; and if he does not think that marijuana use serves as a bridge to other forms of substance abuse, particularly the abuse of opiate-based prescription painkillers, then he is either deluding himself, or merely trying to appeal to a public that is tolerant of illegal drug use. In either case, he should leave office.

Tyler P. Harwell

New London

Sharon Academy Grooms Leaders

To the Editor:

Vermont’s population is aging. Our towns need young people with fresh eyes and energy who can solve problems, create businesses and run meetings. Without it, the foundation of our democracy and communities is threatened.

One little school, The Sharon Academy, is quietly preparing our young people to be Vermont’s future community leaders and innovators. TSA provides the space, and creates a culture, where students are encouraged to take healthy risks. As a result, TSA is a place where you will find student leadership thriving: student-run electives, student-run theatre productions, and two student trustee positions on The Sharon Academy Board of Trustees.

One special student initiative is The Sharon Academy Sugaring Project, which began as a dream of two TSA freshmen, now seniors. They dreamt of a sustainable sugaring operation where the Vermont tradition of producing maple syrup could be shared. This spring, the dream will be fully realized when the first gallon of maple syrup from the Sugaring Project is bottled. With some outside-the-box thinking, the two boys raised $4,000 to purchase an evaporator and tapping supplies. They sold shares, and over the course of three years, each $100 investor will receive two gallons of maple syrup to pay back their investment. The two boys not only run the sugaring operation, but also lead an elective to teach students the tradition of maple syrup production. They even have a succession plan for their dream to continue after they graduate this year.

The Sharon Academy is a valuable and much-needed educational model. Our communities and state must support it and schools like it, because Vermont needs innovators and people who solve problems. As a TSA alumna and current board member, I am proud to say TSA is preparing its students to do just that.

The Sharon Academy encourages you to stop by for a visit, preferably on a Tuesday, so you can see our student-run, all school meeting in action!

Heidi Conner