Forum, Aug. 12: Finally, a Democrat Speaks; Profit in Public Service; Headrest Is an Asset

Finally, a Democrat Speaks

To the Editor:

Finally, a prominent Democrat, in this case Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, has had the integrity to publicly condemn the CIA spying on members of the Senate. It’s about time! Some things are just plain wrong, and it shouldn’t matter who is in the White House or what party he or she belongs to. Of course, I’m still waiting for a Democrat who thinks it’s wrong for the IRS to target Americans from one party, or tap our phones, or monitor our email.

Jim Newcomb

North Haverhill

Profit and Public Service

To the Editor:

“Either Wall Street or K Street (will) pay him a pretty good chunk of change.” So writes Ivan Adler on Eric Cantor, the former House GOP majority leader, as the latter exits Congress. Lucrative endeavors await Congressmen and women once their service to the nation has concluded.

Here is how we change the culture in Washington — the culture everyone whines about but no one seems to really want to fix: we compel our representatives to write into law prohibitions on any form of remuneration that can be traced back to one’s time in office — a post-political life of pro-bono service to the country, with an annual and relatively generous state-sponsored stipend and a heartfelt acknowledgment of thanks for a job well done.

Of course, this will never happen. No one wants to face the reality that it is the profit motive that is destroying our democracy. We blame the Super PACs and the Citizen’s United decision for whittling away at the fiber of our democracy, but that is a red herring. Truth is, even those representatives who oppose such institutions and decisions benefit financially from their self-proclaimed service to the nation. Democrat and Republican alike — most have entered the profession with an eye toward building their resumes as well as their bank account balances.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to the idea of making a profit. And, I tend to agree with those who say that a free-enterprise system, while flawed, honors the human spirit in ways that a state-controlled system does not. But that does not change the fact that the profit motive is a corrupting force. When profit is involved, decisions are made that often push morality, truth, compassion and the rule of law to the sideline.

If we truly want to live in a nation whose leaders are guided in their decision-making by what is right and compassionate, and fair-minded and honorable, who speak the truth because there is indeed no longer any reason not to, then we must eliminate the profit motive from national public service.

Dan Weintraub


Zagar Deserves Support

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Teo Zagar, our Vermont state representative. He represents House District 4-1, for the towns of Barnard, Pomfret, Quechee and West Hartford.

Teo reached out and helped me with an issue I had. He continued to support, research and help me through the many months of my journey. He did this with knowledge, kindness and understanding.

He is the kind of representative we need in this community supporting us and advocating for us in the House of Representatives.

Gwen Martin


Headrest Is an Asset in Lebanon

To the Editor:

Headrest has been in Lebanon since 1971. As the crow flies, it is few wing flaps from Abbott Street. I don’t recall the residents of Headrest harming anyone from Lebanon and nearby. Some of these people are from broken homes, are returning veterans, youths with family problems, or may have lost their homes to fires, floods, etc.

Headrest’s suicide hot line has helped save lives of young and old. These people voluntarily came to Headrest to seek help. Those who need help and do not seek it from Headrest or similar institutions are more threatening to us. They are still out there lost and roaming.

I founded and brought North Country Thresholds & Decisions to Headrest. I directed and taught the program there for five years. I was never once afraid of any resident. They all treated me with kindness and respect. They were each anxious to learn how they could change their situations and become productive citizens.

My classes were sometimes held at Headrest. The night classes were held in The Haven in White River Junction. I often transported Headrest clients to and from my night classes. Every client was polite, eager to learn and a pleasure to know.

Lebanon should consider helping these people find bigger and better housing at the former Hannah House. Who knows who will buy Hannah House if Headrest doesn’t? The new tenant may be much less desirable.

Betty Abbott


Help in a Time of Need

To the Editor:

On July 18, I fell at the BJ’s store in Lebanon. I just want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the BJ’s and American Red Cross employees and anyone else who helped me that day. All of them never left my side. Compassion was overwhelming. They eased my embarrassment, and I just want to thank you all.

Sandra Manouvelos

South Royalton