Forum, Aug. 5: Oppression in Palestine; Co-op Coverage; Gun Sense; Health Insurance for the People

Oppression in Palestine

To the Editor:

I am writing in deep appreciation of the letter from Mary J. Wilson in the Valley News (“The Abuse in Palestine,” July 18). I am not anti-Semitic. I have great respect for the Jewish religion and for Jewish people and their many admirable attributes. I do, however, have a serious problem with the policies of the Israeli government.

I also do not support violence by anyone. However, I feel it is not surprising that policies that have oppressed the Palestinian people for generations now have resulted in resistance. People who deal daily with having their homes and olive groves demolished, people who do not have easy mobility without dealing with checkpoints, people who have lived all their lives in refugee camps, because they have been forced to leave their homes are not apt to take such treatment with cheerful acceptance.

I am somewhat reassured by the fact that I know Jewish people in our country, and I have read articles by Jewish people in this country and in Israel, who agree that what the Israeli government is doing is just plain wrong. Robert Belenky’s letter of July 17 to the Valley News was a fine example.

I think what upsets me the most — other than the heartbreaking scale of civilian deaths — is this. I am a person of faith and a licensed pastor in the United Church of Christ, and I believe that these policies are diametrically opposed to what I know to be the values of the Jewish religion.

Betty Edson

Randolph

Co-op Coverage Was Appropriate

To the Editor:

I must take issue with the “obsession” letter to the Valley News (“The Valley News’ Obsession,” July 30).

It is my belief that community and Co-op members in particular have been well served by the reporting concerning the Co-op employee issue.

Few would be aware of, or be in a position to respond to, the recent action and practices of the Co-op management. The late and inadequate board response has been disappointing.

Steven Roland

Plainfield

Yard Sales for a Good Cause

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Enfield-Mascoma Lioness Club, we would like to thank the businesses and members of the community who participated in our recent town-wide yard sale, which took place on July 19. With a donation of $10, names of participants were put on a map that was provided for free to yard sale enthusiasts. Thank you for your donation. These donations help the club give back to the community with our service projects. We hope others in the community who held yard sales that day, but were not listed on the map, will consider joining us next year. Please visit our website for more information: http://enfield-mascomalioness.org/index.html.

Leslie Barrow

Doreen Bowlin

Penny Leveille On behalf of the Enfield-Mascoma Lioness Club

Common Sense About Guns

To the Editor:

When injuries and fatalities due to texting while driving rose, campaigns were launched and laws were passed. Not everyone complies and not everyone agrees, but people understand that this is a problem and we can talk civilly about solutions. Why then, when there are 33 gun-related homicides every day, can’t we work together to bring that number down?

According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, nearly 1.7 million children in the United States live in homes where parents store their guns unlocked. I also learned this frightening statistic — nine children and teens are shot in gun-related accidents each day (over 3,000 per year). One step that parents can take to protect our kids from these preventable tragedies is simply to ask one question before a play date: “Is there an unlocked gun in your home?” It can be uncomfortable to do this, as I have learned, but well worth the potential awkwardness. It is not personal, it’s not political. It’s not about confiscating guns — those who are trying to prevent texting-related accidents aren’t confiscating cell phones.

Common sense gun sense begins at home. Go to askingsaveskids.org for more information or find out more about what’s happening in Vermont at gunsensevt.org.

Joy Gaine

Thetford Center

Health Insurance Is for People

To the Editor:

Although the Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision deserves a lot of flak, let’s remember that America could have prevented the Hobby Lobby case from ever arising. The Hobby Lobby case exemplifies our historical folly in binding corporate health insurers to corporate employers. This arrangement benefits these corporations, but does not put living, breathing people first. By making the mistake of tying health insurance to employment, America has empowered each employer to influence whatever insurance coverage each employee-beneficiary is offered.

What if each employee of Hobby Lobby had had his personal health insurance come from some national entity such as the Social Security Administration (Medicare), active military service, Veterans Administration or even from some state entity (Medicaid or Vermont’s promised single payer)? That would have left Hobby Lobby — and every employer — out of the loop. No “middle-man” employer would have either obligation or opportunity to influence the insurance coverage of its employees.

With insurance tied to the person — not to the employer — there would be no “job lock.” Anyone — teacher, computer programmer or migrant worker, or even Dartmouth employee — could move from job to job without risking his or her insurance benefits. The Hobby Lobby decision should motivate us to look beyond the narrow question of what’s in a health insurance package to the broader issue of “Whose insurance is this, anyway?”

Let’s “get over” employer-provided coverage. It makes no sense for an employer to have the perceived moral/religious obligation — or opportunity — to affect an individual person’s health insurance.

Jim Hughes

West Fairlee