Forum, Aug. 27: Buttigieg is a new beginning

Published: 8/27/2019 11:36:06 AM
Buttigieg is a new beginning

Donald Trump could be considered the worst president America has experienced. But Republicans may have found the advantage. Republicans have recognized that we have come to the end of a political era, and it is time to let go of the old thinking and begin again.

There is only one Democratic candidate who fully gets this: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who said at the start of his campaign, “We are at the beginning of a new era.”

But it is evident that mainstream Democratic voters have not yet turned the corner as former Vice President Joe Biden is at the head of the pack. He is perhaps the candidate most linked to the distant past, a Democratic past that is as dead in the water today as the Woodstock revival.

Rural America can lead the way, says Buttigieg. But Democrats today still cluster around their candidates from the Northeast and the coasts, yearning plaintively perhaps for another Kennedy cousin or Clinton relative to appear to save them, or even Michelle Obama.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have taken inspiration from Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States. Jackson, the Tennessee rude boy, brought the rebel yell to the heartland and scared the pants off the coastal elites then as he does today. But if the Democrats want to participate they too must return to the heartland.

The crisis the Democrats face today began to show back in 2006 when they took on the strategy of Whistling Past Dixie. As political strategist Steve Jarding and Dave “Mudcat” Saunders wrote then, “Democrats cannot afford to keep writing off the South (and the heartland). If you don’t start getting a message there, if you don’t start listening to people there you can say goodbye to any notion of realigning political power and instead say hello to the numbing reality that you are relegating yourself to the status of a permanent minority party.”

It was a prescient observation. Buttigieg offers a path back.

BERNIE QUIGLEY

Haverhill

The message of Woodstockis missing

The weekend of Aug. 10 I thoroughly enjoyed returning to yesteryear by watching the documentary Woodstock. Fifty years ago, nearly 400,000 mostly young people gathered for a weekend filled with music, “peace and love.” It was labeled an iconic event demonstrating the best in human relationships.

Where did “peace and love” go? A few days ago, 400 mostly young people gathered to spew dissidence and aggression that were not characterized as constructive (“Activists block traffic in Hartford: At least 26 people cited at protest,” Aug. 15). I mean, really? How do we expect that to work in problem solving?

There are many reprehensible acts of violence and injustice involved in our trying to handle the immigration crisis. That happens when a tidal wave of increasingly distressing human events occur. Bad events worsen. Now, a large number of immigrants are in our nation illegally with overwhelming numbers more attempting to enter. They broke and continue break our law. Is this a law-abiding nation or no? Are illegal acts punishable by statute or no? Why isn’t there equal protest against employers and enforcement against their illegal activity? After all, they create the attraction that lures immigrants into enduring the challenges of their march and arrival into a perceived sanctuary.

And what happened as the Hartford Selectboard wrestled for a sensible answer to local immigration issues? Citizen tantrums ruled the night. Yet another community hearing on an important issue was unable to come together as a constructive work of “peace and love.” A diatribe of invectives set a tone only for adjournment.

Why can’t we discover and enjoy participatory freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions? Is it too much to ask for civility when dealing with justice? Isn’t incivility a loss of peace, love and justice for our entire community? Where are the icons of Woodstock when we need them?

DAVID DAVISON

White River Junction

In 2013, bipartisan billaddressed immigration issues

It is unlikely that we would be having the problems with undocumented immigrants if a 2013 bipartisan compromise immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate on a 68-32 vote, had become law.

This bill would have greatly increased funds for border security to prevent further illegal immigration while at the same time providing a 13-year pathway to citizenship with several security benchmarks for the undocumented immigrants who have been living and working in our country for years. It would also have required mandatory workplace verification by employers and an expanded, highly monitored guest worker program for areas of the economy where they are needed. Finally, it would have shifted immigration priority from a family-based to a skill-based system. Unfortunately, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, feeling pressure from their radical right wing, refused to let the Senate-passed bill come to a vote, knowing it would likely pass.

Now more than ever we need to elect a president and Congress willing to find solutions, like the 2013 immigration reform bill, rather than use this issue for purely political purposes and to continue divide our nation.

JOHN FREITAG

South Strafford

The immigrant contributionto America

Immigration continues to be a subject to inflame the American public. It is significant to remember that the situation is not new.

In the 1840s, Henry David Thoreau, after observing immigrants on the streets and hearing his friends and family fretting about the invading Irish engaged in building the railroad near them in Massachusetts, wrote in a letter, “The sturdy Irish arms that do the work are of more worth than oak or maple. Methinks I could look with equanimity upon the long street of Irish cabins … and children reveling in the genial Concord dirt, and I should still find my Walden wood and Fair Haven in their tanned and happy faces.”

One can imagine the spiteful remarks of those fixing on the current influx of people as though they were threats and destructive, whereas Thoreau saw them as contributing to an organism which is America.

HELEN T. DAVIDSON

Plainfield




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