Forum, July 10: My Declaration of Independent Thinking

Monday, July 09, 2018
Declaration of Independent Thinking

I sometimes receive “funny” things by email from certain people. Often they are images intended to bash entire groups of people who might think differently. Today it was almost nothing but that. I don’t care if someone has certain ideas or opinions, if they actually thought things through themselves and came to those conclusions. But simply parroting someone else is another matter.

So I finally felt like writing back with my two cents, especially for the Fourth of July. Here’s my reply:

“All right. I’ve laughed at some of these, but here’s what I think as we celebrate July 4: Those who really think the source of all of our problems is just the Democratic Party, or any party, are unable to hear, speak or see, or are just getting opinions from the guy on the next barstool.

“And those who think it’s wrong or ‘un-American’ to disagree with something, or to dislike a president: Maybe they should move to someplace where it’s not allowed, like North Korea or Iran. Do you think it’s a coincidence that free speech is the first amendment?

“How are we ever supposed to understand each other, or anything else, if we only listen to people who feed us what they think we want to hear. There are people who make their living playing to that, and we’re suckers to fall for it.

“That’s mind control.

“Do you want to be told what to think by some overpaid clown in the media, or by your buddy? We’re more polarized than ever, and it does us no good, but our enemies must love it. “Divide and conquer” as they say. Why play their game?

“Please open your eyes, ears and minds, look at the whole picture, and for your sake and all of us, think for yourself. Thank you.”

Happy birthday, USA. It’s a good time to think, individually, about what it truly means to be free — and free-thinking.

Mike Read


A Dislike of Large Metal Objects

Throughout the three decades that I’ve known Dick Mackay, he has demonstrated a perennial distaste for two categories of large metal objects.

The first includes the large overhead stanchions holding highway directional signs (“Some Downtown Design Advice,” June 28).

He may or may not be aware of it, but the location and size of these signs is specified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be legible at certain distances, depending on the speed of traffic. Recently the font on the interstate signs was changed to make them more legible. Since White River Junction is at the confluence of U.S. Route 4, U.S. Route 5, Interstate 89 and Interstate 91, as well as Vermont Route 14, the likelihood of removing any more of these signs is minimal.

The second category of large metal objects he detests: railroad tracks.

I believe if he had his way he’d tear them all up and replace them with recreational trails. Admittedly, it’s about 80 years too late for his Comfort Inn to benefit from the Woodstock Railroad spur that used to run to the site of the State Fair Grounds. That was torn up in the 1930s, to be followed in fairly short order by the Twin State Airport in White River Junction, the alignment of whose runway closely coincided with Oak Street.

The hangar was by the building now housing Rexel Distribution, and the terminal near the building now housing Cantore’s Crossroads Cafe. Ironically, at least two of the airlines serving the old Twin State Airport were subsidiaries of New England railroads.

There is a disturbing trend in the Adirondack and Catskill regions of New York to attempt to tear up operating common carrier and tourist railroads in favor of recreational trails.

However, trains will be with us for some time to come, so get used to seeing them around and being careful in the vicinity of active tracks. There is even a “Trails to Rails” movement which advocates rebuilding previously torn-up rail lines for movement of freight, primarily minerals.

William A. Wittik


Roger Williams’ Big Idea

Roger Williams’ 1644 idea of separating church and state is vital today. The Rev. Billy Graham, in his 58-year ministry, never focused on the state, but on the church preaching Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life to transform millions of lives.

By contrast, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to mix the church into the state by quoting Romans 13, saying, “God has ordained the government for his purposes.” Three Forum letters on June 30 joined that swirl of church and state.

For Roger Williams, the church made good citizens and the state kept order. The state could hardly expect its people to obey because the Bible said so. That’s a cart before a horse.

Don Kivell


A Few Tokes Over the Line

Regarding the photo package about Vermont becoming the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana (“Vermont’s Recreational Cannabis Law Goes Into Effect,” July 2): The caption noted that the law does not set up a system to tax or regulate production, and adds, “With no provisions in the law for pot shops, users must grow it themselves or buy it from illicit dealers.”

I think the Vermont Legislature was smoking something when the law was crafted — and when it was passed.

Marcella Logue


The Money Machine Talks

What the world needs is fewer big corporations. Small business has a culture of responsibility because it is small and local. Big business, however, is a money machine without concern for anything except money.

Because “money talks,” these corporations are calling the shots. This administration supports them and will ultimately “Make America Regret.”

Nancy Wightman