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Forum, July 3: Look for racism, don’t be defensive

Published: 7/2/2020 10:00:20 PM
Modified: 7/2/2020 10:00:10 PM
Look for racism, don’t be defensive

A necessary step in addressing racism is for people to see that racism is something we are all participating in. If the first reaction is defensiveness, then the fear of being called racist is larger than the concern for people being affected by racism.

This is easy to solve. Just don’t take it as an insult. It’s like having weeds in your garden; find them and pull them out. It’s almost impossible to be free of prejudice, and the racism built into so many of our institutions — banking, policing, education, politics, real estate — can be invisible if you’re taught not to look. It is more important to look for it than to defend your ego.

Just because someone’s intentions are good doesn’t mean the impact is not negative. And yes, someone can still be a nice person and not hate anyone and still help uphold a racist system.

Now, think about a kid at school. The principal says, yes, there’s a problem with a few racists, but I don’t like the way some people use “coercive measures,” some of which are “falsified,” when discussing it. This kid now knows that the people in charge of the school think that a couple of hundred years of racism is less of a problem than a week of looting, that “protesters” equal “rioters,” and that addressing the fact that Black people rightly distrust the police equals choosing Black people over other human beings. This is the message the principal sends to those kids.

It’s not useful to force everyone to carry a Black Lives Matter sign, and the free speech issues can be discussed forever. But Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley chose to state publicly that she’d support the movement if only its members were just nicer about it. This needs to be pointed out as a problem.

SUSAN JOHNSON

Lebanon

An allegory of the human condition

In the 1940s, the French Algerian city of Oran on the Mediterranean Coast was quarantined, with armed guards at the gates to shoot any inhabitant who tried to escape the bubonic plague, which had ravished the city for many months. So wrote Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in his acclaimed novel, The Plague.

At one point in the novel, Dr. Rieux, head of one of the city’s plague hospitals, is talking with two of his medical volunteers about heroism in the concept of those fighting the plague. The doctor says there is no heroism involved, that the only means of fighting a plague is common decency. When asked what he means by “common decency,” the doctor says that for him it consists of “doing my job.”

And so, what does “common decency” and “doing my job” mean to those of us who are not, like Dr. Rieux, on the front lines in this year of COVID-19? Could it be that common decency means doing our job of social distancing, wearing a mask in public, hand washing and sanitizing, giving emotional and financial support to our neighbors?

It is said that The Plague was written by Camus as an allegory of the human condition, and that never changes.

HERBERT PREM JR.

Hanover

The meek will inherit the Earth

A few years ago, while on my way to Nashua, N.H., I was listening to The Diane Rehm Show on New Hampshire Public Radio. She was talking with two sisters who said they worked part time and, with the help of their parents, were able to go to college. They were discussing what the difference was between a conservative and a liberal.

While the sisters were in college, they learned the difference. This is what they said: “If you were hungry, a liberal would give you a fish to eat. A conservative would give you a fishing pole.”

This reminds me of a story I had heard about a man who roamed the country living off handouts and the land. His only clothes were a robe and a pair of sandals. This man prayed for all the people, rich or poor. He was preaching God’s word to everyone who would listen. He came upon a fishing village and the people were crying because there were no more fish to eat. So, by raising his hands, he filled all their nets and baskets with fish.

Not being religious, I would think that Republicans and evangelicals have been praying to a liberal.

God and Jesus are not just here to serve hypocrites. They are here to serve all mankind. As Jesus said, “The meek will inherit the Earth.” After the Republicans get done destroying it, who would want it?

Your heart is where God and Jesus live, not in your politics or your guns.

ROBERT POLLARD

Enfield

Denny Ruprecht is well-informed

The news is out in the Upper Valley, good news. State Rep. Denny Ruprecht, of Landaff, N.H., now serving the Grafton 15 district in his first term and one of the youngest representatives in state history, is not leaving the political arena as he had planned. Instead, he has chosen to run for a second term, this time to represent the Grafton 3 district, which includes the towns of Orford and Piermont.

It’s good news for several reasons. Ruprecht is an intelligent, open-minded, accomplished and actively engaged young person who is now also pursuing his college education while he serves his constituents at the state level. I’m pleased to say I know him well and admire and respect him and his abilities. He won’t be running against Ed Rajsteter, of Haverhill, who has announced he is seeking the District 15 spot on the Democratic ticket. Rajsteter is also an intelligent, accomplished open-minded fellow, and also engaged actively in community and county affairs. And I’m pleased to say I know him and admire and respect him and his abilities.

It will be great to have them both representing our area in our Statehouse. Further good news: Grafton County Commissioner Linda Lauer has made the challenging decision to step up to the bat again and run for another term.

Ruprecht approached his decision to stay in public office as a state representative in his usual manner: with well-informed thoughtfulness about the new set of challenges we all face in these unprecedented times. “As we look to re-opening our state and economic recovery, I understand that we have a tough road ahead,” he wrote on his social media page. “If these past few months have shown us anything, they’ve reminded us of our shared purpose and common cause as Granite Staters.”

Right on, Denny Ruprecht, and ride on.

ROBERT ROUDEBUSH

Haverhill

Urging yes vote on ‘Medicare for All’

I am writing to urge my fellow Hanover residents to vote yes on Article 26, a resolution to support “Medicare for All” legislation, at Hanover Town Meeting on Tuesday.

When we seek medical care, we expect the best treatment possible. As a medical student, my goal is to be caring for you and your family in the future. In order for me to do so, the health care system must change. Supporting a single-payer system guarantees that many obstacles faced by hospitals, physicians and patients are removed.

I fear for my future patients who will be denied life-saving treatments and medications due to our system of private insurance.

Together we can end our current system of inefficiencies and unfairness and protect our future.

Receiving effective health care is a human right that should not be subject to the conditions of our employment or economic status. Medicare for All will ensure that we will all have access to preventive treatments, instead of seeking medical care in emergency situations, when disease has already taken root.

The data are clear: A single-payer system improves both the health of individuals and the quality of care, all while reducing spending on health care.

Vote in favor of this resolution and support effective health care for yourself and your loved ones.

NICOLE RATNAPALA

Hanover

Vote for a rational health care system

Twice postponed, Hanover’s Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday. The “drive-in” format will be unique and creative. And there will be an opportunity for the residents of Hanover to cast a vote for sanity and compassion by voting yes on Article 26.

That article says that our current patchwork of health insurance programs for Americans is confusing, inefficient, unfair, costly and biased. Other nations have learned that the only way to control costs and reduce disparities is to cover everyone in a single insurance pool. “Medicare for All” is a well-researched way for the U.S. to achieve the same benefits. The American insurance industry is pulling the wool over our eyes by leading us to think that we like our current system. To the contrary, numerous studies show that everyone except the very wealthy favors a Medicare for All system, including the majority of doctors. All we lack is the political will.

A yes vote on Article 26 will direct our representatives in Congress to vote for the excellent bills that are up for consideration. We have to let them know that we the people have the courage to stand up to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. They should, too. Please show up on Tuesday to vote for a rational health care system.

DONALD KOLLISCH

Hanover

‘Medicare for All’ will benefit all

For uninsured Americans, the only option for seeking health care is also the most expensive one: the emergency room. It is for this reason that universal health care is predicted to actually lower the cost of health care in the U.S., which is the highest in the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, one of them being the way we think about health care. However, the pandemic is not only a health emergency, it is a socioeconomic one as well. More than 10 million Americans have lost their jobs, and thus their health insurance, due to the pandemic, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of poverty and homelessness, among other things.

Maybe this pandemic has affected you in such a manner, and maybe it hasn’t. What is undeniable, however, is that our community — whether it be ourselves or our neighbors, friends or co-workers — is hurting.

This pandemic has shown us that now, more than ever, is the time to prioritize our most vulnerable populations, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We urge Hanover voters to vote yes on Article 26, a resolution in support of “Medicare for All,” at Town Meeting on Tuesday.

This will ensure that Americans who need affordable health care will receive it, including coverage of prescription drugs, outpatient and inpatient services, and preventive care. Regardless of insurance status, this resolution will benefit all Hanover residents, as it comes with a promise of lower property taxes due to the elimination of town and school district insurance costs.

When we graduate from medical school, we will take an oath to “do no harm.” As our fellow community members, we ask you to do the same.

Thank you for your support.

FATIMA HAIDAR
and DENNIS OBAT

White River Junction




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