Forum, June 2: Lebanon School Board must be transparent making replacement

Saturday, June 01, 2019
Lebanon School Board must be transparent making replacement

The Lebanon School Board seems to feel that it has a difficult decision to make when appointing a replacement for Erin Madory’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. The way I see it, if board members truly wish to be as transparent as they claim, they will deliberate on the candidates in public session.

As someone who has applied for the vacancy, I would welcome the conversation that would be had as it will show to the public where the board members’ hearts lie. Will they select someone who aligns with what they want, to push their “modernization” plans forward, or someone who the voters felt was closely aligned with their desires and equally matched in vote-getting? My candidacy fell short by 17 votes, showing that what I had to offer in the election was close to what the public wished.

If you are a resident of Lebanon, I ask that you contact each School Board member and the superintendent of schools to express that, as with the elections we just had, the process should be in the open so that the public is aware of who will be going onto the board. All of the contact information for board members can be found at sau88.net.



The problem, genius of democracy

These are nasty times. But there’s a reason we got here. Forty years of gradually increasing Democratic Party adherence to “Big Money,” the ignoring of working-class needs, blindness to both the impacts of changing technology on global markets and the resulting need for corrective policy to safeguard the livelihoods of the unprotected led, more than anything else, to the election results of 2016.

In short, the addiction of our leadership, on both sides of the political fence, to unjust wealth distribution and its inherent corruption, with a good measure of ignorance and forward-looking blindness, have created a huge problem for our democracy and the health of both national parties.

One could argue that we deserve what happened. In some way we were all part of the tragic result. That’s the problem with democracy: We’re all-in whether we like it or not. But it’s also the genius of democracy. It gives us all the ability to change the results for the future. And therein lies the silver lining. It gives us the chance to actualize, through better policy, the things that will make the results of the 2016 election less likely to recur.

If democracy is to exist in its fullness in our capitalist society, it must establish means for just distribution of wealth and, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., reminds us, the means to police the marketplace so that it serves all with fair and just financial regulation. Perhaps most important is creating a public education infrastructure serving all to the fullness of each individual’s ability from the earliest age through professional training or college and beyond.

We all need assurance that each of us, no matter who we are, is regarded as both accepted and treasured as part of our national society. Facilitating this should be a primary objective of our government.

Independent of which side of the fence each of us sits, we should recognize that, together, we produced a lemon in the 2016 election. Now let’s make some lemonade.



Full range of health care is important

Kudos to Julie Püttgen for her good letter (“Don’t give up the ethical high ground on abortion,” May 23) reminding readers of the important ethic of providing the full range of health care to all women in a society of equality.

A decade ago, author Max Blumenthal finished six years of research into the strategic ambush by radical fundamental extremists of both women’s health issues and of the Republican Party back in the 1970s — not unlike the overseas takeover by fundamentalist Taliban. In his book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, Blumenthal credits the late Francis Schaeffer for turning Republican leadership — notably President Gerald Ford and Rep. Jack Kemp — from fighting school desegregation to demonizing women’s health care. Schaeffer preached hatred of opponents, which led to the assassination of several physicians and health clinic workers.

Given this sudden turn to deadly extremism, I think no term is more fake than “pro-life.” The Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health, found that when full-range health care is denied, pregnant women die at a much higher rate. This suggests to me that the 25 male legislators in Alabama are best thought of not as “pro-life,” but as woman-hating patriarchs.

Every month I imagine how many more offspring, by how many more women, President Donald Trump would now have if fake “pro-life” had been law. Every month I gratefully donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of Roe vs. Wade.



Preventing the need in the first place

Four years ago, on July 31, 2015, Signe Wilkinson drew an editorial cartoon that the Valley News published on Aug. 3, 2015. It showed a row of men wearing chastity belts. They looked surprised and uncomfortable.

Last week, the Valley News published another Wilkinson cartoon titled “New! Menswear for Abortion Ban States” (May 24). It showed a row of men wearing much more comfortable protection — condoms.

How long will it take for (some) men to figure out that abortions wouldn’t be necessary if they helped prevent the need for that procedure in the first place? I wonder what idea Wilkinson will come up with if they can’t figure it out.


East Thetford