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Forum, June 3: Founders would be appalled


Sunday, June 02, 2019
Founders would be appalled

Congress, the courts and the executive branch all need to get back on our intended course. We have gone astray from the goals of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. “Promote the general welfare”? “Insure domestic tranquility”? “Establish justice”? “Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”? The Founding Fathers must be flipping out.

To paraphrase: We the people of the United States, in order to create division, pervert justice, establish domestic chaos and division, demonize other countries under the guise of defending our own, promulgate a wealthy class to rule and reign over the inept, stupid masses, and secure the blessings of liberty and dominion for the greedy and wealthy, do hereby ordain to divide, undermine and demean the Constitution of the United States of America.

All this perversion while we are destroying the environment, killing species by the thousands and destroying our planet for our grandchildren. What will be left in 2096 when my great-granddaughter is my age?

And “We the people,” with the assistance of a faulty election system, put into the White House this destroyer of everything the writers of the Constitution intended? Incredible. And yet there are those who are pleased with the choice because of their expanded bank accounts. Until, that is, it all inevitably comes crashing down. God help us — please. We’re blowing our stewardship. It’s not too late, is it, Bill McKibben?

WILLIAM C. FIELDING

Wilder

President pales in comparison

Having just finished reading Faith of my Fathers by Sen. John McCain, I find it unfathomable and disgusting that Republican senators who occupied the same Senate chamber with McCain for years continue to support President Donald Trump’s dishonorable behaviors and self-serving interest.

Sen. McCain’s father and grandfather served our country as admirals in the Navy during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Carrying on his family tradition, McCain became a Navy pilot following his graduation from Annapolis. He was shot down over Hanoi, severely injured, captured and beaten repeatedly and then hauled off to a filthy cell without any medical care. He spent 5½ years in captivity, much of it in solitary confinement. He and his fellow prisoners were starved, beaten and tortured for days on end. They were deprived of family letters. They were prevented from gathering for religious services and all attempts at communication were met with more beatings. Those men were shown no mercy.

McCain’s book is hard to read and brought me to tears. I challenge any Republican senator or citizen to read McCain’s account of this cruel imprisonment and still have the unconscionable will to continue their blind support of a failed president who once said of McCain, “He’s not a war hero. ... He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

John McCain was the essence of what our great country is all about: honor, integrity, dignity, truthfulness, decency and courage in the face of evil. Donald Trump shows none of these traits. Trump’s traits are man’s inhumanity to man. He is a disgusting embarrassment to the office of the presidency of this great land and its great people.

JACKIE SMITH

Sunapee

Some striking similarities

Concerning the interesting letter from Edward M. Bradley, Dartmouth College professor of classics emeritus, on the need for a modern Nerva (“Joe Biden can help restore dignity to White House,” May 25): I agree wholeheartedly that we need a steady, calming, perhaps somewhat unexciting Nerva. We can worry about electing a dynamic Trajan later. Or perhaps a Marcus Aurelius, who was also a wise and just ruler, a true aristocrat in the best sense of the word: educated, compassionate, far-seeing, thoroughly humble and realistic about his own legacy. A “philosopher-king.” Our last Marcus Aurelius was a man named Abraham Lincoln.

What we have in the White House now is Nero. If you don’t know who Nero was, look him up — a spoiled, preening, overweight, self-indulgent, conscienceless ruler who built himself a vast and grand villa and who (perhaps apocryphally) fiddled while Rome burned. Some believe he instigated the fire to clear away space for his own grand residence. His mother assisted his ascent to the throne. He later had her killed. No murders yet, but otherwise the similarities are striking.

ARTHUR E. NORTON

Woodstock

We’re all just sitting ducks

When I read stories of doom and gloom caused by climate change, I readily admit to a lack of empathy. Climatologists’ dire prognostications contend that, without an immediate and dramatic lessening of carbon/methane gas, the future of mankind is in doubt. Well, so what? We’re just temporary tenants on a world with lease restrictions. A consideration of the Earth’s violent past should have a sobering effect on our more immediate worries.

This world began as a ball of gas. When its outer limits stabilized, forming a more or less solid crust, it set the stage for millions of years of volcanic eruptions (and an “atmosphere” of corrosive gases); eons of relentless rain; a billion years when the Earth’s surface was covered by a vast sea (and still no air to breathe), eventually becoming a chemical soup spawning protolife.

After a single continent formed, frog-like life crawled out of the ocean, struggling for a toehold on the edge of a rocky, more-or-less barren landscape. Over time — a long, long time — came the dinosaurs. But the effects of a big rock streaking down from space wiped them out. This reset the life-form clock back to midnight, and thus began the age of angiosperms (flowering plants), insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and, best of all, us.

Looming over everything were those random, but catastrophic wildcards continually played by nature, like a sheet of ice 10,000 feet thick. There will be devastating earthquakes, all-consuming volcanic eruptions and shudders in the oceans. Every second of every day, tectonic plates are shifting a fraction of an inch, eventually relocating continents thousands of miles. One day, California will end up crashing into Alaska (like India did into China and Italy into Switzerland). Then, perhaps, our Alaskan descendants might be able to walk to Asia, as their ancestors walked here. Besides cataclysms occurring below and around us, we are sitting ducks for asteroids.

Climate change? We should all live that long.

RALPH EPIFANIO

Canaan