Forum, May 23: Column brought back fond parade memories

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Column brought back fond parade memories

I’d like to say how much I enjoyed Dan Mackie’s recent Over Easy column (“For the love of parades,” May 18). By the time I reached relative adulthood, parades had lost their charm, mostly from repetition (the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade being possibly the only exception). Even for the legendary Rose Parade (Hello, Bob and Stephanie! Again!) I sat with a tactful smile as my friends gathered in front of the TV to exclaim over Hollywood-inspired floats and endless bands, hordes of horseback riders, bored bigwigs waving from convertibles. Most of the time I felt just as bored.

Moving to small-town Vermont brought back my interest. Mackie brought back the charm, and his descriptions brought back memories of the parades of my football-happy hometown on the Fourth of July. My earliest memory is of my mother bringing along crayons and coloring books meant to keep me amused. The heat caused the crayons to melt into one psychedelic blob in my cigar box. Every possible high school provided sweating marchers and mascots, and we all begged the clowns to douse us with their water pistols so we could cool off. Funny, though, how it still beat watching in air-conditioned comfort.

Now I sit in a lawn chair on a Vermont roadside and watch my grandchildren and great-grandchildren dive for the candy thrown out of vintage Volkswagens. It’s an afternoon that adds to the gold in my golden years. For the love of parades indeed.



You might be a socialist if ...

Time to unearth the bogeyman, resurrect the dreaded scourge of socialism, which promises to end the American dream of unbridled prosperity for the few who use capital (and influence) to harness the labor and materials of the many for personal gain. If you are honest, you may be a closet socialist if you agree with the following ideas, espoused by the Socialist Party going back to the early 1900s:

■ End child labor.

■ Establish a federal minimum wage.

■ Create a worker’s compensation program to ensure continuity of income if injured on the job.

■ Establish a 40-hour work week, and compensate additional hours with overtime pay.

■ Create a Food and Drug Administration to control the quality and effectiveness of drugs and food.

■ Create a Social Security program to ensure that all people have financial support in their later years.

■ Under the Social Security umbrella, minor dependents and disabled people can get financial support.

■ Create the Medicare system so that elderly people have access to health care independent of employment.

These are just some of the ideas that started with the socialist agenda. They look commonplace now but were revolutionary in their time and were opposed for years because they would lead to the “end of the American dream.” Socialists believe that government policy should be directed to help the many, not the few. Socialist policies affect us every day, such as state insurance commissions to protect the public from inflated premium increases that create huge profits by providers but endanger ordinary ratepayers. Without these “socialist” safeguards, we suffer the unconscionable costs of drugs so that drug companies can increase profits at the expense of ordinary people who need those same drugs to survive.

Should every citizen of this country have access to affordable health insurance, either through an employer or a group plan run through the government? You tell me. Are you a socialist?



Don’t give up the ethical high ground on abortion

Saturday’s article about abortion rights in the context of the proposed merger of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and GraniteOne Health (“Hospitals address abortion concerns: Plans to join forces with Catholic facility raises questions about care,” May 18) seemed to imply that anti-abortion voices are unique in carrying serious ethical weight, while abortion-rights constituents simply bumble along without the benefit of a principled moral stance.

The article emphasized the importance and specialness of Catholic Medical Center’s anti-abortion policies, without citing any parallel ethical framework for why other medical providers (in this case at DH-H) would choose to offer comprehensive reproductive health care in a top-tier research hospital setting.

It is misguided to cede the ethical high ground to those who assign themselves high holiness, without also acknowledging others’ commitments to high-quality care that is guided by patients’ considered decisions about their own bodies.



Route 12A canyon update

It took three letters to the editor and one Valley News article, but finally a few of the potholes on the driveway to the Weathervane restaurant off Route 12A were filled in — a little. Thanks! I don’t understand why it took publicity for those responsible to see the problem, but so be it.

There are two large potholes on Interchange Drive, another roadway off 12A, that need attention. The largest one is behind Walmart. They fixed a big pothole in this area a few years ago, but now a new one is growing. The second one is near the self-storage company’s entrance. In both cases the potholes are dangerous because of their size and because drivers might swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid them, thereby inviting collisions. The pothole behind Walmart is especially dangerous because the tall reeds block the view of oncoming traffic.

Since letters to the editor are apparently what it takes to get action, send them in!