Forum, Oct. 10: A Scary Time, Indeed

Tuesday, October 09, 2018
A Scary Time, Indeed

Who is going to get the next “pardon” from President Donald Trump?

After the neo-Nazi rallies in Charlottesville, Va., ended in the killing of a counterprotester, Trump said there were many fine people among the neo-Nazis. Now he is offering support to men who may have abused or harassed women when he said, “It is a very scary time for young men in America.” That’s right. Even if you went to an elite prep school and then on to Yale, if you are a sloppy drunk who shows a pattern of abusive behavior, it might come back to haunt you.

Since Trump is on tape talking about grabbing women, he knows exactly how scary it is.

Alden W. Hall


Fundamental Danger to Democracy

In my 80 years I have been aware of a series of injustices perpetrated within our political system, including the McCarthy hearings, Watergate, Bush v. Gore, and the outrages of the 2016 election process. None of these sank to the level we have just witnessed, and none so fundamentally threatened our system of government.

The conduct of Republicans during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings showed a total abandonment of fairness and decency. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s loss of control of his emotions, his angry outbursts and his crazy conspiracy theories should alone have been enough to disqualify him. Finding the truth was certainly not the objective of these hearings. Their objective was only to create a Supreme Court that would assure that every Republican program and policy could not be successfully challenged. In doing so these Republican senators used all the devices that have worked so well for President Donald Trump, including obfuscation, avoidance, willful manipulation of the truth and outright lying.

I fear the consequences of the direction the Republicans have taken. If the midterm elections do not give Democrats at least one house of Congress, the president, the Congress and the Supreme Court can create and legitimize every rule or statute needed to assure the perpetuation of one-party control. Among the tools at their disposal will be legitimizing and expanding gerrymandering, restricting and discouraging minority voting, further developing and encouraging political contributions by wealthy individuals and corporations, using police power and intimidation to stifle free speech and, of course, constant and effective lying.

We have seen the effect of one-party rule in other nations. We face the real possibility that we are on the brink of a catastrophic blow to our democracy in the form of one-party rule — far more dangerous to our democracy than any political crises this country has suffered in my lifetime.

Andrew Stewart


An Earlier Bus Driver Shortage

The story about the shortage of school bus drivers reminds me of elementary school in Springfield, Vt., in the 1950s, when there were too few buses for the postwar baby boom (“Spinning Their Wheels: Area School Districts Struggle With Shortage of Bus Drivers,” Oct. 1).

Every school bus ran two routes every morning and afternoon, and every bus was full. Students on the first run left in what seemed the wee hours of the morning, and arrived at school 40 minutes or so before the opening bell. But they enjoyed the first afternoon run. Students on the second afternoon run had to wait 40 minutes or so before leaving for home.

At the start of the second semester the runs were switched. Students who had been getting up early could sleep longer, but got home later in the afternoon. We spent a lot of time on the playground, or in the cafeteria on rainy days. Naturally elementary school, middle school and high school students were mixed on every bus. Doing otherwise never occurred to anyone.

I don’t recommend that system. But coping with shortages is nothing new.

Richard Andrews

Springfield, Vt.

Wise Words for Troubled Times

I am not a particularly articulate man. In my retirement, words frequently fail me. As it is, I turn to words of others to express what I feel needs to be said. I am sure you will recognize these words from Abraham Lincoln and understand the times that gave rise to them and their importance today:

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. ... The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. ... We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility.” (Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 1, 1862.)

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from the earth.” (Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863.)

Lincoln’s words are taken from Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland first performed in May 1942, when America and Americans faced as grim a moment in history as we do now. The call to action is as important today as it was in 1862 and 1942. As Lincoln said, “We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

Michael A. Taupier