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Forum, Oct. 19: Stuff has overtaken our lives

Published: 10/18/2021 10:00:07 PM
Modified: 10/18/2021 10:00:11 PM
Stuff takes over our lives

With so much worry that great cargo ships parked out in the harbors of Los Angeles will not be able to deliver a multitude of store items in time for a really good Christmas celebration, one has to think back to a time before stuff overtook our lives and took on such monumental importance.

Not that many years ago, we somehow made do with putting delicious apples and oranges into Christmas stockings and homemade gifts of knitted mittens and socks and handmade clothing and other self-made items under the tree. Perhaps a store-bought doll or little truck and a family board game were possible if you were of the middle class.

Christmas trees were decorated with precious, passed-down ornaments and colorful paper rings cut from magazine pages and pasted together with homemade glue of flour and water. We marveled as children how this rope of paper rings draped over our tree made it so colorful and beautiful. Christmas celebrations were started after Thanksgiving and holiday cheer swelled for the remaining four weeks or so until that special day. Radios blared out the beautiful music of Christmas, inspiring us to remember our blessings and to be kind and generous to others who were less fortunate.

Now that our very existence hangs in the balance because of our selfish assault on our beautiful planet Earth from Christmas presents and other stuff we’ve grown tired of and tossed into giant landfills, we can once again remember what is truly important to sustain us during the time of Christmas. Family, food and perhaps some homemade gifts fashioned with love, and time spent together. Do we really need more than this?



It takes two ...

It is fascinating to read the letters in the Valley News Forum written by men about the abortion issue. Some espouse from on high, some espouse about the pros, cons and whys. What strikes me about these opinions is, without men, you wouldn’t have pregnant women.



Glad Gov. Phil Scott is in the driver’s seat

While haying with some friends who enjoy stock car racing, I asked what kind of driver is Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. The reply was that he was an extremely patient driver who before a race paid a great deal of attention to the condition of the track and during the race carefully looked for opportunities that could make a difference. This could describe Scott’s method of governing, as well as his approach to the pandemic. It is an approach that, even with the increase in COVID-19 incidents, has served our state well.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when there were so many unknowns, Gov. Scoot correctly imposed a state of emergency, which bypassed our democratic system of checks and balances and allowed him to rule by decree. It was an extreme measure for an exceptional time. To his credit, now that there are vaccines and much more is known about this virus, he is loath to take on this power, which is what would be needed to impose a statewide mask mandate.

The opening up of our society — compared to last year, when we were all hunkered down — was expected to result in more cases, and it has. The delta variant has exacerbated the number of cases, but the reality is at this point, with the tools and knowledge we have now in hand, our children need to go back to school, our businesses need to be open, and we need to learn to live with this virus that will, in some form or another, be a part of our lives from now on.

The weekly press briefings held by the governor and his team are a refreshing view of how this democracy and press should work. As with all of life, there are many bumps and no straight lines to where we hope to go. We in Vermont are fortunate indeed to have Phil Scott’s steady hand on the wheel of our government in these challenging times.


South Strafford

GOP is now NH’s ‘most important problem’

I’ve often participated in the University of New Hampshire’s monthly Granite State Poll. The online surveys typically include a question asking respondents to name what we consider to be “the most important problem facing the state of New Hampshire today.” In the past my answers included, “the pandemic,” “jobs and the economy,” “an unfair and regressive tax system.” Last month and again in October, this was my response: “the capture of the NH Republican Party by reality-denying, anti-science extremists whose cultish devotion to the twice-impeached former president perverts their every action.”

Why the change? Recent Executive Council votes against women’s health care and against accepting $27 million in federal vaccine assistance were the last straws. Gov. Chris Sununu, who has tried to straddle this dangerously pointy fence for far too long, shares much of the blame for his party’s dangerous dysfunction. He’s learning what it’s like to get knocked off that fence while still trying to straddle both sides. (Ouch!) Too late, it seems. He has failed as a leader. Time for him to return to the private sector.



What we need is more perfect justice

I concur with Forum contributor Christopher L. Chase’s letter (“Roe v. Wade decision is not a historical departure,” Oct. 12), which refuted the argument “that permitting abortion is not consistent with traditional American values or religious belief.” Given that a majority of voters subscribe to the aphorism “her body, her choice,” any contentious body (in disagreement) violates the will of the people. By that logic, it’s plain to see the Supreme Court and the state of Texas, among others, are out of touch with reality, and as such, their current judgments must not be recognized as valid.

Correcting this travesty of justice seems to me unconstitutional (though I’m no lawyer; my authority is merely that of any other citizen-voter). Yet all is not lost: Stacking the courts is a solution, particularly for the Supreme Court, where term limits — a maximum of three years — are necessary in order that a recognized bias can’t persist across more than any one presidency.

Abraham Lincoln worked for a more perfect union. What we need is more perfect justice. Nothing’s perfect, but if justices and judges had appropriate terms, were elected by popular vote, and juries were commensurate to the jurisdiction, we’d be well on the road to that gold-standard of blind justice. Heck, if the courts during the Obama years had adopted such a system, we undoubtedly wouldn’t have the “axis of evil” (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett) doing Donald Trump’s dirty work.


White River Junction

Who poses the greater threat of tyranny?

For those who are uncertain as to which end of the political spectrum poses the greater threat of tyranny, if you are opposed to limited government, the free exchange of ideas, private ownership of firearms, equality of opportunity, free markets or timely, transparent, well-documented and strictly administered elections, it’s your end.

In addition to the examples cited above, I also find it reprehensible that there are those who are willing to foment alienation and resentment among various “favored” groups with the intention of capitalizing on their consequent unhappiness, to spend the future’s money on the purchase of votes in the present, and to expand the profoundly corrosive influence of dependence on the state to every corner of our society in order to amass and solidify power.

But then I’m not a Democrat.



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