Forum, Sept. 28: The Trouble With Trump

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Simply Baffled by Trump

I’m trying to take slow, deep breaths these days, but I can’t seem to stop shaking my head ... in dismay, fear, horror, disgust, bewilderment.

First of all, about the flag … it’s not the flag (the piece of cloth) we show respect to, it’s what the flag stands for. According to usflag.org, “White signifies purity and innocence, red signifies valor and bravery; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.” Wikipedia says: “The flag remains protected as freedom of speech. Scholars have noted the irony that ‘the flag is so revered because it represents the land of the free, and that freedom includes the ability to use or abuse that flag in protest.’ ”

If one feels that the flag no longer stands for those things, then taking a knee or locking arms in protest is an appropriate reaction.

The president’s inappropriate responses just get me shaking my head again. Is there nothing he can do that would enrage Congress and his base enough for them to speak in a unified voice expressing dismay at the inappropriate behavior and words of the president of the United States?

Has anyone heard this man utter a thoughtful or kind word about anyone? Has he ever smiled without sneering … laughed with delight, love or joy? ... showed empathy or respect for anyone or anything? He’s a man who thrives on derision, name calling and bullying. Why should we support his offensive, antagonistic rhetoric toward those who disagree with him?

Most of us are worried about being safe, about protecting our country, our world and our Earth, about the future for our children and our grandchildren, yet the man “in charge” is making a mockery of it all by bullying, by tweeting! Tweeting? When did it be acceptable to run a government by tweeting?

What do you think members of Congress want so badly that they can stand by silently while democracy slips out of our hands, our life and our country?

And back to the flag … our flag. I’m still stuck on “purity and innocence and justice.” I’m thinking maybe I need to lock arms or take a knee.

Joan Ecker


Try a Little Kindness

I was quite moved by the op-ed piece by Pankaj Mishra in the Sept. 22 Valley News (“Compassion is Needed, but Cruelty is Rising”) citing the need for compassion in today’s world to maintain our humanity as we become more aware of the diverse values of others.

I recall a quote that I noticed a while ago at St. Paul’s Church in White River Junction. It went something like this: Before speaking, consider whether what you’d say is, first, true, then is it necessary, and finally, is it kind? Though truth is often hard to evaluate, it is possible to apply the criteria of necessity and kindness to Forum letters, perhaps softening the “kindness” to whether or not the intent is unkind. It would really enhance civil discourse if Forum writers and editors would at least consider these criteria in the future by making necessary points in ways that show compassion for the views and actions of others whose values and experiences they do not understand or share.

Andrew Daubenspeck


Red Cross Does Its Best

I am a Red Cross volunteer. Hurricane Harvey was my first deployment. I believe the organization is true to its mission and does the very best that it can do. Alas, there will always be critics.

How many of the people, not a victim of the storms, and ridiculing the Red Cross, have actually volunteered and worked through them? I’d guess very few. How then, can one comment on how/when/where Red Cross help is delivered? The Red Cross is not a first responder, doesn’t have rescue equipment or trained rescuers. The Red Cross can only go when permitted by the authorities in charge. The majority of volunteers in the field are ordinary people with day jobs that have nothing to do with disaster relief. The initial and primary focus in any disaster is food and shelter.

The enormity and complexity of a disaster operation is confounding. What other organizations handle that degree of logistics, personnel and diversity of services? Only the likes of the National Guard, who are all paid and highly trained. For volunteers, organizing into an effective work force is utterly amazing without factoring in the hindrances created by the disaster itself. I feel safer just knowing they exist and I’m totally enthralled and inspired by the incredibly talented people who can make it happen.

Whether a volunteer or paid staff, they all work really hard. I believe, because of what I saw, the desire of everyone involved is to help fellow humans at a time when they are in need. What purpose would it serve to delay response or to provide less relief than is possible? Why would the Red Cross give less than they have? They wouldn’t. So, if you believe in what the Red Cross does, donate or volunteer. If you feel like a better job could be done, volunteer or become paid staff and effect change. If you don’t share the vision, then don’t volunteer or donate, but please don’t make the job of us who want to help harder than it must be.

Crystal Moses

White River Junction

Keeping a Brook Clean

On Sept. 22, volunteers from the consulting firm of Milone & MacBroom in Waterbury, Vt., organized a cleanup of Girl Brook, the intermittent stream that runs through Pine Park in Hanover. The event was part of a weekend of cleanup efforts under the auspices of the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s program, Source to the Sea.

Members of the Upper Valley community and several trustees of the Pine Park Association joined members of the firm to retrieve tires, old metal, cans, bottles, plastic trash and numerous golf balls from the streambed. We began the work with the assumption that the streambed and banks were relatively free of trash, but we were soon proved wrong.

The trustees extend hearty thanks to Milone & MacBroom, the Watershed Council, the hardy volunteers, as well as the town of Hanover, which disposed of the results of our labors. We urge people who use the trails along Girl Brook to be mindful of their responsibility to keep the park clean.

Linda Fowler, Pine Park Association President


A Museum Worth Finding

For some reason, the American Precision Museum, housed in the original Robbins & Lawrence Armory in Windsor, appears to be unknown to many area residents, visitors and tourists passing through this region. It now holds the largest collection of historically significant machine tools in the nation. Many would enjoy a visit to this historic building with its artifacts and people who give demonstrations of how machinery was operated, including lathes turning out metal parts.

The building started as a producer of guns, and later was the forerunner of the machine shops in Windsor and neighboring towns such as Springfield. There were also smaller machine tool companies in Springfield and, of course, Cone-Blanchard in Windsor, with more in Claremont across the Connecticut River.

The museum holds many other artifacts, including early sewing machines. I would encourage a visit to learn of the early rifles made there and the beginning of the machine tool industry of the region.

Lorraine Zigman


The Trouble With Trump

The president of the United States’ behavior in taunting the leader of North Korea shows he really doesn’t have our best interests in mind. It seems like he is inviting the other loose canon to bomb us and start yet another war, putting us all in harm’s way.

We don’t need to lose more young men to war. His actions are not going to make America great again, but make us a laughing stock around the world. He needs to button his lips before he gets us in serious trouble.

Elaine Smith