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Forum, Sept. 26: ‘Dotard’ Isn’t Archaic Yet

Published: 9/25/2017 8:00:15 PM
Modified: 9/25/2017 8:00:13 PM
‘Dotard’ Isn’t Archaic Yet

Even a crazy person can get off a good turn of phrase now and then, as the whack job Kim Jong Un just demonstrated. “I will surely and definitely tame the deranged U.S. dotard with fire” was shocking only for its terse eloquence — Kim has always spewed that sort of foolish testosterone — but this was an uncharacteristically sharp shot.

The only real shock came from our press, who almost universally called the word “dotard” arcane and archaic — many claimed they had needed to look up its meaning. Either the press is trying to make some silly, fussy point, or they all need to go back to school. I learned that expressive word (and its other forms) in Lebanon public grade school 50 years ago or so, and use it at will today — perhaps Lebanon public schools could pick up a few extra bucks running a special vocabulary program for the U.S. press.

Stephen M. Wood


How to Welcome Millennials

A story in Saturday’s paper said that Gov. Chris Sununu is creating a commission to determine how young professional millennials can be attracted to the state. I have a suggestion for the commission and the governor: Legalize marijuana and replace criminal charges for drug addiction with medical treatment.

According to Jim Kenyon in a recent column, Lebanon Police make marijuana arrests on average three times a week. If a young professional sees job opportunities in New Hampshire, Colorado and Oregon, in only one of those states is his or her career likely to be derailed by an arrest for something that lots of people do all the time.

In Lebanon, Chief Richard Mello says that he has no choice; he has to enforce the law. If he were to apply that thought at all times, most of us would be in jail. Obviously he and his officers think a pot bust is more valuable than stopping someone for driving 40 in a 35 mph zone.

Clifford Cary


Sanity and Permanent War

Conflict resolution requires mutual respect, dialogue and negotiation. Washington only knows force. Belligerence, humiliation, aggression, sanctions, invasions and occupations: That’s how they negotiate. Donald Trump, etc., seem quite anxious to sell us on war with Iran and/or North Korea now. Maybe all of the war salesmen should put on a uniform, strap on a rifle and go and take care of that themselves. Just leave the rest of us out of this madness already.

Does anyone really believe that a state of permanent war is characteristic of a sane society? Does anyone really imagine that we’re living in one?

Neil Meliment


Good Work on the Rail Trail

I want to praise whichever organization is responsible for the work done on the rail trail along Mascoma Street. I travel that way daily in my commute to work at APD and have always enjoyed the cool of the trail. However, I have been disappointed in the condition of it the past summer. The trash, overgrowth and general ickiness of it made me feel like I was walking through “Hobo Jungle.”

The widening, grading and overall cleanup done these past few weeks has made it much more pleasant. Thank you very much for all your hard work on behalf of Lebanon residents.

Mica Two-Spirits


Pigs Have Feelings, Too

Many fairs have pig scrambles, which are cruel. Piglets don’t want to be greased, chased and bagged any more than you do. Pig scrambles aren’t “barnyard fun,” as supporters claim, but part of the continuum of humans abusing animals.

Some pig farmers assert pig squeals during scrambles are “normal” communications. Only when frightened — as when grabbed, picked up, dragged and shoved down killing chutes — do pigs squeal. But then maybe that’s “normal” because terror is normal for animals in the food industry.

National Shelter Director Susie Coston — of Farm Sanctuary, the country’s largest farm animal sanctuary — says only traumatized pigs squeal. Coston has decades of experience with pigs. At scrambles, she says, piglets cry out for their mothers, who would fight to the death to protect their piglets from these barbaric activities.

So don’t let farmers who murder pigs for profit convince you otherwise. Maybe they’ve convinced themselves that pigs’ squealing is “normal,” so as not to think about the sentient beings, whom they betray and kill, as having feelings and suffering. It’s easier to murder animals and have pig scrambles when you don’t consider animals’ emotions.

The bottom line is that good people don’t harm animals. Especially when — according to research not funded by the meat/dairy/egg/fishing industries — there is no nutritional need to eat animals. A sick idea of fun, pig scrambles can exist only in the context of the malignant normality in which we live, where systems of unnecessary and endless brutality feed, clothe, entertain and decorate us.

Margaret Hurley


Climate Destruction

Kevin McEvoy Leveret’s observation in his letter Saturday that the innocuous term “climate change” is inadequate to describe what we are doing to the Earth is correct. But his suggested term “climate crisis” is inadequate too.

Climate is an annually repeating pattern of weather. Variations occur, but within a pattern. With no predictable pattern of weather, climate is not a useful term.

Someday people will stop emitting greenhouse gases, though maybe not until fossil fuels are gone. While emissions continue, and for decades or centuries after they stop, climate will continue changing chaotically until a new climate stabilizes. In the interim, there will be no reasonably reliable climate in the sense that term has meant in the past.

Thus, the correct term for our present course is climate destruction.

Richard Andrews

Springfield, Vt.

‘Rocket Man’ Is a Dud

Not only is President Trump’s calling the North Korean president “Rocket Man” embarrassing to our country and degrading to himself, it is stupid. Once can easily imagine a man like President Kim Jong Un, so small in both mind and stature, being flattered by the name.

Toni B. Prince


What’s Really American

Standing for the National Anthem or reciting the Pledge doesn’t make you a better American. Fighting poverty and injustice does.

Barry Wenig


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