Forum, Sept. 6: How Has Professor Been Silenced?

Tuesday, September 05, 2017
How Has Professor Been Silenced?

Under the headline “Hanlon Abandoned Free Speech, History” (Sept. 2), emeritus Professor James Heffernan criticizes the president of Dartmouth for his statement opposing violence, calling it “deplorable” and describing it as an “attempt to silence” visiting lecturer Mark Bray. I wonder how Bray has been silenced? Has he been asked to stop making such statements? Has he been asked to relinquish his teaching duties? Has he been asked to stop using the university’s facilities to conduct his interviews?

If he has, then the criticism of President Hanlon is indeed justified. But if all Mark Bray has suffered is someone publicly disagreeing with him, then what principle, exactly, are the Dartmouth faculty rising up to defend?

Jonathan Spector


More Left-Wing Hysteria

Emeritus Professor James Heffernan’s attack on Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon for defending free speech and peaceful assembly is a textbook case of left-wing demagoguery and hysteria. In my opinion, Professor Heffernan and his fellow travelers at Dartmouth would have you believe that a tiny group of white supremacists and “fascists” who have difficulty filling a phone booth at a rally pose such a threat to our nation that civil discourse should be suspended, that they should be silenced, that violence is justified. Really! Where is common sense? Where is proportionality? (As an aside, the tens of millions of victims of Stalin and Mao might have had a different take on the “single most oppressive force of the mid-twentieth century.”

Professor Heffernan confirms visiting lecturer Mark Bray’s anarchistic and socially destructive views. The distinguished 20th century historian Barbara Tuchman noted that the greatest threat to Western democracies would be groupthink, already a virulent, infectious disease on college campuses. The 20th century’s most notorious dictators would be amazed, amused and encouraged that the threat is coming from American academia.

Richard Chapman

Norwich and Brookline, Mass.

Rebuilding After Harvey

This is an open letter to Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch:

What will happen now that Hurricane Harvey’s rains have ended and the thousands of dislocated can go back to what’s left of their homes and business?

For sure, there will be a huge need for volunteers to help with the initial cleanup. But effective “drying out” must be done quickly, before mold and other conditions can make the damage much worse. An influx of paid workers would speed things up. Then rebuilding will no doubt require the biggest construction boom in our history. It will take years and years and require vast numbers of paid laborers and skilled workers. Where will they come from? Who will pay them?

This is just the right time to offer work permits to qualified undocumented migrants already in the U.S., as well as to those hoping to enter, who could work on rebuilding! And wouldn’t the billions our president wants to spend on his “wall” be much more wisely spent to help with the enormous jobs of cleanup, repair and construction?

Will you sponsor legislation to accomplish these goals? And can you invite dozens of your Democratic and Republican colleagues to co-sign?

Judy Pond


Electric Vehicles on Display

Electric vehicles are the transportation future and they are here today! Come see the latest electric cars, motorcycles, eBikes and lawn equipment at the Upper Valley Electric Vehicle Expo, Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Dothan Brook School on Route 5 in Hartford.

Vehicles will include the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, as well as the Tesla Models X and S, Tesla Roadster, BMW i3, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Smart Fortwo and others. The Dartmouth racing team will bring their electric race car. Free test rides will be offered throughout the afternoon. Also on hand will be electric lawn mowers, weed whackers, chain saws and a snow blower.

Workshops will discuss available electric vehicle models, incentives, charging stations, battery storage, driving range, cost, performance and more. There will be refreshments and raffle prize drawings, and everything is free.

The expo is being organized by Vital Communities, Upper Valley Sierra Club and local energy committees and our local sponsors.

Come learn from your neighbors what it is really like to go electric. For more information and to pre-register, go to www.uvevexpo.org.

Bob Walker

Thetford Center

About That Mexican Border Wall

In the Aug. 30 Valley News, there was a Bloomberg News article that stated, “(President Donald Trump) threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress funds construction of the Mexican border wall he promised in his campaign.” Trump also promised to make Mexico pay for it. He repeatedly promised that. Every time journalists mention Trump’s threats to shut down the government because he wants the American people to pay for the wall, there should be a mention of his incessant bellowing threats to make Mexico pay for it, and also a mention of his request to Mexican President Pena Nieto to stop making a lot of noise about Mexico’s refusal to pay for the wall because, in Trump’s words, it made him look bad.

Gail Wild

Guild, N.H.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Rotten Legacy

Disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been pardoned by a man who blatantly ignored the hideously racist, unconstitutional behavior that got Arpaio convicted in the first place. But that should surprise no one, as the pardoner is as racist and unconstitutional as they come, and our country will continue to suffer until he is removed from the office that he purchased with promises to, and support from, the Kremlin. So far, this treason has gone unpunished, and even celebrated by American white supremacists, and by the instituionalized, systemic white supremacy that rules America.

Arpaio’s rotten legacy stains that of thousands of dedicated non-racist police officers. The bad apple spoils the whole bushel basket. From my own 30-year professional career in law enforcement, I know how hurtful it is for officers to be lumped together as inveterate racists. I also know that police brutality is a reality in America that we all must stand against. Arpaio is the poster boy for that brutality, and the racial profiling and dehumanization of Latinos. And with his illegitimate pardon, racists like the one who pardoned him have given the green light for other racists to continue Arpaio’s vile racist hate.

As Arpaio gets pardoned, thousands of Latino men, women and children languish in U.S. for-profit prisons and detention centers, or get dumped back across the U.S.-Mexico border with no resources, regardless of where they came from. Their crime? Wanting a stable, economically viable life here. Wanting to reunite with their families. Wanting a better opportunity for their children. Wanting to escape unimaginable violence and poverty in their own countries, much of it driven by the so-called “war on drugs,” a war whose primary beneficiaries are well-to-do American drug users.

How many undocumented laborers work at Mar-a- Lago? How many work as domestics and landscapers for rich politicians in Washington? When will this unpardonable hypocrisy end?

Alix Olson


Help Vermont’s Foster Children

Are you able to help Vermont’s foster children? We need foster parents who can care for Vermont’s children who are currently in state custody. We have a need for emergency, short-term, long-term and respite providers.

We have information that can be sent to you to further explain the program’s needs. You must reside in Vermont, be over 21 and all household members over the age of 16 must be able to pass a background check.

We provide training and ongoing support as well as a monthly stipend and transportation reimbursement to our foster parents.

Please contact me at the Hartford DCF-Family Services office for more information, at 802-295-8840 or deanna.rounds@vermont.gov.

Deanna Rounds, resource coordinator

White River Junction