Forum, Oct. 11: A Dartmouth Leader Took a Stand

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
A Dartmouth Leader Took a Stand

I would like to add to your story about the very courageous Valentina Garcia Gonzalez, the Dartmouth junior, cheerleader and DACA student (“ ‘Dreamers’ at Dartmouth Wait, Worry” Oct. 8).

Ms. Garcia Gonzalez must be seen in a larger context. She is one of many DACA students nationally and her story is part of an older and equally compelling back story at Dartmouth.

This historic story also includes the college, another Dartmouth junior, Hanover as a sheltering community, and an individual who faced a personal “moral choice” like the one each of us faces today as we learn about DACA and the “Dreamers.”

This story occurred in 1942, as the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans got underway in the United States. President Ernest Martin Hopkins, clearly aware of this internment, made a personal choice and public commitment to “protect” a young Dartmouth student, Takanobu “Nobu” Mitsui, a member of the Class of 1943, who himself was facing arrest and internment.

This was not an easy step for President Hopkins, as personal letters and other documents in Dartmouth’s Rauner Library make clear. But, faced with this historic moment, he dared a decisive moral choice: to “extend a helping hand” to this young undergraduate — Mitsui was also a junior at the time — whom president Hopkins saw as “a victim of circumstances” beyond the young man’s control. Doing so, according to one account at the time, “established Hanover as a haven during wartime hysteria.”

President Hopkins placed himself firmly between the federal government and this young student. He extended over him, in a precise and clear manner, “protection” from harm by the U.S. government. He made a legal issue a moral issue. He did “good” in the face of “evil.”

I suggest that in the immigration “hysteria” of today, each of us also faces such a moral choice, and the simple question that Ernest Martin Hopkins asked himself in 1942 now awaits our reply: Which side are you on?

Jack Shepherd


Trade the Trumps

It was recently reported that during a meeting with the wife of a political prisoner in Venezuela, Melania Trump, with the president’s agreement, expressed sympathy by noting their feelings of imprisonment in the White House. I hereby suggest we offer the Venezuelan government a prisoner exchange.

Peter Valiante


Drye Has Worked for Community

If you are not impressed with Margaret Drye’s record of community service here in the Upper Valley, then you have just not been paying attention. Community volunteer, Hanover Co-Op president, 2015-2016, volunteer EMT member in Plainfield-Cornish, and 4-H leader, Drye has been a positive influence wherever she has chosen to try to help her neighbors and their community interests.

Someone who has always put her energy and personal resources where her mouth is, Drye has always promoted the idea that from the very beginnings of life, every human being ought to be able to freely pursue personal goals and ideals and live life to maximum potential. And so, beginning at the beginning with respect to promoting aspirational freedom, Drye, more than 30 years ago, co-founded the region’s first pregnancy center to help young women to not only see their pregnancies through to childbirth, but to also see to the future health and welfare of their babies.

New Hampshire has an exceptionally large House of Representatives because our founders wanted our smallest political subdivisions to be represented as intimately as possible in the making of governing policy. They envisioned local, committed, contributing persons, exactly like Drye, serving in the Legislature to assure that end.

On Nov. 7, voters in Springfield, Grantham, Plainfield and Cornish have a wonderful opportunity to elect an especially dedicated person to the Sullivan District 1 House Seat to represent them, Margaret Drye.

Paul Mirski

Enfield Center

Know Your History

Anyone who claims to be an American knows that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

“We the people” joined together 230 years ago “to form a more perfect union” than had ever existed. And despite different opinions of what that meant, we were determined to “Live Free or Die.”

In a “great war,” we gave “the last full measure of devotion,” after which, we have stood together “as one Nation, indivisible” to “pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands.”

One particular flag, “Old Glory,” which was so-named by 19th-century mariner William Driver, symbolizes all that we hold dear as Americans. Upon his retirement from a seafaring life, Driver eventually settled in Nashville, Tenn., where possession of “Old Glory” was contested by two warring sides during the Civil War. Driver somehow held onto it, but upon his death, his southern-born daughter Mary, and his northern-born niece Harriet, fought over ownership. Evidently there were two flags, each side of the family believing theirs was the one, true “Old Glory.”

As in the philosophical position that “life imitates art,” so too do those who stand on opposing sides over the meaning of the Second Amendment, which reads in part, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Each, like the Peabody (Salem, Mass.) Cookes and the Nashville Rolands believe theirs to be the true “Old Glory.”

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the right of all Americans to keep and bear flintlock muskets, as the Second Amendment intended. However, I see America’s greatest threat as one of historic literacy; those whose tribal instincts contradict all common sense. Instead of spending the necessary time to study history and form rational conclusions based upon fact instead of fear, these supporters of unrestricted “gun rights” jeopardize our rights of life, liberty and happiness.

Ralph Epifanio


Columbus, Reconsidered

Our names are Vidushi Sharma and Natalia Somoff. We are seventh-graders at the Frances C. Richmond Middle School in Hanover. After learning about Christopher Columbus’ voyages, we now believe that the traditional celebration of Columbus Day tells only half of the story and therefore should be reconsidered.

Christopher Columbus is known as the “Man Who Discovered the Americas.” However, Columbus did not land on an empty island when he reached the Caribbean. The Taino people were already living on the island long before he arrived.

Even though Columbus and his crew were technologically advanced compared with the Tainos, it gave them no right to destroy the lives and traditions of the Taino people. By the end of his third voyage, he and his crew had killed or enslaved most of the Taino population. Only 500 Taino remained of the 300,000 that Columbus first encountered.

Columbus also opened the gate for other European explorers to come to the New World and take over whatever lands they wanted.

The practices and people that Columbus brought along with him ended up completely changing if not demolishing the lives of many indigenous people. He recklessly killed many people and opened the gate for others to do so as well. When we celebrate Columbus Day, we are really celebrating an invasion and a genocide. Instead, we should celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, to honor all the natives living on the island that Columbus invaded, and all of the people that suffered as a result of European conquest and settlement.

Other states, such as Hawaii and Alaska, have already changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day or Discoverer’s Day. We think that our states, New Hampshire and Vermont, should consider doing the same. Some may argue that they “don’t want to create new names for federal holidays,” but it’s time we take a stand as a community to speak up for people whose voices haven’t been heard. If that means changing a holiday, then let’s roll up our sleeves and fight for what’s right!

Vidushi Sharma and Natalia Somoff