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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 8-15-19

Stop attacking each other

“You liberals make me laugh!” This phrase has become a bit of a meme on social media sites when conservative posters comment on opposing views. I seem to run into it and its ilk a lot, including in the letters section of this newspaper. I don’t think it’s intended to mean that those who express progressive views are comedians who leave audiences rolling in the aisles; that’s not the kind of laughs they’re talking about.

Rather, I think the phrase roughly translates to “I’m sneering derisively at your opinions and thoughts, and feeling superior to you in intelligence, judgment and morality.” The laughter it refers to reminds me of the derisive laughter and tittering of the crowd surrounding the high school bully as he (or she) rains shame on a victim.

The right isn’t alone in invoking shame, as there’s plenty of it on the left. I’m sure I’m guilty of having done so in the heat of an argument. It may be that current right-wing intransigence has roots in a feeling of having their beliefs mocked, ridiculed and “deplored” by the left. Indeed, Mark Godburn wrote in a letter to the editor on Aug. 1, “conservatives are just tired of being called deplorable, sexist and racist,” fatigue to which he credits the success of Trump among his base.

The ubiquity of this particular phrase, however, points to what I’m starting to call the “reign of shame” dominating discourse on both sides of the divide. We’re putting one another down rather than helping each other come to wise decisions. We lace our posts and letters with innuendo and words calculated to incite one-upmanship via their associations. In doing so, we’re attempting to assuage anxieties about our lives and the state of the world by trying to prop up our own self-esteem at the expense of others.  

It’s a toxic trap that can lead at least to incivility and at worst to jingoism and racial/ethnic genocide. We have to stop this. Let’s all try to choose our words more carefully. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to attack the problems we face as a nation instead of attacking each other?

Robert Buccino

Salisbury

 

Ways to avoid decline and disaster

I am sharing this site, www.civicresearchinstitute.com, which has key free summaries of domestic violence and other reports that can cost money to obtain though ideally some state or regional resources could afford them.

My hope and that of many independent advocates who learn from Battered Mothers Custody Conference and California Protective Parents Association, among others, is that more of our local and wider communities could refer to these important findings and theories to protect victims of abuse and warn them that we have a long way to go. 

This is a grassroots outreach (not unlike warning more people of the effects of Cricket Valley, which I perceive as spewing huge amounts of pollution into the air if it opens in Dover, N.Y. There is a key meeting planned for that pressing issue, which I believe will abuse the entire population and ecosystem, on Aug. 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. See www.StopCricketValley.org or their Facebook page).

 Not covering such important material can leave society in the zone of being “unintentionally complicit” and abandoning victims and their children in their dire situations. This trend from college students, to younger people, parents (mainly mothers and pregnant women) are the worst hit. The high costs of allowing for abuse to continue in the shadows affects society and often delivers too little, too late, and can cost victims (and even their abusers or responders and others) their very lives or well-being. We can and must do better.

Thanks for sharing this information and letting people know about the livfully.org blog I write. I refer to many matters with an eye toward community service and prevention as well as safety and health, piecing ideas together and coming up with powerful ways to network that could be emulated by more volunteers and even paid advocates (with transparency and ideally non-profits weighing in).

Unfortunately, non-profits cannot receive government funding if they criticize the government and many faith groups are in a similar gag-order boat, often encouraging women, children or others to weigh in or speak in meaningful ways about very critical issues, even life and death. With the effects of abuse and climate change waking more people up, we need to encourage all hands, voices and advocacies to work while there is a still a chance to avoid more declines and even disasters. Thanks for being an independent news resource that allows such radical thinking. 

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village 

and Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

More interested in golf for everyone

I’ve been playing golf in this area for 20 years, but I skimmed through John Torsiello’s articles about two private golf clubs with very little interest. Who cares if the Bulls Bridge Club is improving the root system of their bent grass? And why should we want to know about the spectacular view from the first tee? We can’t play there!

Few of us can afford to join these private clubs, and probably far fewer would be interested in attaching ourselves to one of these dinosaurs. I’ve read that many private clubs have a long waiting list of members wanting to get out.

I can think of about a dozen public courses within an hour’s drive from my home in Cornwall. Some are pretty shabby; some are beautiful and interesting, perhaps the equal of the clubs John has written about. I don’t know for sure. I’ve only played at two private clubs: Torrington (challenging) and Sharon (boring).

I would be far more interested in reading John’s opinion about some of these public courses. He could cover several in the space he devoted to his extensive description of the private clubs.

Ed Ferman

West Cornwall

 

Thanks from Habitat for Humanity

Northwest Connecticut is blessed with individuals and institutions that believe in the mission of Habitat — that all families deserve a decent and affordable home to live in. 

The tag sale this past weekend in The Mars Athletic Center at The Hotchkiss School was a demonstration of the capacity for generosity in our area. Hotchkiss provided invaluable support — from the gym itself to traffic support, as well as carts to help folks get their treasures to their cars — this would never be possible without Hotchkiss’s support!

The real heroes, though, are the people who give so generously of their time to turn an empty space into an amazing shopping paradise. Numerous people commented on the breadth and quality of the goodies, and it seemed that no one went away empty handed. That only could have happened with the efforts of the people who worked so hard to prepare for the sale and its cleanup, and we’d have to fill a page with the names of everyone involved.  You know who you are and we thank you!

We look forward to seeing everyone again at our next event — Flavors of the Foothills — at Stillwaters Farm in Salisbury in October. With gratitude.

Bob Whelan and 

the Board of Directors

Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut

Salisbury

 

Understanding why our climate is changing

The Scientific American, a non-controversial magazine, recently published an article about a dramatic change in the shape of the jet stream in our hemisphere. Instead of a gently undulating stream, the jet stream formed into radical undulations that look much like the fingers of a glove. Where spaces were formed between the fingers, hot air would be drawn upward from the equator. Where the fingers point downward, cold air would be drawn downward from the Arctic. 

We recently had a prolonged period of cold temperatures with excessive rainfall. The possibility exists that heated air over the Pacific Ocean in a space between the fingers caused unusual evaporation and release of carbon dioxide from the oceans and that these water particles were carried by the jet stream into our cold area in the form of rain. 

A television program recently showed the result of climate variations in northern Asia where horses and yaks died in temperatures as low as 100 below zero, as recorded in Siberia last winter.

There are many factors that affect climate. I am only an observer with no agenda, except an interest in our climate and its changes and the reason for those changes. Perhaps scientists will look in detail about climate change like an altered jet stream and its causes. This would add to our understanding of our climate.

Ronald Solan

Salisbury