Something to teach us
The recent destruction and disappearing of statues that offend people, or that they disapprove of, reminds me of the destruction by the early Christians of the Library at Alexandria and the sanctuary at Delphi. Or there is the Taliban blowing up centuries-old statues in Afghanistan. In those cases the people doing the destruction were also sure a new world was coming and that the signs of the wrong and evil old days had to go.
The world has turned many times since then, and today most people wish we had what was destroyed. Maybe the past has something to teach us.
Scary things are going on “out there,” away from home’s sweet walls of safety. There are aggressive infections called viruses in the form of colorful flower designs, if the microscope is to be believed. Our friends are decked out as spacemen featuring masks that hide identifying features and bottles of liquids at every stop reminding us to wash, sterilize and purify.
The scariest event is not in these temporary peculiarities, but is in the specter of our outwardly fearless Republican presidential contender who often is rude, intrusive, accusatory, and who sometimes pretends to be medically literate. He tells us he has proven himself to be our nation’s best president, but without solid leadership traits, he has stretched his privileges past the goal posts of decency. He has employed subversive sleights of hand in order to fulfill his personal needs. With pudgy thumbs and index fingers curled into childish o’s and arms flailing, he has charmed our fellow Americans at rallies with sophomoric rhetoric, sarcasm, insults and obscenities, providing a kind of entertainment suitable for late-night TV. Strange behaviors have surfaced during forums with questionable companions; military overreach threatens historically beneficial foreign friendships. He is fond of reminding us how powerful he is — there are no hindrances to his upward spiral. Will he peacefully vacate the White House when his term(s) expires or has he placed himself in a solid position unmindful of such protocols? It’s time to air out the guest rooms. He may become a permanent resident.
Virginia C. Underhill
Trump’s ramp walk
You’ve got to be kidding. Columnist Henry Olsen, identified as a “senior fellow” at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, cites the media’s focus on President Trump’s descent of a ramp at his West Point graduation speech as an example of media bias against him (“Weekend’s ‘ramp-gate’ exposes media bias,” June 17).
The way he maneuvered was weird, and weird attracts attention. Just as his manner of using two hands to drink a glass of water.
But it was Trump’s explanation that actually brought the ridicule and speculation. Olsen accepts the explanation, as though Trump’s habitual lying didn’t long ago cost him the benefit of the doubt as to the truth of any assertion he makes.
True, the ramp didn’t have a handrail, but certainly not “obviously” true that it was steep or that it was slippery. The individual walking beside Trump down the same ramp didn’t seem to have any difficulty. If Olsen had any doubt, he could ask the man.
Trump commands the media, social as well as traditional. Any media critique or criticism of him, fair or unfair, is grossly asymmetrical at best. Worse, neither he nor his followers care about truth. Olsen should. And there should be an organization devoted to Ethics in Public Policy.
A big service
To the pastors and ministers who placed a full page ad in the Sunday paper:
You ask people to follow the teachings of Jesus to pursue justice, reconciliation, tolerance and equity. Those are noble goals. However, in my experience, my white friends and relatives who attend your churches believe in these principles, but at the same time they are totally blind to and emphatically deny the existence of white privilege.
You would do society a big service by changing your rhetoric to begin opening the eyes of your congregants to the ways they are advantaged by the simple fact of the color of their skin.