This is an opportunity to share your thoughts about the state of the union. Letters will be published which offer solutions to our current problems or ask important questions. Only those letters that invite discussion in a respectful way will be published.
March 26, 2018
I drove to the DC "March for our Lives" over the weekend. I went because I wanted to support these young people. What I saw were articulate youth committed to democracy and voting to achieve the government they want. What they want, what I want, are sensible gun laws, laws to make us all safer and save lives. They want their representatives to be responsive and responsible. No one wants to take guns away from hunters or from people who wish to protect their families.
I hope you can get letters from many sides of this issue, all expressed with respect for one another.
Response: I hope the same. Sarah
I must write. I didn't realize until a few weeks ago that Putin's greatest triumph was not meddling in our elections. It was sewing the seeds of discord within our country.
He has managed to make Americans hate fellow Americans. Many now think of citizens who disagree with them as the enemy.
Putin must be as amazed at his success as terrorists were when they brought down the twin towers with two airplanes.
We all love our country and that should mean we love the citizens within it. We are not the enemy.
I hope we will find a way to elect men and women to Congress who believe in compromise and have not been seduced by the wish for power or money.
We must try to secure the voting rolls and the voting booths from outside intervention. That means we must all be active citizens--not to demonize those who disagree with us, but to stand up for the principles that have made our country great.
Amen to all of that. Maybe we need more members of the Coffee Party who seek the common ground.
How can we allow our country to sink into a morass of hatred, violence, and prejudice?
Of course, we have never been a country free of prejudice and cruelty. But we have never seen it endorsed as something reasonable before.
We are better than this.
I hope you take comfort in people who are speaking out for decency and the need to look at what unites us rather than what divides us. I am. They are achieving some results.
Do I wish Congress could work in a bipartisan way to achieve solutions to our biggest problems like immigration, health care and taxes? Of course I do.
Perhaps one day that will happen.
How satisfying to read good mystery writers and how frustrating to try to make sense of current politics!
Some authors I have enjoyed so much I experienced the same book multiple ways – books, audio, and movies. I used to try to understand what is happening politically with a variety of divergent inputs as well – different networks, different print media and variety of hosts and yet it is mostly frustrating.
No one situation gives enough perspective to understand the character of people in leadership positions. It is the cumulative set of behaviors, actions and expressed attitudes that allow us to trust who the leader actually is and where he or she is likely to lead us.
For mystery readers the most loved “Chief Inspectors” use an identifiable set of analytical skills and interpersonal styles and apply them to a wide variety of situations. A sense of the true character of political leaders is very difficult because there is no cumulative, objective understanding of who they are. Switch networks and the analysis can be a day and night difference.
The comparison of the enduring Chief Inspectors verses the lack of consistency of Trump over any issue from the beginning of a sentence to the end of the sentence is unsettling. (Of course it helps that there is one expert to create the consistency of a fictional character).
With politicians there are sharp polarities in the analysis of their character. Was Hilary a crook or the most qualified candidate based on her experience? Is Trump a good business man who can fix America’s problems using business skills? The election is over so it is Trump’s character and other leaders in the news that we have to try to understand.
In a good mystery there is usually a murder or two so it is not that the characters are all “good”. The characters run the gamut of thoughts, experiences, emotions and actions. The detective sorts through the history and looks at the character of the suspects and intuits the who, the motivation and the how. The good result is when she can put together a “story” with evidence that the jury will believe beyond a reasonable doubt. Our national leaders too are dealing with a complex set of people – congress, constituents, media, other countries etc. They also have to lay out a case or story that invites us to believe them beyond a reasonable doubt.
As we look at fictional Chief Inspectors like Louise Penny’s Gamache, Colin Dexter’s Morse and Lewis and PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh we see very different characters but each with enduring staying power with the public. I am longing for some national leaders that can reveal who they are beyond their partisan positions and show us character that is consistent enough that we can trust the likelihood that they are up to doing a complex job.