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Admit the damage caused by MAGA movement

In response to the letter writer who suggested people support the MAGA movement and its primary proselytizer, the fortunately for America former president, please allow me to ask the following questions:

1. Was America made greater by increasing the fractures in our society with his vitriolic rhetoric that encourages extremism, hate and violence?

2. What improvements occurred in the lives of ordinary Americans during his administration? How do you reconcile the great ‘plusses’ with the ever widening wealth gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nothings’? Please admit that under the previous administration: America was never energy independent, did not have a balanced budget; a lasting peace in the Middle East was never achieved, and the US did not enjoy full employment.

3. How many deaths might have been prevented if only the ex-president had listened to his scientists and encouraged Americans to follow the experts’ advice? Why did he not set a good example, thereby saving even more American lives? One million American lives have been lost to COVID, and research now shows that almost 1/3 of those who died were unvaccinated. His bad example of refusing to mask continues to cause illness and death.

4. How does the letter writer convince himself that the former president made America great by encouraging violent white supremacists and anti-Semites, who chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’ in Charlottesville. His statement that ‘there were good people on both sides’ was understood by everyone as showing his approval of the racism displayed by the marchers. To say that his comment was despicable is a gross understatement. What about the continuing carnage from mass shootings by those MAGA followers emboldened by his and his surrogates repeated ‘dog whistles’ to hate those who are different from themselves? Does the letter writer remember Charleston, El Paso, Pittsburgh and Buffalo?

5. Does respect from our allies and enemies include shrugging off the murder of journalists like Jamal Khashoggi in order to make a buck and curry favor with a regime that represses half its population? Or praising sworn enemies like the North Korean and Russian dictators who imprison their populace and threaten their neighbors? Or abandoning our Kurdish allies after they supported our own fighting troops?

6. Can we really trust and support a leader who has scammed his own charity, by his own account molested women, cheated on his financial statements (and taxes?), attempted to extort political cooperation from a foreign country’s leader, betrayed his oath of office for personal profit, conspired to overturn a legitimate presidential election and, most reprehensibly, fomented the Capitol insurrection that injured people sworn to protect our elected officials and caused the loss of human life?

7. Does the MAGA-supporting letter writer refuse to see the parallel with the rise of Hitler and other demagogues who came to power by creating an ‘us against them’ mentality that led to the deaths of millions? Has he forgotten or never learned the adage that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it?

9. Why do I write this letter? Because I remember the quote by Martin Niemoller, the German pastor who spent years in a Nazi concentration camp: “First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Unionists, and I did not speak out — I was not a Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

In conclusion, if America is ever to be great again it will only occur when those espousing the ‘euphemism’ of MAGA realize and admit the damage that the movement and its leader have done. Greatness comes with moral and ethical leadership. We can only hope that both MAGA and its figurehead will soon reside in the ‘Dustbin of History.’

Joshua Wien

Manchester Center

No to MAHA — Make America Hate Again

In response to “Another Pres. Biden euphemism?” by Perry Green (May 11). The use of the acronym MAGA is very misleading. A better and more accurate acronym would be MAHA, or “Make America Hate Again.”

The 1920’s brought the “Invisible Empire” or the control of state governments across the country by Klansmen. We are witnessing the rise of hate groups again, whether it’s the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, or the Patriot Front who rallied in Charlottesville, shouting, “The Jews will never replace us.” Of course I have to add, Tucker Carlson’s so-called “patriot Americans” who stormed the capitol on January 6th. Oh yes, let’s not forget the stacking of the Supreme Court and the proposed taking away reproductive health care, but allowing gun violence by young radicalized, racist individuals.The former president that Mr. Green so admires gave voice to these groups.

Unfortunately we are going backwards instead of forward. Let your voice be heard in November.

Valerie Takvorian

Arlington

Advocate for equal access

When she was a child, Judy Heuman was denied admission to kindergarten in New York City because she was considered a fire hazard. She was a polio survivor and used a wheelchair for her mobility. Since those dark days, Judy has been a key player in the formation and implementation of legislation that ranges from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, to the Americans with Disabilities Act, to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She is also one of the main subjects of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Crip Camp.”

Times have changed since Judy was considered a fire hazard, but only because of the determined and on-going efforts of Judy and many other activists like her.

Unfortunately, times have not changed enough. Take the recent testimony to the Green Mountain Care Board by Sarah Launderville, Executive Director at the Vermont Center for Independent Living. Sarah described at length how our healthcare system is biased against people with disabilities, offering many specific examples of how this has harmed people. In addition to physical inaccessibility in offices, policies have been implemented that cause or perpetuate discrimination and inequity. Lack of access to services exacerbates illness produces additional costs.

People like Judy and Sarah need help — the help of people like you, dear reader — to advocate for equal access and inclusion. Without it, people with disabilities will be increasingly marginalized and ignored.

Charlie Murphy

Bennington


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