Trump = Titanic
In your excellent piece "Trumpatized" [May 24], you omitted the answer given by Bruno Latour in his May Harper's magazine article "The New Climate."
Latour suggests we imagine the first-class billionaire passengers on the Titanic spotting the iceberg looming ahead, and, rather than sounding the alarm, they stealthily climb into the lifeboats, lower them and row away.
He uses the phrase "terrible conflagration" to describe what the other passengers do when they notice they have been abandoned and left to drown.
I thought the cover of your last issue depicting President Donald Trump was in bad taste ["Trumpatized," May 24]. Trump is working very hard to create jobs, make America safe and reduce the overwhelming national debt. Vermonters should support him. Your depiction of him was unfair and offensive.
[Re Ask Athena, May 17]: I am overwhelmed with dismay at the advice Athena gives to "Crazy in Love," who asks what she should do with the love she can't deny for her best friend ... who is partnered with and parenting a child with another best friend. I read through Athena's response with a vague sense that she was being too supportive of the idea. But it wasn't until the last paragraph that I exclaimed out loud, "What???" She writes: "Clearly his current relationship was not meant to last if he was susceptible to falling in love with you."
If you've been married for a while, you know that falling in love with other people is exactly what committed partnership sets you up for. It is practically guaranteed that, sometime during the duration of your life partnership, you will fall for someone else. Especially when you have a baby together. So to encourage Crazy in Love to proceed is ill advised. What this person needs to think carefully about is a lifetime of seeing her ex-friend, the mother of her love's child. She needs to think about what it feels like to have your heart broken in this way by two best friends. It is traumatizing and will not go away with patience and support, as Athena suggests. I know. I've broken someone's heart like this, and, 27 years later, I still regret it. My advice: Go on a long trip. Cut ties. Come back in six months and see what's happened.
[Re Off Message: "Walters: Did the Governor Just Wave the White Flag?" May 19]: If Donald Trump's presidency teaches nothing else, it should illustrate that while you can run on mere slogans, you can't govern by whim. Major policy changes need to be made with great care involving participation, study, facts, attention to detail and regard for unintended consequences.
Whether or not it's a good idea, a single statewide teacher health care plan is a major change with many critical details, not only for teachers and our kids, but for the entire state economy. It should definitely be considered, but the critical details would need to be worked out in advance by teachers, school board members and legislators together.
To try to capture credit for savings currently in the works and propose such a change at the end of the session is a desperate shoot-from-the-hip move that is entirely irresponsible. It is also disrespectful to the people and processes of both education and legislation. Both are understandably exasperated.
Lowering property taxes for education is necessary, but it can't be done through simple fiat, with a threat to hold one's breath or by shuttering state government. It will take hard work and a genuine plan, not just a last-minute notion.
[Re Feedback: "Rethinking Reimburse-ments," May 24]: Last week's letter to the editor states: "Vermont physicians in independent practice aren't the only ones getting gypped by the insurance companies." The 11th word in it is considered a racist term. I think the editorial staff at Seven Days should be aware of this word, as it is as offensive as other racist slurs that the paper doesn't publish.
[Re Off Message: "Scott Vetoes Marijuana Legalization in Vermont," May 24]: Gov. Phil Scott wants to keep Vermont in the dark ages. He says he wants to take it slow? How many years has it been since they have been trying to pass a marijuana bill that will work? Why are opiates and alcohol legal? Pot is a lot less dangerous than those things. Wake up, Scott, and smell the roses! Hopefully the ones who passed the pot bill will override it.
[Re "Skin in the Game," May 10]: If you are at all aware of Craftsbury, you'll know it's a small town in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom. About six or seven years ago, a young lady appeared, joined the volunteer fire department, and started farming and sign painting — and tattooing. Cori Jean Sanders of Kingdom Ink has won over this town with her demeanor and service, but mainly with her talent.
'Tough Shit' Pain Policy
The new rules and current weird doctor's-office vibe regarding opioid painkillers has left chronic pain sufferers out in the cold ["Do No Harm: New Rules Discourage Overprescribing Opiates," April 26]. I've been living in Vermont for a year and a half and haven't found a doctor in the state yet. The first one let me explain my entire medical background before announcing that there were no prescriptions of that nature in my medical records, none listed at all. She hadn't bothered to read my medical file but labeled me a pill seeker. Then came more denials, even after reading through eight-plus years of chronic pain history and prescriptions. I got utterly absurd suggestions such as, "Have you tried ibuprofen?" And no alternatives suggested — just, basically, "tough shit." Massage therapy is the only thing that has ever helped me, and insurance refuses to pay for it. They'd rather shove a $10 bottle of pills my way than shell out $90 twice a month for a massage. Now the pills are being taken away, too.
Stick With the Union
Terri Hallenbeck's article on the supposed waning clout of unions in Vermont touched on a topic that is also directly related to Vermonters' concerns about Trumpism ["A Near Miss in Montpelier Suggests a Union's Clout Is Waning," May 24]. Gov. Phil Scott's attacks on unions are directly related to the agenda being pushed nationally by the ultra-right-wing GOP and its sycophantic cohorts in the Democratic Party. The fact that other Vermont workers — union or not — are not flooding their legislators' offices with calls and marching in the streets is somewhat shameful. The issue at play is not unions versus the rest of Vermont's workers; it's anti-worker organizations sponsored by billionaire business people against all working people. Those working Vermonters who begrudge other Vermonters who work hard to keep their union strong are ensuring their own impoverishment in the name of envy. Those who wish they had a union to represent them can begin that process by supporting the teachers' unions in Vermont in their fight against Scott and his corporate anti-union sponsors.
Strong and democratic unions really do make working people's lives better. Politicians who tell you otherwise are not representing the interests of those of us who draw a paycheck. They are representing those who want to shrink that paycheck and put the difference in their pockets.