Letters to the Editor

‘The world is ours — together’

To the Editor:

The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers
Little we see in nature is ours…
— William Wordsworth

The world is ours and we are the world’s — together with all other life on this planet we are interdependent. We need each other if the earth and life itself are to survive and begin again to thrive. We are all prodigal sons and daughters because we no longer recognize each other; brothers and sisters, getting and spending, we have lost our power to recognize one another, to love and respect one another.

If I prick your finger, you will bleed no matter what color or religion or nationality you claim. If you prick mine, I will bleed. If I crash my knee, I will scream out in pain and so would you. If I find love, my heart swells with joy — so will yours. If you are hungry and I feed you, that will feel natural and so would the reverse.

If the air is filled with smoke, as carbon attacks the atmosphere, we will both choke and cough and the trees will do their best to clean that air until they too are overwhelmed.

If the water is polluted or gone from drought, we will thirst and so will the plants: our entire fellow living organisms will suffer together. If the ice at the North Pole melts and streams through the world, it will arrive back home eventually warmer still and add to the melting and because it flows through the whole of our world, we could recognize our kinship and interdependence just by being observant and responsive.

We all share a capacity to do harm, to learn to go to war and kill; but we all also have the capacity to love and care for one another. If we can discover and cultivate that capacity within ourselves, we could spread that love, person to person, and it will grow and thrive and our planet will survive. We must learn to grow and nurture our capacity for love and forego the greed that fuels our “getting and spending.” When we “lay waste our powers,” we diminish ourselves and the opportunity to share the bounty of a thriving earth.

Whatever you call yourself, whatever you worship, wherever you live, cannot there be peace between us all? What will it take to open our eyes and hearts and truly see ourselves in each other?

I harbor a delicate child inside my elderly self who still stands on the one-legged hope that we can and will save our world and ourselves.

Maurice G. Eldridge
Swarthmore

Pennsylvania is play — now play fair

To the Editor:

On Thursday, September 22, I attended a Donald Trump campaign event in Aston, ten minutes from my home. This was the second time in as many weeks that Trump had rallied his supporters in the city of Aston. Clearly, based on Trump’s recent visits, perennial swing-state Pennsylvania is in play this presidential election season. In particular, Philadelphia’s suburban communities are in play as they, and the city itself, constitutes 40 percent of the electorate in the Keystone State.

What arrested my attention, and saddened me at the rally, were all of the anti-Clinton and anti-Black Lives Matter T-shirts and buttons, including: Trump that b—- (read, Hillary), Deplorable (read, not Black) Lives Matter, and Terrorist Hunting Permit(ted) (read, kill Muslims and other “Arab” people). I wondered, how did Hillary Clinton become an anti-woman stand-in for all women? I heard one Trump supporter next to me remark, “I can’t imagine any man holding a sign for Hillary.” But when did supporting an accomplished woman for President make a man less of a man? A vote for Trump has now become a vote for real manhood. As well, is it now acceptable to deride the Black Lives Matter movement, and declare open hunting season against immigrants and others who fit the “terrorist” profile?

South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn says that Trump, unlike past Republicans, is no longer using “dog whistles” — coded bigoted messaging — but “wolf howls” — overt misogynist and racist language — to activate his base of angry supporters. That base was fired up and ready to do battle at the Trump rally I attended.

Eight years ago, Arizona Republican candidate John McCain was told in a town hall meeting by one of his supporters that Barack Obama was untrustworthy because he was “Arab.” McCain rebuffed his supporter, “No, he’s a decent man, a family man, we simply disagree.” I wish McCain had challenged the speaker’s Islamophobia, but at least he pushed back against her coded racist and birther denigration of Obama. But today — so the campaign shirts and buttons at the rally — Donald Trump actively encourages the most repugnant slogans and put-downs imaginable.

As in most political rallies, the rhetorical excesses characterized both sides of the debate. I was dismayed to see pro-Clinton supporters deride Trump, and, by implication, his supporters, as stupid and ignorant. The slogan I.Q. Matters: No Trump, also depressed me as it further fuels the cycle of rhetorical violence, but this time at the expense of people with intellectual disabilities. Finally, I witnessed the irony that most of the memorabilia vendors were African-American, even though Trump is getting zero percent of the black vote in recent Pennsylvania polls. This further deepened my pain at the rally. The vendors I spoke with said they had to make a living, and this is more than understandable. But I long for the day when low-income neighbors can find employment consistent with their core values — and the day when all of us, conservative and progressive alike, can engage one another in spirited, respectful discourse instead of hateful name-calling.

Mark Wallace
Swarthmore

Recovery must have a place

To the Editor:

R-2 zoning grants group residence as required by the Americans With Disability Act (“Sober Living House Hearing.” The Swarthmorean. 9/23). This includes recovering addicts. But when asked if active drug users are protected, the answer was “No.”

All drug users are considered “in recovery.” This designation suggests that their condition is a permanent part of their psychological makeup and always “active,” thereby exempting this protection. However, compassion suggests that they should be allowed continued treatment. It is to be expected that, like Brian Fetterman, some will be found dead by their own hand now and again. In most of these cases, but not all of them, these patients are not an immediate danger to their neighbors. It will be interesting to see, one step at a time, how this hearing moves along.

John Brodsky, M.D.
Swarthmore

Millard Robinson victory

To the Editor:

I resided in Swarthmore from 1953 to 1956. As a junior high school student, I was the scoreboard keeper at the old Rutgers Avenue field. I also did scores for Swarthmore College.

Millard Robinson was a fantastic coach. He had many undefeated seasons, and I remember the one in 1955.

In his tenure, he never had a losing season. He was a disciplinarian, the Lombardi type, but was well respected and admired by his fellow football players. He could get the most talent out of a player.

As time goes on, things change. It’s sad to see all the old high school rivals such as Darby, Yeadon, Lansdowne-Aldan, Sharon Hill, Collingdale, Glenolden, Ridley Park, Eddystone, Nether-Providence, Media, etc., all regionalized. On the Internet, I only recognize Radnor, Marple-Newtown, Springfield, Ridley, West Chester and Chester.

I surely miss the record hops, Bob Horn’s Bandstand, and Saturday afternoon Swarthmore High School football games. Go, Garnet!

Ed Hunt
Leominster, Mass.

One thought on “Letters to the Editor

  1. Sober Living House and Brian Fetterman’s Death from Heroin and Fentanyl
    ____________________________________________________________________
    John Brodsky aptly points out that addicts in “recovery” deserve compassionate care, but may also be actively using, and that a small number can pose a threat of immediate danger to neighbors.
    Having run a narcotic treatment center, I am aware of the inadequate number of facilities for treatment of addicts due to lack of state funding and because of community attitudes of NIMBY. We are in the midst of a huge narcotic epidemic and urgently need a range of acute and rehabilitative treatment facilities.

    If Sober Living House is to be allowed to remain, troubling questions need to be answered. These include (1) how “guests” are vetted for acute drug use, for motivation and for criminal records, (2) whether there is a competent program with frequent group sessions where a troubled member is appropriately dealt with, (3) whether spot urine tests are performed, and (4) whether there is a procedure for expelling guests who threaten the well-being of the House, the neighbors and the larger community.

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