Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 5-12-22

Decolonizing the Supreme Court

Among the most interesting things to surface from the amplified coverage of the Supreme Court following the leaked draft decision revoking Roe v. Wade are the words of the text proclaimed by the court’s marshal, Gail A. Curley, before every session of the court. The familiar “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” is followed by an admonition to pay attention and ends with, “God save the United States and this honorable court,” a sentence that strikes this 21st-century citizen as shocking. The provincial religious views of America in the 18th and 19th centuries are cited as though still viable, and this recitation precedes every public session of the court as a matter of course.

If you think this reference to God invokes an unspecified, overarching supreme being, not tied to any religion in particular, try substituting the word “Allah”: “Allah save the United States and this honorable court.” Yet “Allah” is the word used by Muslims of many different denominations to refer to a supreme deity and is therefore a close correlate to our “God.”

When the nation’s founders spoke of the free exercise of religion, they were generally speaking of the Christian religion, without regard to denomination. The religions that might have pre-existed Christianity around Indigenous hearths or been brought to this country by families from Africa, the Caribbean, or Asia were not included under this rubric, any more than the individuals who held them were admitted to the rights of citizens.

So this little sentence spoken before every session of the court essentially enshrines a colonialist view of the world, a view that privileges the perspective of the narrow class of whites who founded this country, not the diverse and multicultural population that now inhabits it.

What would make this sentence (“God save the United States and this honorable court”) palatable today? For one thing, we would want to make sure that our reference to “God” is not seen as invoking only the God of Christianity, thus privileging that religion over others. Note that the favoritism was less apparent in earlier centuries because of the largely Christian nature of the citizenry then. So “Supreme Being” would be the obvious choice: “May the Supreme Being save the United States etc.”

But this still seems to favor monotheistic religions and to be a stand-in for “God.” To avoid confusion, let’s add any lesser deities that might legitimately be venerated, but without calling them lesser: “May the Supreme Being and/or any other venerated deities save the United States.”

And finally, let’s give a nod to the beliefs of those who do not believe. This, I think, will give us a formula that the court’s marshal can proclaim without shaming our national ideals: “May the Supreme Being and/or any other venerated deities, if in fact they exist, save the United States and this honorable court.”

With luck, this bit of a dope slap before each session would help the court behave more honorably. Or at least expand its values beyond those for the patriarchy.

Willard Wood

Norfolk

 

Roe V. Wade reversal would be devastating

This is not a celebration. Abortion is not a choice made without fear, sometimes sadness, sometimes relief.

It’s a lonely decision, and for most women, the only choice they can make for themselves and their families.

When I worked with rural poor people in Nebraska, abortion was not legal. The despair of an unwanted pregnancy was terrible, and often, the pain of an illegal abortion stayed  with a woman for the rest of her life, causing sterility, depression and even death.

Anyone who thinks this was a cheerfully made choice is totally ignorant, if not cruel. I can almost predict that if Roe V. Wade is overturned, horrible stories will again become commonplace.

This is an “issue” that will never be resolved. But please, oh please, don’t call this a celebration.

Jane Bean

Cornwall

 

What should our answer be?

In the year 49 B.C., a Roman general called Gaius Julius crossed the river Rubicon in northern Italy and famously said the words “Alea Iacta est,” or “The die is cast,” meaning that events have passed a point of no return. He challenged the Roman Republic, started a bloody civil war in ancient Rome, won that war, and became the man we know today as Caesar. More than 2000 years later, the European republics are challenged once again, but this time by a threat coming from the East.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Western strategy toward Russia and China was a failure in terms of incorporating them into a global, democratic order with deep economic ties with both countries. The Western Allies did not follow the example of Germany after World War II and fully incorporate Russia into the European Union and possibly with time into NATO. Instead of that Russia and China were allowed to strengthen their ties. Yes, they became richer and more developed economically and technologically, but they also became more authoritarian, imperialistic and anti-Western. Today the China-Russia alliance seems ready for a new future of intense and challenging rivalry with Europe and the United States.

To understand China-Russia behavior we must dive into the mindset of their culture. The Chinese and especially the Russians would gladly sacrifice their domestic sovereignty as an individual for the glory and the success of their country on the international stage and according to them “put the Americans and the Europeans where their place is.” That’s a behavior that comes from experience in the 1990s when the Russians and many Eastern European countries lived in economic and political instability. They are used to living with sanctions, shortages of supplies and the constant threat of war. That’s why Putin’s popularity right now is skyrocketing in Russia. In the eyes of ordinary Russians, he is seen as a new Caesar or Peter the Great. That’s why I believe that sanctions would not be so effective in this conflict.

Russia’s relationship with NATO and the West is fast heading toward militarized rivalry. The new strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing may put the Allies against a new political block from the Western Pacific to Eastern Europe. The main question is, was there a chance that the “Long Peace” would continue indefinitely? Well, the logical answer is probably not. But I believe that there is still a chance for peace.

First, this constant call to war must stop. We are all aware that Russia is doing wrong and we all support Ukraine. There must be a call for negotiations between both parties. It’s always better to have ineffective negotiations than effective war. The mutual interests between the United States, Russia, Europe and China should be focused on the war against poverty and terrorism in the World; space exploration, climate change, improving human rights, healthcare and education. We all need atomic brains, not atomic weapons.

Dalibor Anchevski

MA in International Relations

West Cornwall

Formerly Macedonia

 

Thanks to community

Once again, our wonderful town of Salisbury/Lakeville came together to celebrate the National Day of Prayer.  It was a warm, uplifting time of prayer and song with Michael Brown at the keyboard and community members participating.  Thank you for coming together from all ages and walks of life, all united in prayer from Boy Scout to Eagle Scout, teachers, musicians, banker, families, state representative, selectmen, pastor, firefighter, decorated veteran and state trooper.  Thank you to all participants who made it such a special occasion.  It is a privilege to be part of such a caring, supportive community, one we don’t take for granted.

Newt and Barbara Schoenly

Salisbury

 

Erase any memory

We stand with Ukraine

And share their pain

All the fault of this old dictator

Who should be buried in a crater

Putin does not speak for the Russian people

He thinks he’s high on a steeple

But in actual fact, he’s mad

And from the inside, only bad.

He needs to be removed from his post

And his history burnt, just like toast

Make sure jail is in his future

Don’t sew him up with a suture

Then erase from history any memory

Of this traitor’s treachery

Michael Kahler

Lakeville

 

An informative symposium

Bravo to all the teachers and students who participated in the Troutbeck Symposium in Amenia last week. As one of the public who attended on Friday, April 29, I learned so much about local involvement in the Civil Rights struggle and history in our area from the outstanding research done.

Please stop by the Academy Building in Salisbury to learn about what happened in this area in 1916 and later. Amazing!

Maura Wolf

Salisbury

 

Celebrating nursing professionals

Compassionate, calm, competent, resilient and efficient. These are just a few traits embodied by the skilled nursing teams of Sharon Hospital — a group of individuals transforming care into the 21st century with immense fortitude and courage.

I am proud to serve as the Chief Nursing Officer at Sharon Hospital, where I have had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the amazing work of our nurses for more than four years. Time and again, I am awed by our nursing teams’ skill, compassion and dedication to serving our patients and community. Their perseverance, especially over the last couple of years, is humbling.

May 6 through 12 marks National Nurses Week, and Sharon Hospital has spent this time celebrating them for their extraordinary work as integral caregivers and members of our community. The strength and quality of care delivered across all departments is a testament to their commitment to the nursing profession. Their support remains a strength of our facility today and through the future — and for that, our nurses deserve the utmost recognition.

Our nurses play an essential role in making Sharon Hospital a welcoming, reliable resource. We thank them for tirelessly protecting our community against the ongoing pandemic, for the high-quality, around-the-clock care they provide to those most in need, and for the kindness and support they provide to our entire community in their greatest times of need.

As we close out this Nurses Week, I ask all of you — the patients and community who inspire them — to join me in thanking our Sharon Hospital nursing team.

Christina McCulloch

Chief Nursing Officer – Sharon Hospital

Sharon

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