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Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Offending History

To the editor:
The debate over the removal of statues honoring Confederate leaders and events is being framed in terms of whether it is appropriate to "erase history," as some phrase it. History should be remembered, although not necessarily reverenced; but this debate misses the point.
The statues and other artifacts of the Confederacy function not merely as historical items; they are used as icons and rallying-points for the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who use them as symbols for their racist agendas, in the same way that they use swastikas, and would publicly use images of Hitler if they could do so without wholesale condemnation.
In their minds, a statue of Robert E. Lee (a kind and gentle man who fought out of loyalty to Virginia, not to ideology) symbolizes the same thing as a swastika or a burning cross. That is the justification for removing his statue; to make it unavailable for hateful purposes, which I believe would disgust General Lee as much as they do me.

Rev. Carl Bowers

World view limitations

To the editor:
“The only antidote to the vulgarity of the human heart is doubt and good taste.” - Joseph Brodsky
Each of us has a “world-view,” a set of structural beliefs that provide an orientation to the world. We humans are the only animal whose nature is significantly molded through its experience. A corollary to this is that the perspective we acquire immersed in a culture appears as the “natural” set of beliefs. Humans are capable of critical thinking, of questioning their world-view. But that is an activity. Most “thinking” is passive - practical or tangential to received ideas.
Competition between members of the same species for limited provisions and mates yields the kinds of behavior we witness in nature and the “news” every day.
The combination of these two forces - nature's demands, and our world-view's limitations - are the winds that blow the sails of human activity. That critical thinking is possible is what enables changes of direction. If having a perspective that it is possible to widen is what distinguishes us from the rest of nature, then Joseph Brodsky's admonition is wisdom.

Roy Tedoff

Help volunteer Fire/EMS

To the editor:
I was encouraged by 2 articles (last week) Ann Steimle's EMS column on 8/8 and how Aileen Gunther is working to get funding and medical support for volunteer fire fighters. I thank both of you.
Volunteer firefighters are exposed to various dangers especially cancer causing agents while on scenes. But believe it or not, it is not dying or being injured / sick that I struggle with, I know God will care for me and my family.
I am most negatively affected by the calls like the car accident where one person died and the other passenger is fine, or the call where a person you know died during their sleep and the family, wants you to do CPR like in the movies and yell "clear" and "shock" their loved one back to life, or seeing young adults you knew from your town as kids getting Narcan for opiod abuse.
However it is the calls like "mild back pain" at 1 a.m. or the activated (false) alarm at 3 a.m. or the "common cold" call Sunday afternoon that causes me to question continuing as a volunteer EMT/fire fighter.
I have a professional career and my own business as an occupational therapist, and a family with normal problems that go along with normal life. Who needs to get cancer because of firefighting, or hurt your back carrying a victim down the stairs, or have PTSD or depression because you are around death regularly, then not be properly covered or helped by the state and community you serve. And meanwhile millions of strong able-bodied men who won't work let alone volunteer, relax at home and collect public assistance. God help us. Something has got to give.
God bless America, One Nation under God, In God we trust.

John “JP” Pasquale
Livingston Manor

Thank you from the bottom of our heart

To the editor:
I want to thank all the good people of Callicoon, Hankins, and Long Eddy, for giving the Franciscans a home in Sullivan County. Through the years, you have shown your love, concern and help during the past 122 years of the Franciscan presence.
Many of the former pastors of Holy Cross and St. Patrick planned to come to Callicoon and thank you in a personal way, but that was not possible. Fr. Damian Kehr, OFM, the first Franciscan pastor in Callicoon, traveled by foot and train to bring the Faith to so many in the Delaware Valley. This continued through the years as the Friars founded parishes in many locations in Sullivan County. You and your ancestors have made all that possible. Thank you!
I can't forget the beautiful former St. Joseph Seminary on Aroma Hill. It was built of brick faced with bluestone quarried and cut on the grounds. Most of the workers were from Callicoon and Sullivan County. It was dedicated on May 30, 1911. The beautiful bluestone building was added to the National Register of Historical Places on July 8, 1993. Thank you!
Callicoon is a name known throughout the Franciscan World. Franciscan Missionaries, Pastors, and Educators have begun their Franciscan life in your great little town. Thank you!
For 17 years as the pastor of Holy Cross, I have admired the faith and loyalty of the people of Callicoon and Sullivan County. It has been my honor, as all the former pastors, to be a part of your joys and sorrows, and of your lives. You have truly been my family for so many years. Thank you!
The Franciscan spirit will live on in Delaware Valley. We pray that our Franciscan presence has, and will enrich your spiritual lives, and St. Francis and the God he served so well, will look after you and protect you. God bless you all, Catholic, Non-Catholic, we couldn't have done it without you!

Fr. Ignatius Smith, OFM
Loudonville, NY

Condemn the violence!

To the editor:
Donald Trump just came down strongly against the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, yet didn't condemn the combination of white supremacists, KKK members, nazis, and alt-right followers who precipitated the outbreak. But I'm not surprised since Trump apparently didn't want to say, or do something that would upset a large swath of his, and the GOP's voter base.

Marshall Rubin

To President Trump

To the editor:
Before you go to bed each night, repeat the following: "I am the President. I am NOT the King!" "I am the President, I am NOT the King!" (Say this three or more times ... until it begins to make sense.) Continue: "The People of this country deserve my respect ... even those who did not vote for me." (Once is enough for this sentence). Continue: "I represent (only) ONE of the three branches of the Government of this great land." Continue: "I REPRESENT the People, I do not RULE them." Continue: "Tomorrow I will try to have something positive / constructive to say instead of bragging about my election and the size of my hands. I will work to bring dignity to the Highest Office In The Land."
You, sir, could have that posted on your ceiling over the bed so you won't forget about it. WE THE PEOPLE Need You!! Please work to make us a better country by respecting opposing views. Not everyone is a "loser"!

Jim Newton
Livingston Manor

Faso on protecting river communities

To the editor:
While there are many issues facing Congress that we have a hard time agreeing on, Republicans and Democrats can come together on important efforts that benefit our region. Just recently, funding for a new program that will leverage private dollars to complete local conservation projects received strong bipartisan support in the House Appropriations Committee. The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program was established at the end of last year by Congress, and this year we are working to secure funding to support grants to local communities for projects like stream restoration to clean up our water and prevent harmful flooding.
This non-regulatory program is exactly the kind of effort Congress should be supporting. By promoting partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and private partners throughout the region, the restoration program ensures there is local input and control over how these conservation efforts are carried out.
Groups like the Upper Delaware River Tailwaters Coalition, Trout Unlimited, and Friends of the Upper Delaware River, are already investing their resources in protecting the streams, rivers, and natural resources of our region through cost-effective efforts that employ local engineers and planners. Leveraging these private investments through a matching grant program will expand the great efforts taking place and provide even more opportunities to improve our surroundings.
Protecting our water is essential to building and sustaining a strong economy and good quality of life in our region. I am proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advocate for funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program so we can support important local efforts here in the Upper Delaware River.

Congressman John J. Faso

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