Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 4-29-21

Signs of hate are not patriotic

We’re in a time of crisis. We’re in a time of change. We’re in a time when hate reigns supreme. But we must hold on and hang on and be patient and ride this out and have faith that reason and common sense will prevail against the ludicrous, asinine behavior of the ignorant who refuse to accept that white isn’t supreme, but acceptance of culture and color makes the best gourmet food and the best life for all. 

What we’re witnessing is the last gasp and grasp at straws of the Christian White Right clinging to the end of their majority. The “F*** you” flags, and the signs saying, “Jews Want Your Guns” and the Trumps, Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Stephen Millers of the world are just the last hurrah to the end of the Great White Hope. There never was a Great White Hope. Whatever it was, it is now just the “Great White Hate.” 

So, go on and fly your silly flags, hold up your Nazi signs, you’re too blinded with hate and anger to see how ridiculous you are behaving or to be taken seriously. It’s comedy. It’s quickly turning into a bad joke, but a joke all the same. There is a punch line here somewhere, I just know there is.

And all this banter of being a patriot — believing lies, and believing in an insurrection is not only unpatriotic, but also treasonous. Believing in the Constitution, and not just the part about the right to own guns or the parts one likes, but all of it, is patriotic. Believing in and supporting the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence is patriotic. 

We need to embrace the way our Founding Fathers envisioned this country and not let people muddy it up with narcissistic and racist beliefs, thinking one can get away with that behavior by labeling themselves a patriot. 

We all have an opportunity to pursue happiness. Religion plays no part in our government — and our government plays no part in religion. Thomas Jefferson made that clear. If that angers you, then so be it, but please stop calling yourself an American or a Patriot. Your views by definition are un-American, and unpatriotic, and our Founding Fathers said so. 

Now, if someone could please let me know who I need to talk to, so I can get one of those space lasers, that’d be great. 

Andrew Stayman

Pine Plains

 

A smooth transition expected as Dr. Handler passes the torch to Dr. Timm

In the Summer of 2013, the Pine Plains Central School District engaged Dr. Martin Handler to head the District as Superintendent. Dr. Handler came to our District with an extensive background in Education Management and it became immediately clear that his experience was what our District needed.

In the ensuing years, under Dr. Handler’s leadership, academic standing has risen to be in the upper tier of Dutchess County schools. Innovative programs and working closely with the teaching staff proved to be the catalyst the District needed. Each year of Dr. Handler’s tenure has seen improvement in test scores, in Regents scores, and in the graduation rate.

At the same time, Dr. Handler has presided over an extraordinary period of labor peace with the District’s collective bargaining units. He has proven that, when treated respectfully and honestly, the entire community of the District’s employees can produce a great educational environment and impressive results.

Lastly, the District’s financial situation has never been better. Dr. Handler has proven to be a strong steward of the District’s facilities and finances. Ours is one of only a handful of District’s across the State without any debt. And our facilities are top notch.

We will soon approach the time when Dr. Handler will step aside and enjoy more leisure time. Dr. Handler will step down from his leadership position with the close of the 2021-22 school year. The thanks of the community seem inadequate for his contributions, and his leadership will become part of the rich lore of our School District.

Part of his leadership has been preparing for that day by ensuring a smooth transition in the Superintendency. To that end, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Brian Timm will succeed Dr. Handler to become the next Superintendent of the District. 

Dr. Timm has played a key role in the academic success of the District during his tenure here and has demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to continue the District’s drive to excellence. With his experience in the District, the Board of Education feels confident that Dr. Timm is the best candidate to carry forward the growth of the District. 

Dr. Timm will begin his role as the next Superintendent July 1, 2022. Over the next year, Dr. Handler and Dr. Timm will create a seamless transition that will ensure the extraordinary progress made over the past eight years will continue to grow.

Chip Couse

President, 

Pine Plains Central School District Board of Education

Milan

 

The police do a good job, and they could do it even better

Today marks tragic times for us and our police. Sometimes, very tragic, as all are being assaulted, perhaps as never before.  Our “good” police appear to be dragged down into the mud of history.

When I enlisted and went to Vietnam, I was immature, eyes closed, and unfortunately believed in the slogan, “My country, right or wrong…”  I can and will not believe in this fallacy ever again. My service opened my eyes to an America that often times, was very wrong. Politicians sent 58,000-plus young men to their deaths.

Today, our policing is in desperate need of change. Our good police must stand up, and totally reject the “Blue Wall of Silence.” Good police who stand by this must understand, we stand with them, but not in the perversion of protecting the bad. Their own silence has and is condemning them. America is demanding change.

 I would suggest some measures (as a means to open dialogue): New stronger mental, emotional vetting, potentially weeding out the weak, those easily distracted and potentially prone to violating our laws; better pay and promotional opportunities; monies must be allocated to ensure policy changes; mandatory college degrees in new hires, and require the same, after a period of time, for those currently serving; stronger and continued mental health and in-house training; rules that require “shoot to kill” first must change; stronger educational training in ethics and history; the use of handguns only when to defend one’s life; better knowledge of American history, our Constitution and the history of racism; much more positive focus on policing policies; officers serving should have more input to making policing safer and better for themselves and those they serve.

A better program would help the good police come forward when they see improper policing. Good police must be rewarded. Our police face many challenges for sure, but we all will be better if the discussion starts now.

The police deserve better treatment from all. They and only they have the ability to make it happen. God bless those who serve us so well!

Buddy Platt

Copake

 

Reasons why the filibuster make sense in a democracy

I’m writing to respond to a letter by Mr. John Walters in the April 22 Millerton News.

I am fully in favor of your implied call for comity in our institutions of representative government. The whole idea of democracy is majority rule with certain and sacrosanct limitations that protect the rights of any minority and those of individuals. But this structure is just a golden idea until it is inhabited by diverse people and cultures working together to achieve a just and peaceful, if occasionally cumbersome, society. This, I suspect, is where we part ways.

You write as an apparent fan of the filibuster. Historically it was a contrivance invented and wielded by slave states. It ought to be used rarely and then only as originally intended, by an individual senator trying to hold the floor long enough to exhaust his opponents. But that would require respect for the unwritten rules of courteous behavior, fairness and deference to the other person’s point of view, which have all but vanished from our House and Senate chambers.

Commitment to this attitude is a basic tenet of civil society. When a large majority of the Republican House caucus voted to reject the will of the people, expressed in the cleanest, most participatory presidential election in many years, people either lose faith in the democratic process or in the Republican Party. So far both have diminished.

The problem, Mr. Walters, is typified by our Supreme Court. It is now radically skewed to the religious right, a direction that may well please you. Catholics number around 20% nationwide, which should yield at most two justices, yet six of nine justices or 66.7% are Catholic. 

How did this happen? Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the short answer. First, he sacrificed the comity of the Senate, defied many decades of precedents and distorted his institutional power far beyond its intended bounds to keep a Supreme Court seat empty for eight months — eight months — to humiliate the Black man in the White House, and allow the next president to appoint a conservative anti-abortion Republican, which Donald Trump promptly did. 

He then enjoyed a second nomination, Brent Kavanaugh, who won his controversial appointment by two votes. And then, most outrageous of all, McConnell embraced hypocrisy and gave a twice-impeached president a dream lame-duck gift: another Supreme Court appointment. Since then McConnell has had the effrontery to complain, without foundation, that Democrats are not playing by the rules. Or maybe he’s just taunting them.

Democrats and the country have suffered other gross abuses of power from recent Republican office holders, usually in hurt silence. Newt Gingrich twice shut down the government over budget issues, for example. 

Mitch McConnell refused to bring hundreds of bills to the floor, and dozens of centrist judges until those positions could be filled by conservatives. If getting rid of the Senate filibuster will stymie future power grabs by any tyrant or party, I’m all for it.

Tom Parrett

Millerton

 

 

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