To the editor:
The weirdness just keeps getting weirder. So it is with a short but nonetheless entertaining letter by John Cartier of Haverhill.
He writes, "We have replaced patriotism with burning the flag."
Perhaps he doesn't know that millions of people in American begin each day by saluting the flag and a moment of silence. I do every day as a Haverhill teacher. I teach respect and honor every day. I can't remember the last time a flag was burned in Haverhill or, for that matter, New England.
I agree with Cartier when he writes that we have replaced peace with violence. The United States has been at war for most of the last 120 years — the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, thew Contra War in Nicaragua, Iraq I, Iraq II and Afganistan.
I'm sad to say most of these wars were misguided military adventures, with World War II being the only moral war in 120 years.
It's a toss-up if World War I was worth the cost. The allies sowed the seeds for the Nazis by negotiating a punishing treaty: if you conquer your enemies, shower their citizens with respect and show them how good you are. We did that with the Marshall Plan and rebuilt Japan making it a wonderful place to live.
Korea was a stalemate. We lost on Vietnam. We lost in Nicaragua. We lost in Iraq.
We lost in Afganistan before we started. Think of all the wasted money and people who died for no good reason.
So Cartier is right: We Americans seem happiest when there is war to be had.
For the United States is one of the most violent nations in earth. Hate crimes and violence involving guns have increased dramatically under the watchful regime of President Donald Trump and his band of what Cartier calls, “faith filled parents.”
If you see a contradiction there, hooray, you can pass the ninth-grade MCAS writing test.
Finally, Cartier writes that the “sick” world we live in can be corrected by asking God for intervention, the usual answer the radical right uses to solve homelessness, hunger, poor schools, divorce, job loss, nuclear weapon proliferation, gun violence, shootings in our schools … did I miss anything?
First Lady Nancy Reagan said, “Just say no” to drug use. Cartier’s answer is, “Just pray.”
He takes aim at the favorite bugaboo of the radical right and invokes abortion as an example of our disrespect for life. He forgets that until abortion was legal, millions, mostly poor, died from self-inflicted or doctor botched abortions.
Rather than keep abortion rare, legal and affordable, he recommends we “return to faith.” This will reduce suicide and depression. I recommend he take the training for the Samaritans, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention run by volunteers nationwide.
Finally, he echoes that master manipulator of language, President Richard Nixon, and writes that the “silent majority must be longer be silent.”
But I thought the silent majority yelled loudly when they elected Trump.
They are silent no longer.