Letters to the editor May 21 to 27
A collage about the current reopenings and our many concerns about what will happen by local mixed media artist who has had careers as art teacher and commercial artist.
For all of you reading this now, dear subscribers to the River Reporter, you know how valuable this paper is and becoming more so in these strange times.
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The notion that, with tens of thousands dead and many more than a million infected (at this time), it would be a monumental challenge for any president to lead is one that seems to be popping up in the media. Such a framing of our genuinely dire situation is rife with idealistic assumptions that really don’t quite apply.
Firstly, right before our eyes, Trump and his team stumbled their way through the national response to the virus. As late as March, Trump scoffed that the virus was a “Democratic hoax,” daydreamed that the virus would leave with warmer weather and, once knocked back on his heels, falsely bragged that “anyone who wants a test can have a test.” These little bungling baubles are merely symbols of his leadership of nonresponse to a deadly virus that, actually, he was warned about in January.
Secondly and more importantly, in a virus pandemic, the early steps are what fairly determine the dimensions of the contagion. Exponential growth of disease in mathematical terms is something like a wagon beginning to roll down a steep hill—stop it fast or you won’t stop it at all. Trump watched the wagon roll, first scoffed and then blinked.
In similar circumstances, can we really expect that another president would have ignored, denied and, when deaths were out of control, abandoned the federal response to the states? Pick your least favorite president and doubtless still the answer is a resounding “no.” While Rome burned, Nero fiddled. Trump denied and lied while Americans died (and continue to do so). I think he deserves a unique place in history for his singularly unpresidential response to this largely avoidable tragedy.
I just came across Tony Bonavists’s article about the late Frank Mele (10/13/11 - 11/16/96). Thank you for sharing it with us.
Frank was also a significant character and influence in my life, as well. I first met him back in the mid-1960s, about 53 years ago, and we shared a friendship for some 30 years, until his death in 1996. But it was more than a friendship—it was more like a father-son relationship. Still, it was even more than that. He was a father figure, mentor, confidant, coach and so much more. Most of all, he was a friend—a valued friend, an irreplaceable friend. Other than my wife and son, he’s the only person I think of every day of my life, such was his influence and inestimable value. There are no yardsticks by which this value can be measured other than the scar tissue that remains due to his departure. He is missed every moment of every day.
There is so much more to this 30-year friendship. The world is a better place for his having been, and far poorer for his passing. It may be trite, but his kind shall not pass this way again. And there is no closure, nor is there a time limit on grief. As my late mom used to say, “Oh, memories that bless and burn.”
Warren, New Jersey