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Letters to the Editor (8/26/15) 

More on Tibet

I was delighted that Kymelya Sari wrote about the local Tibetan community's work to maintain its culture through the Tibetan school and future community center ["Just Like Home," August 19]. She was a thoughtful and curious interviewer! However, there is one point that needs clarification. Tibetans in exile must preserve their culture because it is being wiped out in their homeland of Tibet by Chinese governmental policies. The article mentions the Tibetan uprising that resulted in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and close to 100,000 Tibetans fleeing to India. What's missing is that the uprising, which was really just Tibetans surrounding the summer palace to protect their leader, happened nine years after China invaded and conquered the independent nation of Tibet.

Today, Tibetans in Tibet are not free to practice their culture. The many Tibetan political prisoners, more than 140 self-immolations and the thousands who flee each year on foot over the Himalayan mountains to Nepal and India testify to this fact. Preservation of culture in exile is essential until greater freedoms are accorded to Tibetans in Tibet. Thank you for shining a light on this essential need.

Jim Kelley

Burlington

Shap Who?

Shap Smith [Fair Game, "Shap Talk," August 19] may be well-known in Montpelier, but I am sick of career politicians. What is this Morrisville miracle that has never been reported on before? Nobody from Randolph to Brattleboro knows this guy.

Jon Appleton

White River Junction

Bernie Won

Bernie's tax battle with Fletcher Allen Health Care was, in fact, remarkably productive ["What a 1987 Tax Battle Says About Bernie Sanders," August 19]. Coming on top of his Mayor's Task Force on Health, which helped to expose unmet health care needs in Vermont, and Fletcher Allen's refusal to take an active role in helping the community, Bernie's efforts effectively saved the People's Free Clinic. That evolved into the Community Health Centers of Burlington, which itself became a model for health centers all around the U.S.

It was soon after Bernie summoned the hospital executives to meet at the PFC that the hospital coincidentally reversed itself and offered in-kind and financial aid to the CHCB, which spurred that center's success. The meeting also produced some wonderful photos of hospital executives with pained expressions during their humbling experience of actually sitting on worn couches in the Old North End.

Bernie's take on health care was truly prescient and long preceded efforts by the Clintons and President Obama. It has had a profound effect on the health care services for the under-franchised in Vermont and the United States.

Jed Lowy

South Burlington

Too Revealing

Paul Heintz's coverage of the murder of Lara Sobel and subsequent activities of the alleged shooter's daughters really missed the journalistic mark [Fair Game, "Children and Families," August 12]. His focus on what Desiree Herring and Felicia Kennison were wearing and their makeup smacks of sexist reporting. Furthermore, that he chose to interview these two young women at a time of deep trauma, recording them revealing family issues and difficulties, seems at best thoughtless and at worst exploitive. There are many aspects of this situation that merit media coverage and analysis, not the least of which include policy issues related to intergenerational poverty, addiction and family violence. By salaciously focusing on the way female crime victims look, Mr. Heintz lowered the journalistic bar and missed an opportunity to initiate a meaningful dialogue about this terrible tragedy.

Karen Tronsgard-Scott

Hinesburg

Tronsgard-Scott is the executive director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.

Ole South Burlington

[Re "Man Takes Aim at South Burlington High School's 'Rebels' Nickname," August 20; "'Rebels' Moniker Debated in South Burlington," August 3]: During the summer of 1962, I played baseball in the Deep South. At the time, segregation was rampant. Unbeknownst to me, this was the start of the civil rights era. I grew tired of being referred to as the "skinny Yankee." I also had trouble with "white" and "colored" facilities. After a summer of steady slurs and put-downs, I was happy to get back to a place of dignity and respect: Vermont.

I remember attending football games at South Burlington High School and was shocked at the school mascot and his accoutrements, Stars and Bars flag,the school colors, playing "Dixie" — a shock to anyone with my background.

In one story, principal Patrick Burke refers to the mascot as "Rebel Guy." The mascot was a direct replica of Colonel Reb of the University of Mississippi, aka "Ole Miss." In 1962, Ole Miss suffered race riots over integration. People died — just like now. In the same article, superintendent David Young did not take a position on the topic. Wow!These are important matters. A school in the Boston area is going through the same "Rebel" debate.With all the turmoil and loss of life over "Old South" issues, it's time to rethink mascots and symbols.

Donald Mac Donald

Burlington

Just Perfect Enough

[Re Poli Psy, "Listen Up, Bernie," "Where Does Sanders Stand on Foreign Policy?" August 12:] Just want to thank Judith Levine and Kevin J. Kelley for pulling back the curtain and showing us all that Bernie Sanders isn't a perfect human being with positions that every single voter agrees with. Perhaps they should start a "draft Jesus" campaign so they can have their "perfect" candidate. Oh, wait. That Jesus guy isn't a citizen. Oh Lord, what will perfection-seeking progressives do now? To whom shall they turn?

Do I agree with Bernie on every single issue? Nope. But this "no one is perfect" progressive will be voting for Sanders because there is no such thing as perfection in politics. It's been that way since the founding of the republic. Never noticed?

Michael Albertson

South Burlington

Correction 9/9/15: An earlier version of this post misspelled reader Jed Lowy's name.

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