Letters for December 21, 2017
‘Tsunami of suffering’
Re “Thankful for those sharing their pain” (Guest comment, by Cheryl Leeth, Dec. 14):
Americans are the most exploitative people to ever walk the Earth. We relentlessly exploit animals, the environment and each other. Human-on-human abuse is justified on the basis of class, race, gender, intelligence, talent, appearance and plain-old status. And the elite, especially in affluent white households, indulge in a preposterous material feeding frenzy.
Within this ocean of exploitation, sexual exploitation is of particular interest. We are an emotionally wounded people—though this is shrouded in denial—and while we’re also a repressed people, we devour sexually graphic pop culture. It’s a schizophrenic mess.
Enter Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo. The less complex version: Powerful men are exploitative monsters. The more complex version: We are widely complicit in monstrous exploitation.
It’s important to identify sexual harassment (here defined as more powerful people leveraging power to sexually coerce less powerful people) as a scourge. But it’s also useful to do so in the context of the tsunami of suffering experienced by billions of oppressed beings around the world. That is, it’s important to acknowledge Gwyneth Paltrow’s suffering (albeit with household wealth of around $200 million), while not ignoring the suffering of the Bangladeshi, who will manufacture Paltrow’s next pair of jeans.
Hanging up our irons
Re “Vanishing act” (Cover story, by Alastair Bland, Dec. 7):
While I am familiar with the fisheries resource studies of diminishing abalone populations due to environmental factors, I feel we harvesters also share responsibility for the pressure we have exerted in recent decades. When I was a boy living on the Mendocino County coast, our dads pried gunny sacks of abalone off the rocks during minus tides with no regard for limits.
In later years, donning wetsuits, masks, fins and snorkels, we and thousands of others like us spent weekends every season grabbing our limits of five abalone per person per day without a thought to the pressure we were exerting. This, even though my skin-diving instructor insisted that “If one ab doesn’t feed four people, someone’s a glutton.”
Our worst trespass was to take limits for friends and family who weren’t even diving, a violation that I witnessed all the time. The “gluttons” among us would take limits home just to stick them in the freezer and forget about them, not thinking that the same abalone would continue to grow and reproduce if left in the ocean.
So, I don’t dispute the closure, on principle. My only concern is that now only we law-abiding divers will hang up our abalone irons, while the poachers steal the abalone we may never take again.
Re “Taking it to the streets” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Dec. 14):
While I applaud Jessica Holcombe’s rise from growing up so poor that she lived in a van to getting scholarships to attend good universities, my one question for her is: Have you paid your student loans back?
Study up, City Council
Re “Common sense be damned” (Editorial, Dec. 7):
Yes, this is such a disappointment. So many will go without the cannabis medicine that helps them. I guess they’ll have to go back to opioids. And as far as recreational cannabis—watch some of Rick Steves’ (you know, the travel guy) videos on YouTube about civil rights and cannabis—get informed.
It’s high time the conversation opens and our city and county get smart about the job possibilities, the benefits and the pure civil rights of their citizens. Not to mention the revenues for the community. I don’t think this City Council is well-versed on this subject at all.
Re “Under the gun” (Cover story, by Ken Smith, Nov. 30):
The Jesus Center let Tyler Rushing down. The name “Jesus” should remind us all of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Few people know Tyler made a visit to the Jesus Center on Friday, July 21. Tyler was shot and killed on July 23. My wife and I visited the Jesus Center and were treated in a dismissive manner by a staff member. We were not allowed to see a camera recording of Tyler. We were trying to discover the activities of our son prior to his shooting death—a reasonable request.
The staff of the Jesus Center, in my opinion, should ask every visitor seeking assistance if there is anyone the staff can reach out to who might want to speak to or assist the visitor, such as family and friends. A standard, scripted document should be used by the intake interviewer. Appropriate, simple training procedures should be implemented immediately.
The leadership of the Jesus Center needs to concentrate on the quality and effectiveness of the services it offers and be less focused on its new location and pleasing the local businesses and neighbors, from my personal point of view. Too late for Tyler.
Editor’s note: The author is Tyler Rushing’s father.
A Christmas wish for all of those white people who gave us Trump. I understand, you had it wonderful back when America was great—slaves until 150 years ago. Just when we were getting it worked out again—with red-lines to distribute wealth, discrimination in every aspect of life, the Reagan gift of the crack epidemic to incarcerate young black men so they could never threaten our lily-white women who we were busy abusing ourselves—people of color started to get a little power. Hell, we even allowed one into the White House (what a mistake that was). This administration’s sole raison d’être has been to try and undo every good thing that has happened since Johnson.
Back to the “reason for the season.” Poor Christian white people can hardly go out without being challenged by the lack of respect. Store clerks saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas”—like some sort of reverse discrimination making us very uncomfortable in our own country.
California is majority minority right now—just sayin’. So let’s just get back to good old ’merican values and remember the double miracle of the “peace giver’s” birth—a white baby born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
Time to reach out
During this holiday season, I encourage people to reach out to any military families you may know. Whether it’s someone stationed at the Korean DMZ or Alaska or Afghanistan, or their families in the North State, let them know you’re thinking about them.
I was in Vietnam (101st Airborne) for Christmas in 1968, followed by the Tet Offensive six weeks later. Most of us were not married, but today most troops are and that can be tough on families, especially young kids.