Letters for November 30, 2017

Island of enchantment

Re “After the storm” (cover story, Nov. 16):

Thank you for sharing this story. As a Puerto Rican living in the Reno-Tahoe area, I’m struck by the compassion received from friends and strangers alike asking about my family and friends in PR. My own family’s beach property is unreachable due to the river changing course and making the land an island. My mom, aunts and uncles who put their retirement savings into building their beachfront homes can no longer live there, and yet they are still better off than so many others. But they are faced with a new, uncertain future—one all too familiar to every Puerto Rican today. C. Faust’s story vividly tells the fate of many in PR who had to—and continue to—survive without basic needs met. It is a truth too real and one we may all one day face if current U.S. policies towards social and public infrastructure, economics and environment are left unattended. I’ve always thought Puerto Rico to be a microcosm of what will happen in the bigger context of sociopolitical issues.

But enough of doomsday prophecies. I was there three weeks after Maria hit. I saw the aftermath of cleanup efforts. I participated in distributing needed resources for others. I saw trees just starting to green again and darkness engulfing an island trying to see the light. I saw their smiles bright but weakened, their spirits waned but resolve still strong. Hope is the last thing to die, right? What matters now is that we not forget what is still happening on my beautiful “island of enchantment” full of American citizens. Citizens who are U.S veterans from every U.S. war since World War I, midwives and teachers, doctors and children, lawyers, judges, astronauts, artists, musicians and poets. These people can legally leave the island and find an easier life in the 50 contiguous states (some have). And yet many stay despite the fact that most of the island continues to be without water and electricity. We can’t forget these American citizens, those who’ve given their lives for this country or lost their loved ones fighting our battles. We can’t forget those, like my grandmother, who wave the U.S. flag proudly. Please remember those who are wondering how they will keep their mom’s insulin cold, or get their dad to the closed doctor’s office due to rolling blackouts, or how they will prepare a Thanksgiving meal for their family without clean water.

Please keep asking those questions, support those who are working on recovery efforts (one www.hispanicfederation.org/unidos/), and rest assured that the people of Puerto Rico will find a way to stay on their feet. They may cry quietly in a dark corner for a minute, but they will straighten up, take a deep breath and move on. Thank you for keeping them in your thoughts.

Monica Caldari


Deep in the heart of taxes

Hey, Trump voters. I suppose you really think this tax scam the Republicans are working on is going to help you. If you’ve been listening, their aim is to eliminate the inheritance tax, the alternative minimum tax, and reduce the upper tax bracket as well as the corporate tax rate. Now, remember you hate deficit spending—or so you say. This will add $1.5 trillion to the debt. Huh! To do this, you either cut spending or borrow. So when the United States is broke, you same pikers will try to cut Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, ag subsidies, disaster relief. All those programs that help Americans. This huge tax cut will only benefit the multinationals and mega wealthy who apparently are not wealthy enough. Is America ready to return to the middle ages and fiefdoms? Pick your lord: Bezos, Koch, Ivanka, Murdoch, Putin.

Don McKechnie


Out of sex

Re “Sex ed: We’re doing it wrong” (cover story, Nov. 2):

Instead of allowing the vocal minority of fundamentalist Christians to force their views about human sexuality on everyone else, why doesn’t Washoe County School District let parents opt their children out of the sex ed curriculum?

Michael Powell