Letters to the Editor: 08.17.17

Our readers' comments

Emotional Moment


August 8, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I saw something this past Sunday that will not easily be forgotten. It was the sight of the 82-year-old John Ryan Sr. jogging across the sand at the annual Junior Lifeguard tournament at Indian Wells Beach. He was hurrying to reach the finish line so he could high-five the diminutive last-place (by far) finisher in one of the team relay events. He just had to let her know her team’s effort was appreciated. It was an emotional moment for those of us lucky enough to be in close proximity. 

The Junior Lifeguard tournament is a marvelous sight to see, with its Renaissance-like flags and tents and an abundance of patriotism. The camaraderie among the competitors and their instructors, and the love of the families and other supporters, was inspiring, to say the least. Hats off to John Ryan Sr., his son John Jr., and all the others who make it possible. You are all truly special.


Twenty Years On


August 11, 2017

Dear David:

 We have heard, and no doubt will hear, a great deal about the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. As important as that might be to some, the death of Brandon Keith Hayes 20 years ago is a far more important and prescient memory to his relatives and friends here in East Hampton. Such major anniversaries are markers in an absence felt daily, and leave us most often in awe of the passage of time and provide a moment for special reflection.

As a young man, Brandon Hayes was possessed of those stellar qualities which marked him as a person for whom the future, given the unknown fortunes of life, held great promise. He was athletic and excelled in the sports that he chose to participate in. He was lithe and handsome, with a broad, easy, and welcoming smile that expressed an inner self that radiated to others around him. 

And he was a man of spirit, which one experienced in his boisterous good fun as well as in his quieter, more tranquil moments. We loved all the moments.

 But Death is no respecter of persons, or qualities, or the love we bear for one another. It is a mystery first experienced as loss, grief, and mourning, then as acceptance in our lives as an unhealed wound as we continue to live those lives. And finally, it is experienced as an often grudging sense of understanding that we too will one day become part of that mystery. 

We do not understand the meaning of the tragic accidents that take life, nor the nature and meaning of the mystery itself, but we bear the burden in memory. 

All these many words are to simply say that we remember Brandon Keith Hayes as one who dwells within the folds of a great mystery 20 years on. B-Love — loved by all. 


Pollock Exhibition

Bedford, N.Y.

August 10, 2017

To the Editor:

Mark Segal’s article on the Pollock exhibition at Guild Hall is insightful and calls attention to a little-known or understood body of the artist’s oeuvre. It fails, however, to include some useful details. 

These would include a nod to Edvard Lieber, whose idea sparked the exhibition, and to the Washburn Gallery, which not only represents the works and their sale, but oversaw both the organization of the show and the brochure, with its stellar comments by Charles Stuckey.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (pkf.org, which funded the exhibition) has a mission to support living artists who are worthy and needy, and does so in part by the sale of works like these, and many others, left by Lee Krasner upon her death in 1988.



Pollock-Krasner Foundation

Handing Out Samples


August 5, 2017

Dear David,

I could really do without August.

Antidote 1: At a local restaurant, seated on an outdoor banquette. the young lady to my left is constantly rearranging her hair. Me (to her): “Do you know the Salvador Dali work ‘The Furry Cup?’ It’s disgusting as is this.” (I point to a long strand atop my salad.)

Antidote 2: At the same restaurant earlier the man to my right gestures expansively, his left arm striking me across my chest. I strike back. He apologizes (he has lobsters on his trousers).

Antidote 3: Outside a high-end Newtown Lane cosmetics boutique, a tall young man is handing out samples.

Him: “Here, it will make you more beautiful!”

Me: “No, thank you.”

Him: “It’s for the crow lines.”

Me: “I don’t have crow lines.”

Him: “What do you use?”

Me: “Vaseline.”

Him: “My grandmother used Vaseline.”

Me: “I would recommend a profession where you don’t have to speak.”

All good things, 


Technology + Clam Rake


August 9, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I recently encountered Joan Tulp at the annual A.V.I.S. Summer Splash fund-raiser gala. It was impossible not to encounter her — she was taking and selling tickets at the front door of the South Fork Country Club. As you know, Joan is one of the two most beautiful women in Amagansett. As I handed her a fistful of cash, she said, “Lyle, I haven’t seen one of your letters in The Star lately. I miss them!” I told her she was too kind and promised I’d try to write something soon.

In truth, I’ve missed them too, Mr. Rattray. I always open the commentary pages of The Star to see if there’s anything by me among the letters. Week after week I’ve been disappointed. Maybe I was upset that you never responded to my email complimenting you and Mr. Biddle Duke on the look and content of your recent issue of East. Not even a “Thanks, Lyle!” I know, you’re so busy editing the letters. Totally get it. So don’t blame yourself for yet another thoughtless oversight. (Is that redundant?)

But here is a letter to The Star, and it’s dedicated to the beautiful Joan Tulp. Eleven days ago a few of us were enjoying a sublime afternoon on the beach. Mary, who’d been tutoring in Southampton, joined us late in the day, but by 6:30 it was time to walk back to the house for showers and the getting-ready-for-dinner thing. Fifteen minutes later, Mary announced, “I can’t find my phone!” We looked everywhere in the house it could possibly be, twice. I called her number, but the ringer couldn’t be heard. We checked her car. Nothing. “I know I had it when I got back from Southampton — maybe it’s on the beach!” I hated that idea, but she and I returned to where we’d been sitting in the sand and looked carefully.

Some neighbors joined us, offering wine to fuel the search. Still no phone, so back to the house, dejected. Think of all the stuff your phone contains. Thousands of photos, contacts. No backup. Nightmare.

The next morning, at the suggestion of her brilliant daughter, Sophie, Mary turned on her iPad and did that Find My iPhone app thing, believing that the two devices were synched. And they indeed were. “It’s on the beach! My phone’s on the beach! Look!” she screamed excitedly. Sure enough, that little red pin on her iPad screen was planted on the beach! 

Time, approximately 7:40 a.m. So we went back to the beach to search again, but I said, “Wait, let me get the clam rake first.” Who’s a genius, Mr. Rattray? Say it. Louder! “You are, Lyle!” Damn right, now shut up and I’ll continue.

Few people were on the beach at that hour. A couple of dog walkers, hopefully carrying little green plastic bags, and Mary and I. We went to the area we’d been the afternoon before, near a large driftwood tree trunk. The high tide had come close to where we’d lounged in the sand. Not good. Clam rake in hand, I began raking the beach just west and north of the target area and worked my way east in adjacent parallel lines, like mowing a lawn. I kept the prongs of the rake at a depth of about three inches. Back and forth, back and forth. After grooming an area of about 200 square feet, up popped an iPhone from the dry sand. Amazing! “Mary, look! Your phone!” She screamed at the sight. Very loud for that hour. I reached for the phone and said, “Hold on a second,” and, brushing the sand from the screen, pushed that little “on” button. The screen came to life immediately, announcing “8:09 a.m. We did that awkward white-person high-five and agreed that no matter what else happened that day, it was already a great day. Technology + clam rake. 

But that’s not why I’m writing, Mr. Rattray. I’m writing because, for the ninth year in a row, you have failed to extend good wishes on the occasion of my birthday. July 30 (as you well know). Seventy! Eight-hundred-forty months! I have personally sent The Star over 100,000 words in the form of letters, each word carefully selected by me so that each letter would “Shine for All.” Still, nothing. Nor did you write a “Congratulations, Mary!” on the arrival of her first grandchild two months ago. When that beautiful baby is my age, the year will be 2087 — think about that!

Okay, that was inappropriate. I apologize. Instead of ranting about what you’ve failed to do, I’ve decided to make this easier for you and draft a birthday letter from you to me. Simple. All you have to do is have someone at The Star print it out and mail it to P.O. Box 440, Amagansett, etc. Here you go: “Dear Lyle, Let me be the first to offer my heartiest congratulations and good wishes on your 70th birthday! What a milestone! It’s been an honor to know you over your letter-writing years, and I’m grateful for the content you’ve generously contributed to The Star, even recognizing that most of it has had no particular relevance or value to the community and much of it has been personally offensive to me. Still, many of your 49 readers (is that the correct number?) seem to be amused, and since it is the policy of this newspaper to print every letter, I’ve bitten the bullet and swallowed my pride for the greater good. But, like you, I digress. Good wishes always. And try to keep it to 500 words, for god’s sake! Love always, David.”

You’re welcome! Also, my T-shirt size is medium. And as your reward for sending the letter, I’ll share a little story I know you’ll enjoy because it involves my own public humiliation. Please be seated. Okay: A week before my birthday celebration I went to the town clerk’s office to fill out the forms for a mass gathering permit (in case over 50 people showed up and a fight broke out. Whatever). While at the clerk’s counter a woman approached me and asked, “Is that your red Jeep in the parking lot?” And I admitted that it was indeed red, and mine. “It just rolled into a police vehicle!” Oh shit, I thought, excused myself from the application process, and rushed outside to the parking lot. 

Sure enough, the Jeep had rolled 15 feet and into the back end of a new East Hampton Town Chevy Volt. Damage to Volt, minimal. Minor scrape. Damage to the mighty Jeep: $1,245 for a new left fender. Two town police officers were there to write up the accident report, which happened within 100 feet of the police station. I explained that I’d failed to engage the emergency brake before going inside to apply for a mass gathering permit for the 70th birthday party. “Happy Birthday!” the officer said as he handed me my copy of the report. 


The Most Caring Place


August 14, 2017

Dear David,

The Southland Corporation claims Montauk has the busiest 7-Eleven in the United States; Lonely Planet has quoted that Montauk is the most expensive beach resort in the United States. Perhaps both are true, what I do know is true is that Montauk is the most caring place I’ve ever found.

If you are down and out, sick, bereaved, Montauk comes to support you like no other town I know. Strangers, friends, relatives are there to support you with food, gifts, flowers, plants, books, cards, rides, pleasant company, and prayers. 

Love my town.



Elusive Nights

East Hampton

August 11, 2017

To the Editor,

I am inquiring about the press release by Laraine Creegan of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 3. Apparently she was upset that Montauk was listed as the top most expensive place to spend the night. In her press release she stated that “there are a vast majority of affordable accommodations” and that there are rooms from $125 to $155 per night. 

Well, I have sent emails to the Chamber of Commerce in Montauk asking to please list the hotels that she found that were between $125 and $155 per night. It’s been a week, with zero response. 

Also, the term “affordable” means many different things to people. Some may see $300 per night as affordable, whereas another may see $1,000 per night affordable. 

Ms. Creegan stated the obvious, also: We all know that seasonal towns are less expensive in the off-season. It’s like that everywhere around the world. 

Maybe through your contacts you can find out where the elusive $125-to-$155 nights are to be found in Montauk in August. I have sent an email each day since Aug. 3 and have had not a single reply.


All Parties’ Needs


August 12, 2017

To the Editor:

As a Montauk year-round resident and one who expects it to be my lifelong residence, I appreciate Tom Bogan’s commitment to protecting its character and quality of life. I’m with him all the way in preventing the town from being swarmed by helicopter flights. However, with all due respect, there is something about his rationale that strikes a discordant chord with me.

Explicit in the case he makes against the diversion of helicopter flights from East Hampton Airport to Montauk Airport is a total disregard for egregious suffering faced by other citizens in our expanded East Hampton Town community. There is no doubt that a large segment of the population has been suffering from excessive aircraft noise. In fact, it is not only parts of East Hampton but people who live in other areas west of town, Shelter Island and the North Fork as well. 

I reiterate, I am with Mr. Bogdan 100 percent in preventing a transfer of a terrible noise problem from other parts of the East End to Montauk. That is not solving the problem. It is just shifting it from one locale to another.

However, if the central thrust of his argument is to be staunchly adversarial to any attempts that are proffered to address a real and appalling quality-of-life issue for many people, it comes off as insensitive and self-seeking. Certainly, if Montauk or even a part of Montauk required a solution to a local problem, we wouldn’t want people living in East Hampton putting up roadblocks to any efforts submitted by the town board to solve that problem because it didn’t affect their neighborhood.

There are many parties involved in this issue with their own self-interests: the fixed-wing aircraft group, the commercial helicopter industry, the citizens affected by the noise, the private-plane pilots, etc. The problem can’t be solved with a zero-sum type of resolution. It must be one that takes into consideration all parties’ needs. 

I believe Montauk United, instead of having a singular position of being against any and all East Hampton Airport restrictions, should explore more universally favorable solutions, those from which all East Hampton citizens and concerned interests would benefit. 


Why I Support Hunting


August 8, 2017

Dear David,

I attended the Village Preservation Society deer forum on July 27 and found all three presentations informative and authoritative. This was an important meeting, and as it turns out, they were brave to tackle the subject. The audience was attentive for the first two speakers, but among some people the mood shifted to disruptive, especially in the back of the room, once the botanist Tom Rawinski began to speak.

Why is it that we can talk about ticks, but not deer, in a civil way? This issue is too important not to hear each other out, whether our passion be for animals, plants, or a community health crisis.

I’m a plant person and always have been. I love exploring the forests of Long Island with botanist friends, fellow birders, ecologists, and others. I also garden with both native and ornamental plants and love the way a garden can create a habitat supporting the life of all the creatures that nature comprises, from the soil to the air. And I’m fascinated by studies emerging recently that trees are able to recognize and protect their young, signal to each other through the networks of fungi in the soil, and communicate through scent.

We need constructive conversations about the health of the forests that surround us. When the U.S.D.A. botanist for the Northeast says our forests are among the worst he has observed, he voices the opinion of virtually every naturalist with whom I’ve visited East Hampton’s forests. Further, ecologists and botanists have studied the problems of excessive herbivory by deer across North America for the last 50 years. And these studies have been done in temperate forests in Europe and Asia as well. The evidence is clear that too many herbivores destroy a forest’s health and its ability to reproduce itself. This is a uniquely modern problem resulting from mankind’s elimination of top predators such as wolves at the beginning of the 20th century. 

It’s important to note that forests need deer, but in numbers reflective of the densities that nature favors when predators are part of the balance. Tom’s information about our forests is clear evidence that we aren’t even close to the balance that nature favors. His conclusions are based on observable information — something we can agree about if we sit down together and converse in a civil manner. In fact, the photos he showed demonstrated his point quite clearly. Many of our forests have no seedlings or saplings to replace adult trees, and this is not good.

When people interrupt a speaker by shouting “Bullshit!” or write letters calling them “so-called experts” and ridiculing them, it does nothing to advance a discussion on something so important. And this isn’t about the impliedly trivial problem of protecting azaleas and hydrangeas.

Animal rights activists base their viewpoint on a moral argument that animals deserve the same individual rights as humans, and they are of course vegetarian because they don’t believe in killing animals. In this context, the name-calling and insults in their recent letters to the editor (“unscrupulous opportunist,” “clownish presentation,” “idiots,” “cold-blooded trophy hunters”) almost make sense.

But as Verlyn Klinkenborg points out in an article for Yale Environment 360, there are many reasons to oppose the idea of animal personhood, not the least of which is that this approach fails to recognize that all species — plants, animals, insects, birds and fish alike — have an equal right to their own existence. Our empathy needs to include the whole of biological life, because nature is all of these things.

This is why I support hunting as a solution to our current predicament. Hunters can help to rebalance nature and return our forests to health. They are ethical, in the sense that they hunt only what they and others will eat. The best among them see themselves as land managers helping to maintain nature’s balance. Because any landowner has the right to grant a hunter access to his property, we theoretically don’t need government help on this issue. We just need homeowners who will take the time to get to know and trust a hunter enough to give him or her ac cess to their property.

To get there, groups like the Village Preservation Society need to inform the public about what is happening to our forests, and I am grateful they tackled this issue. Now more than ever, in a time of warming climate, we should be concerned about what degraded forests mean for our future. Trees are the most efficient “machines” we know of at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, and the scary truth is that we don’t have an alternative. Scrublands of huckleberry can’t do what a mature and healthy forest can do — they can’t even support deer.

Plants make the air we breathe. They clean and filter the water we drink. They create habitat and forage for insects, birds, and small mammals. Their roots absorb rainfall and prevent floods. Without plants, there is no life, and without diversity of plants, there is no resilience inherent in the ecosystems we inhabit and love.



He Gets Things Done

East Hampton

August 7, 2017

Dear Editor:

I know Jeff Bragman’s work as an attorney and a neighborhood activist. Jeff doesn’t just talk, he gets things done.

The recent Springs School Board decision against siting a proposed bus maintenance facility and fueling station on Cedar Street is an example. The board’s consultants assured the public that there would be no environmental concerns. Those reassurances were wrong. 

Reviewing technical reports, Jeff learned that the site was dangerously close to the Oakview Highway public-water well field, which supplies water to thousands of residents. Reports showed that groundwater was moving directly toward the wells, making any accidental spill very dangerous. The Suffolk County Water Authority was alarmed, and requested that a monitoring system be installed.  

A project which threatens our public water supply should hit a big red stoplight.

Jeff is not the kind of guy who plays politics over environmental issues. He sticks to the facts and tells it like it is. He is exactly the kind of person we need on the town board. 


Thorough, Pragmatic

East Hampton

August 14, 2017

Dear Mr. Rattray,

How fortunate we are that we have a candidate running for town board who is experienced, thorough, pragmatic, and objective. Jeff Bragman has already proved that he can successfully ensure that our neighborhoods are protected environmentally.


Getting Things Done

East Hampton

August 14, 2017

Dear David,

I met Jeff Bragman almost 30 years ago at the Herrick Park playground. We introduced ourselves and discovered that our sons were born one day apart in the same hospital. We have been friends ever since and have had a great number of mutual experiences at John Marshall, the Middle School, the High School, and around town as our kids grew.

East Hampton has been home to both of us where we have enjoyed its beauty and raised our families. I have also watched Jeff organize and defend neighborhoods against excessive development in his attempts to preserve what’s best about East Hampton. He knows how to listen, but he also knows how to turn talk into action. As dads, we share a concern that East Hampton not become two towns: one for the very wealthy and another for everyone else.

With the ongoing development of the political season, I am hopeful that everyone gets to know Jeff Bragman as I do; his values, his commitment to the community, and, most significantly, his long-standing record of getting things done. 


True Progressive


August 12, 2017

Dear David,

On primary day, Sept. 12, I urge Demo­crats to select Jeff Bragman, a true progressive, as their candidate. 

As a 30-year resident who has devoted his law practice to preserving and protecting the environment and the quality of life on the East End, Jeff has a record of effective action. From helping to broker the preservation of open space at Boys Harbor, to leading the groups that stopped the shopping centers in Bridgehampton, to preserving the historical character of neighborhoods and homes, Jeff understands that what is worth saving is worth fighting for. And, while Jeff has fought against damaging development, he is also committed to increasing affordable housing in our area so that permanent residents, including young people and senior citizens, can continue to contribute to the vibrancy of our community. 

For Democrats who want a candidate with progressive ideals, a proven track record of accomplishment, and expertise and experience directly related to town government, Jeff Bragman is the choice!


Renewable Energy Goals

Shelter Island

August 7, 2017

Dear Editor, 

Lately, every day seems to bring more difficult news on the world stage. This reality is a part of what makes the 100-percent renewable energy goal, which both East Hampton and Southampton have committed to, so very uplifting, timely, and encouraging. 

It’s difficult to realize, while we are still able to enjoy perfectly beautiful days out here on the East End, that our planet is actually in great jeopardy environmentally. It may well take 50 or more years for us to actually experience firsthand the repercussions of what too heavy a carbon footprint will render. We have scientific evidence that our window of time for taking action is quite narrow, before the balance just tips over and is beyond repair. 

This is not doomsday talk. This is science. We must act now, be forward-thinking. We must be generous in making compromises that will allow us to do the right thing, now. Thus, shifting from a fossil fuel, consumer-based economy to being producers of clean energy is essential. Unless we are disbelievers in the evidence that science provides, we must follow through with our renewable energy goals on the East End. 

We write in enthusiastic support of fulfilling the 100-percent renewable energy goals, including the timetables. There may be some difficult adaptations while the changeover happens, but none as difficult as what it will mean not to decisively lower our carbon footprints. The 90-megawatt South Fork Wind Farm has our full support. We hope it has yours as well. 



Pollution Engine

East Hampton

August 12, 2017

Dear David:

In last week’s New York Times we find several articles re the current dangers of climate change and man’s negative impact of carbon emissions, including “Climate Report Full of Warnings” (Aug. 9), and both “The Axis of Climate Evil” and “Students, Cities, and States Take the Global Warming Fight to Court” (Aug. 11). 

When the scientists of the world concur that carbon emissions are a large factor in environmental destruction, it seems ironic (if not absurdly hypocritical) that in East Hampton local officials and so-called environmentalists opine on sustainability, alternative fuels, and clean water, but don’t even mention the earth-destroying pollution engine that is East Hampton’s airport. Why does the unnecessary generation of metric tons of toxic fumes over a public watershed get a free pass? Why is East Hampton subsidizing its own destruction?


Nuclear Weapons

East Hampton

August 14, 2017

To the Editor, 

On July 7, the United Nations adopted a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. It followed negotiation over five weeks during March, June, and July.

One hundred twenty-two countries voted in favor of the treaty. It demonstrated a clear and unequivocal acceptance of the majority of the U.N. members “never to use, produce, possess, acquire, transfer, test, or deploy nuclear weapons.”

The treaty will be open for signatures on Sept. 20, and will enter into force once 50 states ratify.

The nuclear armed and allied states oppose the treaty, and none are likely to join! These nations are not bound by the provisions, and will not be directly affected by it. However, the new treaty could be used to have an impact on the policies and practices of the nuclear-armed states and their allies. There are ways that Peace Action can move on this treaty.

We urge all peoples to pressure U.N. countries to sign this treaty for our children and future generations, all over the world.




International Peace Action 

Committee, the United Nations


Against Hate


August 14, 2017

Dear David,

The horrific event this week in Charlottesville, Va., not only saddens me greatly but also makes my determination steadfast to continue to be ever more vigilant against discrimination and hate.

With 33 years in law enforcement and as president of New York State’s fifth biggest police union, there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of humanity are good people going about their lives. They raise their families, go to work, are productive citizens striving to make not only their own lives and that of their families better but that of their community as well. Sadly, there do exist those who perpetuate crimes and evil acts, some of which can be horrific, upon humanity. 

Horrific crimes are committed for many reasons, from diminished mental faculties, panic, fear, opportunity, greed, and no other reason than the desire to commit evil. During my career I have dealt with all of the above, including having had the misfortune more than once, a misfortune I would never wish upon anyone else, to have looked into the eyes of a soulless evil person. Career criminals who had committed horrific acts against children and adults.

We must always remember that evil exists and there is a constant struggle between the forces of good and evil. It is up to every one of us to call out organizations, causes, and movements that advocate discrimination, violence, and hate. We must as a society remain ever vigilant to root out those who advocate discrimination and intolerance, which is the forebear to violent conduct.

We should all remember the words on display in the permanent exhibition of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, of Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

“First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out,

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Please, tonight, love your family a little more, reach out to those that are different from you, help the downtrodden, and, for those that pray, please do.

I am a candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor and have no tolerance for those who hate.

Thank you for your support,


The G.O.P. Kool-Aid

East Hampton

August 13, 2017

Dear David:

Republicans owe America an apology.

Sadly, we have arrived at a point at which the White House, the political crown jewel that the G.O.P. so ardently sought, is in disarray, which has taken down the G.O.P.-led Congress as well. 

After making President Obama’s failure its number-one priority (so much so that it became an obsession), the G.O.P. worked hard to get a rich white guy — any rich white guy — to take the mantle of leadership after Mr. Obama. In pursuing its obsession, it abandoned its stated principles and abandoned those it promises to serve.

Republicans refused to negotiate honestly when Democrats spent months seeking Republican support for the Affordable Care Act. Then they tried repeatedly over seven-plus years to take away that health care — not, as it turns out because they had a better idea, but because it was Mr. Obama’s idea. Even worse, for 70-plus years Congress has worked to create, and then perfect (or try to) a safety net that would protect working-class America and the disadvantaged among us from financial and social ruin. The current Republican credo, adhered to from the top of the ticket to its most local echelons, holds dear the destruction of those protections. 

Yet, in the last election cycle, all one heard from G.O.P. candidates was the mantra that working-class America had been “forgotten” and only they were the ones capable of repairing this so-called injustice. Decrying the political opposition by fomenting race-based paranoia allowed these candidates to camouflage their real agenda. It is not the furtherance of the “forgotten,” it is the furtherance of unscrupulous greed.

Help the forgotten? Not President Trump. The policies that have actually been implemented by the Trump administration, with the help of a Republican Congress, reflect a disdain for ordinary working-class Americans. Shortly after Mr. Trump took office, he and the G.O.P.-led Congress rejected numerous Obama-era regulations that were actually designed to support workers, including rules barring worker discrimination, rules designed to enhance workers’ wages, and rules enhancing workplace protection, such as barring companies with a history of wage, labor, or workplace safety violations laws from receiving federal contracts. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, the G.O.P. agenda has no intention of protecting the forgotten. Its true colors are shown in its efforts to rip away health care, savage the social safety net, and, in so doing, leaving the forgotten to fend for themselves. Under the G.O.P. agenda, the forgotten will soon be the trampled.

The sad truth behind the G.O.P. camouflage is that millions of hard-working Americans drank the G.O.P. Kool-Aid, believing that the party truly cared for them and would make good on promises to deliver wealth, improve health care, and preserve the all-important safety net protecting these folks. For some, it was hard not to be seduced by Mr. Trump and his G.O.P. cohorts.

However, like everyone else who has succumbed to Mr. Trump’s wiles, these voters too have been had.

And for this, the G.O.P. owes America an apology. And the lesson for voters from all this is that old adage: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Let’s not be fooled again, either in our local elections this year, or next year, when the G.O.P. Congress has to face the music. Trust not the G.O.P. Kool-Aid another time.



Devoid of Emotion


August 14, 2017

To the Editor:

Impeach him. 

Trump was oddly devoid of emotion as he read his statement after Charlottesville. Where was his outrage? He lashes out with barely-suppressed venom and fury over perceived slights, but violence meted out by neo-Nazis and white supremacists doesn’t merit condemnation. 

Having others in the White House clarify “what he really meant” days later doesn’t cut it. We’ve seen into his heart — it’s a hollowed-out space, corroded by his ceaseless quest for personal glory.


Terrorist Group

East Hampton

August 13, 2017

Dear David:

They came on a Sunday morning on Sept. 15, 1963, to Birmingham, Ala., to bomb a church and burn to death four little girls. They came again on Saturday, Aug. 12, to Charlottesville, Va., to “take America back.” For decades, they have waged their evil war of terror upon millions of Americans to include bombing, hanging, and burning to death thousands of American men, women, and children. Is there any question that the Ku Klux Klan has been and is a dangerous terrorist group?

The K.K.K. and their evil allies, Nazis and white supremacists, came to Charlottesville, according to the “Imperial Wizard” David Duke, “to take our country back and fulfill the promise of Donald Trump.” 

We must not stay silent on this important issue. All Americans need to stand up and speak out against this terrorism. We can’t depend on Donald Trump, who on Feb. 28, 2016, was asked if he would disavow the support of David Duke and the K.K.K.. His response was, “I don’t know who David Duke is and I am not ready to disavow the support of the K.K.K.” Why? Because they are his core supporters. When Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” he was referring to these lunatics. Every good dictator knows the value of having your loyal brownshirts.

  The K.K.K., like ISIS, justifies its terrorist acts in the name of religion. In the case of the Klan, burning crosses to symbolize loyalty to their Christian religion. The K.K.K. for decades has committed the most atrocities upon Americans of any terror group. It is time for all of us to recognize and acknowledge this fact and stand up to their terrorism. 

As President Bush stated to Congress on Sept. 21, 2001, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” Mr. President, you have a decision to make.


Understand History

East Hampton

August 14, 2017

To the Editor,

“No witch would ever be dumb enough to be burned by the Puritan idiots” was a quote from a story about the Salem witch hunts. Given the racism, intolerance, and blithering stupidity of the Puritans, it was a miracle and a tragedy that they survived. What we inherited from these early settlers has haunted us and damaged our ability to deal with the conflicts and real problems that we face today.

Which brings us to “Black Lives Matter” and its connection to the rape and abuse of the middle class. Black lives never really mattered once slavery ended and the treatment of people of color had been transferred to working-class white people. There is a powerful connection between slavery and the treatment of the working class, but those qualities which the Puritans handed down serve to make the obvious connection somewhat blurry.

The primary difference between people of color and whites is expectations. Black people never expected to be treated as equals (despite the Constitution), so they are not surprised by the abuse they receive. White people never really paid enough attention to how they were treated until the middle class took hold and they had something to lose. Blame it on the Puritans.

It all goes back to slavery, the perfect economic model for a developing country. Americans felt that slavery was a bad thing, which has always been confusing, since slavery and religion have always worked hand in hand as economic and political rationales.

Our historical embrace of cheap labor begins with our failure to enslave Indians; indentured servitude, slavery, massive immigration, colonization, and then globalization. The development of the middle class ended the supply of domestic inexpensive labor and became a political football in controlling the government. The minimum wage was not just an idea but a right. It took the arrival of an incredibly slick and knowledgeable politician (Ronald Reagan) to seduce the population into giving up their gains, altering a 40-year trend from lofty expectations to hopelessness. Thirty-seven years later, we have Donald Trump.

When finance became the engine that drove economic growth, workers became less important in the overall economic scheme. Since our history of marginalizing most workers was substantially established with minority groups and immigrants, it was not a difficult transition to including white middle-class workers in this grouping. “Black lives matter” became a plea that all lives matter — and the harsh reality that they didn’t.

In Mississippi, workers rejected unionizing an auto plant this week, an indication that we are still experiencing the blind stupidity of 17th-century Salem. We are hopeless unless we understand our history and decide that the past needs to be studied and improved upon, not cherished and squishing our brain cells. There is no hope for the middle class until they rise and demand a better existence. Electing Trump just dug their hole a little deeper and made the job that much more difficult.