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Letters to the Editor for September 21, 2023

Thu, 09/21/2023 - 05:56

All Heroes
September 13, 2023

To the Editor:

Wish to express my sincere thanks to the dispatcher, as well as the emergency medical personnel of the Springs Fire Department who responded to my residence on Aug. 19 when I experienced a catastrophic fall. Also like to mention the team at the Southampton Hospital emergency room who aided in my care for two days after. In addition, I cannot thank the team of surgeons enough at Stony Brook University Hospital that repaired my fractured ribs. Also wish to thank the Southampton Center for Rehabilitation for the care I received post-surgery. Lastly I would like to thank my wife, son and daughter-in-law, and daughter and son-in-law, as well as friends and family that reached out to support me through this ordeal. You are all heroes to me.



Braved the Winds
September 17, 2023

Dear David,

The East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee would like to thank all the groups, businesses, and individuals — too many to name — who braved the winds last Saturday to make our first East Hampton Cleanup Day such a great success. Yellow vests worn by the many volunteers were seen from Wainscott to Montauk. We are a town of concerned citizens, and with everyone’s continued help, East Hampton is on the road to making littering taboo. Remember: Don’t toss, if you see it, pick it up. And secure your loads.

A great big thank-you to all our volunteers!

With much appreciation,



Creativity Hotbed
New York City
September 18, 2023

To the Editor:

It was encouraging, indeed gratifying, to read that the town board has formally adopted a management plan to preserve the studio, home, and cottage of the artists Charlotte Park and James Brooks.

I do have a slight nitpick with artist George Negroponte’s comment that the effort will be a step in restoring their reputation as significant painters, which he says “has slipped somewhat.” I’m not so sure about that. Maybe a better way to put it is that it will continue to uphold the status of all of the artists from the 1950s and ’60s that cemented the reputation of East Hampton as a hotbed of creativity.

Over the past decade, the Berry Campbell gallery in Manhattan has actively represented and promoted Brooks’s and Park’s work, and Charlotte’s last show at the gallery sold out.




Continual Events
September 18, 2023

To the Editor:

Amagansett land is under threat. A grassy meadow at 555 Montauk Highway (just east of the Amagansett I.G.A. and Shell gas station) was purchased by the town board in 2014 with $10 million from the town’s community preservation fund. As such, the purchase was specifically intended to preserve open space that’s set aside for passive recreational purposes like dog walking and birdwatching. The pasture also serves as a preservation space for local wildlife.

Now the town board is considering a plan that would allow paving, cars, buildings, and continual large events on this meadow. Apparently, they even might erect a permanent indoor recreation center on the site, redundant since Amagansett already has just such a venue (Sportime) not five minutes away.

Over the past decade, the town has allowed the occasional worthy event on the site, such as the annual ride for the Wounded Warrior Project. But they have also allowed public events necessitating large trucks that haul in tents for opulent fund-raisers; temporary toilets and other structures are set up, and parking is allowed. What was a wildlife pasture inevitably becomes a dusty parking lot. Traffic on Montauk Highway gets backed up in both directions as cars enter and exit. In the event of an accident in the neighborhood, it’s unimaginable how an ambulance could get through.

Amagansett residents have repeatedly made their preferences known: The Wounded Warrior Project is welcome, but otherwise this open-space meadowland should remain a natural preserve. Why then does the town board continue to ignore the local community’s wishes for the property? And what’s to prevent the board from making unwelcome changes to hundreds of other C.P.F. properties throughout East Hampton?

Yours sincerely,



Chief Took Sides
September 18, 2023

To the Editor:

East Hampton Town Police Chief Mike Sarlo’s stated support, in an appearance at Wainscott citizens advisory committee, for the Maidstone Gun Club, is of serious concern.

Chief Sarlo said that the club’s existing “safety measures that were put in place . . . should have been sufficient” but were not maintained.

As I noted in another letter recently, the club has never had full-time staff supervising the range, like Calverton or any other shooting range I ever heard of. Chief Sarlo doesn’t seem to be calling for that. Meanwhile, as reported by another local paper, Chief Sarlo’s own force has, on investigation, determined that the two bullets which hit the Pintilie home in August 2022 were “fired by an inept shooter who was not following the club’s stated shooting procedures and requirements for the rifle range and was struggling to control the tactical weapon he was firing, which also may have had illegal modifications made to it.”

Wow. Think about that. That information, known but not publicized, might have prevented a lot of club members from writing to this paper claiming that the bullets were fired by hunters in the woods and not from the gun club at all. Chief Sarlo also failed to say what in the existing infrastructure of the club, had it been better maintained, would have stopped an unsupervised, inept person with an extremely powerful and possibly illegal weapon he could not control, from firing into neighboring houses (or, for that matter, from shooting another member, had there been one present). The answer is, only human supervision could prevent that.

By taking a position on safety at Maidstone Gun Club, Chief Sarlo not only spoke out on a political, legal, and ethical matter on which he ought to have remained silent. As chief of police of all of the people of East Hampton Town, he also took sides between one group of citizens and another. If I lived in proximity to the gun club, I would be wondering at this point if Chief Sarlo really regards my protection as being his job.

For democracy in East Hampton,



Simply Roll Over?
September 16, 2023

Dear David,

With election season upon us, the full-page “Save the Airport” ads we have been seeing for months are now being echoed and amplified by the Republican candidates for town board and supervisor. These echoes are no more accurate or persuasive than their source and they beg the question of just what these candidates would do if, perish the thought, elected to represent the citizens of East Hampton who have made known their desire to have the town limit the incessant noise of helicopters and other aircraft and restore peace and quiet to our town.

The current town board members have been clear about their position regarding the airport. When they proposed modest changes, the airport interests brought litigation challenging the town’s ability to do anything to control the use of its airport, making it clear that there are no restrictions that they will tolerate. And they have pressed their litigation while at the same time shamelessly complaining that there is too much litigation.

The Republican candidates have joined the airport interests in the attack on the town board’s effort to control airport use. So, do these Republican candidates intend to end the litigation, to simply roll over and to cede complete control over the airport to these well-funded corporate interests? There’s an election in less than two months, and the public deserves to know. From here, it looks like a complete sell-out is planned.




A Donor’s Influence
September 18, 2023

Dear David,

I sent a congratulations email to Andy Harris, vice-president, and David Fruenthal, chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, on their successful execution of last Monday night’s Montauk citizens advisory committee political event concerning the Benson Bathing Reserve habitat restoration project at the Montauk Library. It served as a demonstration to the public of how a single donor’s influence can shape outcomes.

The email included my ask to all of their C.C.O.M. board members who are also Montauk citizens committee members (roughly eight or nine) to abstain from their cast vote from the previous evening due to C.C.O.M.’s financial involvement in the Benson project as it is a conflict of interest. I have yet to receive a reply.

I am aware of the Montauk Beach Owners Property Association’s rejection of this project when it was brought to a vote for their property. The board member I spoke with is a board member of C.C.O.M. and is also a Montauk citizens committee member. I asked C.C.O.M. to please explain how this board member can vote “no” on the Montauk Beach Owners Property Association property and vote “yes” on the Benson Reserve — I have yet to receive a reply.

During the citizens committee meeting, Rusty Schmidt, the consultant hired by C.C.O.M. and the donors, provided insight into his comprehensive study spanning 70 years of aerial maps, which showed minimal-to-no changes in the Benson Reserve — so over the last 70 years, the reserve has been stable. The presentation, however, left unanswered questions regarding any prevailing water quality issues within the Benson Reserve and the need for associated remediation plans, part of what the state grant requires. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Audubon Society, the recognized authority on coastal bird migration, attributes the decline in coastal bird populations to climate change, rather than any immediate need for more native plantings in the Benson Reserve. All of this raises questions about the environmental basis for C.C.O.M.’s and the town’s position in favor of this project, with no environmental data to support it.

During the Montauk citizens committee presentation, the town advocated for monarch butterflies, which did not address the core issue at hand. Montauk has the goldenrods monarchs love, take a peek at Roughriders, where it is abundant, yet few monarchs were in sight this summer. The critical concern is their shifting migration patterns, herbicides, and forest degradation in wintering sites in Mexico. Planting more goldenrod in the Benson Reserve will not bring back the monarchs. Advocacy for invasive species removal was also perplexing given the well-known challenges associated with such efforts, and their current lack of adequate landscape maintenance plans in place for Montauk.

To secure genuine community support, C.C.O.M. and the town board should consider a phased approach. Focusing initially on a specific three-acre section (to avoid dune destabilization), particularly the area near the overlook, doing the work and employing both machinery and manual labor (no goats) while closely monitoring progress over the next three to five years, would provide an opportunity to assess success or failure and make the necessary adjustments, with little impact to the Benson Reserve. This approach aligns with the recommendation of Andrew Senesac, a Ph.D. Cornell Cooperative Extension weed specialist, as documented in his communication with me.

While it is understood that C.C.O.M., the town, and the donors regard this as a shovel-ready project, I urge everyone to exercise caution and refrain from hasty decisions. For all intents and purposes, this project represents an experiment with potential unintended consequences that require thorough consideration. It is important to acknowledge that the property owners retain the right to pursue litigation, particularly concerning the use of goats, and to demand various measures, including the posting of a multimillion-dollar bond by C.C.O.M. and the Town of East Hampton to cover any future damages to their properties resulting from this project. Such damages could arise from the disruption and destabilization of the Benson Reserve’s presently healthy, erosion-free, and coastal resilient dune and ecosystem, which currently provides vital protection against storm surges and flooding, as evidenced during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

It is crucial to understand that the Montauk community’s opposition to this project is not solely based on the turnout at the Montauk citizens committee meeting. When the pivotal public hearing is scheduled, you can anticipate a more substantial and diverse representation of the community expressing their views. I fully anticipate that this will be scheduled after the election, as it could be contentious.

Ultimately, the path forward is a matter of choice for C.C.O.M., the town, and the donors. It is important to recognize that the community is closely monitoring these developments, and transparency and due diligence are paramount in addressing concerns and fostering trust.

Montauk has so many water quality issues that would score well on a Department of Environmental Conservation grant; the Benson Reserve isn’t one of them.



Flawed Plan
September 13, 2023

To the Editor,

Montauk’s beautiful Old Montauk Highway is known for its well-established dune vegetation and the wide, pristine beaches that stretch along it. It’s hard to imagine that there might be a problem or that any coastal dune restoration is needed at the Benson Beach Bathing Reserve across from our properties.

I’m Jeanne Nielsen, the owner of Twin Pond Motel at 743 Old Montauk Highway. Montauk is a special place for me, and I am deeply committed to its preservation. We must seriously consider the history of the Benson Reserve and the potential consequences of the coastal habitat restoration project undertaken by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk.

My family was involved in preserving the Benson Reserve in the late 1980s, and through deeded covenants, restrictions, and litigation, we ensured that this area would remain untouched by fences, structures, or development. During the recent town board work session on Aug. 8, I implored them to schedule a public hearing and defer the resolution until we obtain public input. This beach is a public asset, and safeguarding its integrity is my foremost concern, impacting not only property owners across the street but also potentially influencing our future tax obligations.

To protect the covenants and restrictions, I’ve engaged our original attorney, John Shea, from Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, to communicate with all relevant agencies, including East Hampton Town, C.C.O.M., and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. However, despite our efforts, they are proceeding with the project as if there were no litigation and no definitive court decision. What a mistake!

Balancing conservation efforts with potential disruptions and unintended consequences is complex. In addition, considering that limited funds are available in Montauk, and the Benson Reserve’s maintenance responsibility will fall on the town of East Hampton, we could also face a potential tax increase in year two.

With climate change and rising sea levels, dune destabilization becomes even more critical, underscoring the need for careful planning and thorough consideration of all possible outcomes. This project will destabilize the dune for a period of three to five years. The recent spring and summer storms decimated the dunes and beach at Ditch Plain. In contrast, there was no damage at the Benson Reserve.

I implore you, my fellow neighbors, to actively engage in decision making by attending local meetings and public hearings. Community involvement is indispensable when projects impact our environment and public spaces, as with this flawed C.C.O.M. plan.

For additional information, speeches to the town board, an in-depth exploration of the issues, and a video tour of the Benson Reserve, please visit the community website. By voicing your concerns and engaging with the East Hampton Town Board, you are taking positive steps toward finding a solution that balances both conservation and public interests.

Email [email protected] to get an update when an East Hampton Town Board public hearing is scheduled. Please write letters to the town board against this project, your input is highly valued: pvanscoyoc, kburke-gonzalez, dlys, soverby, and crogers at,




Nasty Invasives
September 24, 2023

To the Editor,

Mostly everyone, by now, has heard about the Benson Reserve project. Even if you haven’t gotten into the weeds on this topic (pardon the pun), you’ve probably heard about the goats that are to be utilized to help remove the invasive species overtaking the 16-acre area of the Reserve. The goal is to restore it to a native plant habitat and reclaim it for coastal birds, monarch butterflies, and other fauna that have been driven off by those nasty invasive interlopers. Improving coastal resilience and re-establishing the ocean vista are other critical benefits.

After seeing a presentation by Rusty Schmidt, a landscape ecologist, at the last Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, which provided an in-depth description of the need for restoration and how it will be implemented, I became a supporter.

It also got me to dream of how great it would be if we could start a habitat restoration initiative to remove certain invasive human species like Homo pretentious and Homo billionairus from the entire hamlet of Montauk, so as to restore it back to the “natives.” To paraphrase some of the concerns mentioned in the Benson Reserve presentation, “extensive evidence exists of invasive uber-wealthy out-of-towners who are not palatable to longtime residents, who are overwhelming our community and eventually killing its original character”.

The slideshow goes on to ask, “What happens if we ignore the issue?”

The answer: “Invasive species can destroy the quality of life that emanates from a peaceful, serene, and quaint small town. They cause habitat degradation, resulting in fundamental disruptions of housing affordability. They are capable of causing extinctions of native youth demographics, while competing with native homeowners for limited land and housing. This can result in fundamental disruptions of quality of life.”

The landscape ecologist makes a further argument that “native residents have impressive web-like root systems that go back generations giving the Montauk community deeper stability. Whereas the invasives have shallow roots interring only a few months out of the year, their growth is horizontal, gobbling up everything in their voracious path. The shallow-rooted newcomers dominate the area and are subject to uprooting and destabilizing the area by taking their profits with them when major negative events occur.”

How do we fix this problem? The experts’ recommendation is as follows: “Manage the invasive species and restore our town to a predominant native habitat by managing growth through a revised and amended zoning code. Pen in a group of G.O.A.T.’s (Greatest of All Time) town officials, legal experts, and highly motivated activists. Give them the mission of chewing up the code, which these individuals love to do, and have them spit out new tighter regulations to prevent unbridled growth of mass and scale, preferred by the invasives.”

Lastly, related but only tangentially, please read the article that appeared in last week’s Star on a deep-rooted, longtime Montauk native, Bill Akin. He speaks poetically of his love of Montauk and how since he was a small child, he has imbibed and savored all that nature provided, as only it can do here in this magical place. It is also a fine recap of all that we stand to lose if we let the invasives overwhelm us. I found this quote from the article by Bill poignant and worth repeating within this context: “Today I find it impossible to separate what’s happening out on the ocean from the blind obliteration of wild creatures happening every day on dry land. And just like there are far fewer fish, I am aware that there are far fewer songbirds each summer dawn. I find myself rooting for the wild world to hang in there.”

So am I, Bill. Maybe, we can help it hang on by committing to restore one habitat at a time to make our town more sustainable for fauna, flora, and us humans.



Then Who?
September 18, 2023

To the Editor,

I was walking around Detroit this past weekend, my favorite city to visit, ponder, and reflect. I saw a truck drive by on Woodward Avenue with the words painted on a wooden cutout: “Then who?”

This hit with an impact of significance: As of next week it will be a decade since we lost my mother. I remember our last Christmas driving to my parents’. It was early morning driving on 111, and the attenuation kept its static with the same song’s chorus playing as if the message needed to be heard no matter what.

“If not me, if not you, then who?” Words to remember and to live by.

Still here,



De-Facto Hotels
Muskegon, Mich.
September 14, 2023

To the Editor,

What is a hotel? Reported in the Aug. 31 Star was a story about Suffolk County wanting to collect the 5.5 percent hotel tax from short-term rentals booked through the internet. On the Airbnb web site, for example, was a Hamptons property with 24 positive reviews since February. How many other rental houses also are owned for profit? These are de-facto hotels.

The town has a rental registry for those renting houses for short-term stays. This could also be a way to verify the hotel tax is being collected and remitted. The Airbnb summary of charges includes the nightly rental, a cleaning fee, and an Airbnb service fee — but no hotel tax. For all the inconvenience of heavy traffic and the disruption that hotels operating in residential neighborhoods can cause, at the very least the public coffers deserve to collect required taxes.



Deep Connection
North Sea
September 18, 2023

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I’m writing to introduce myself to the readers of The East Hampton Star who may not know of me and my candidacy for Suffolk County Legislature. I am running to represent East Hampton and Southampton Townships in District 2 in this fall’s election.

As the first woman elected to the Southampton Town Trustees since the trustees first organized in 1686, I have worked hard as a creative problem solver, with an ability to motivate, create programs, and collaborate with others. I feel I am a natural fit for the office of Suffolk legislator.

I have a long and distinguished relationship with the South Fork. My family came to Southampton when my father, Ral Welker, established the Marine Science Program at Southampton College in the early 1960s. That program produced many Fulbright scholars and was the most distinguished major at that institution. My interest and expertise in the natural world is a hereditary characteristic, ingrained at home as part of our family’s values.

I attended Southampton public schools, completed an undergraduate degree at Adelphi University in business and finance, and later combined my love of athletics and my commitment to a healthy lifestyle into a master’s degree in exercise physiology. I currently work as an exercise physiologist in the Cardiac Rehab Department at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

In 2017, I was elected to the Southampton Town Board of Trustees, one of five positions on that board responsible for acting as stewards for over 25,000 acres of shoreline, marsh, and bottomlands of the Town of Southampton. I proudly serve as the first woman ever to hold this position. Maintaining and protecting surface water quality, preserving public access to the water, and advising the town board on related coastal issues are additional trustee responsibilities. I serve as the trustee liaison for the eastern section of Southampton Town and am the liaison to the community preservation fund water quality committee responsible for application and implementation of water quality grants and awards, chief among them the Sagg Pond and Mecox Bay Inlet Management and Mill Pond Aquatic Habitat Restoration Plans.

I feel that my experience working within and across layers of government, natural teaching skills, refined ability to listen and respectfully convert information to action, as well as my commitment as an environmentalist and humanitarian make me uniquely suited to serving District 2 in the County Legislature. My connection to the East End community is deep and honest.

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. I look forward to meeting them and learning about their concerns for our community which the County Legislature can support.

Most sincerely,



Radical Positions
September 18, 2023

Dear Editor:

The radical Working Families Party has memorialized in their platform several positions that should be of great concern to residents of the South Fork.

To receive the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a candidate must agree to and support their radical platform positions, which include defunding and abolishing police departments, raising the age for criminal culpability, cashless bail, prioritizing defendants’ rights over victims, reducing penalties for convicted criminals, safe areas for drug usage and injection sites.

Supporting any of these policies will dramatically alter our community, making us unsafe and placing our children at risk. We have only to look at communities that adopted many of these positions and the lawlessness and chaos that has besieged those communities.

Retiring County Legislator Bridget Fleming received the endorsement from the Working Families Party and Ms. Fleming is on record, documented in numerous Zoom meetings, stating she supports defunding the police. We were fortunate that Ms. Fleming could not follow through or influence local policy.

I recently retired after 38 years of service as a senior police sergeant and past president of New York state’s fifth-biggest police union. Safe to say, in my run for county legislator, I will not be appearing on the Working Families Party ballot line. I am honored to have the endorsement of the Eastern Long Island Police Conference, which represents the town and village police departments of Southampton and East Hampton, as well as multiple police unions throughout Suffolk and New York State.

This election, I am asking for your support on Nov. 7. If you have any questions, please reach out to me. My number is 631-324-0528, by text, or [email protected]. I appreciate your support, and I look forward to serving you in the Suffolk County Legislature.



Take the Time
September 18, 2023

To the Editor,

Elections are coming fast. Please take the time to investigate, ask questions, and vote for our town, not because you’re strictly a political party person. Take the blindfold off. This town needs all the help it can get.

In God and country,



Murky Depths
September 16, 2023

To the Editor.

1) The East Hampton schools handbook — they need this back: practical skills, home economics, shop, secretarial skills. I learned nothing in high school and college because they where trying to push a square into a round hole.

2) I read Bill Akin’s book when it came out, loved it, and was shocked that it did not get more attention. Granted it was self-published.

As great as The Star is regarding environmental issues on land and bay, it appears, to me anyway, despite the recent criminal arrest for destruction of massive amounts of fluke resources (hence by far our worst recreational fluke year ever — awful — terrible), you are fiercely loyal to the commercial fishermen, as bad as Billy Joel or the ass-kisser Peter Matthiessen, who wrote “Men’s Lives.” Even the perspective of Dell Cullum, as great as he is with animals above the waterline, loses interest or won’t get involved with the murky depths. I love commercial fishermen but nets are assuredly destructive. I mean, clearly.



What’s Too Much?
September 18, 2023

Dear David,

A few weeks ago, in the height of the madness that is August in “The Hamptons,” I witnessed something that I will likely remember for the rest of my life. Upon entering Amber Waves Farmers Market, I took a sharp right-hand turn to peruse the shelves for “Bomba” rice — I was making a paella dish that evening, and this specialty rice takes the dish up a notch from other types of rice. As I examined the shelf, where sadly there was no Bomba rice, an offensive smell permeated the air. I glanced to my right, and my eyes came to rest on a well-dressed woman squatting in front of the refrigerated dairy and meat cases. Sitting in front of her was a toddler on a porta-potty. The child was defecating. The woman, I can only assume the child’s mother, was quietly murmuring encouragement. “Good job, baby,” she purred.

At this point, my brain short-circuited. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing, and my nose was smelling. Who in the world would pull out a portable potty inside any business, but especially one selling food! What mom would encourage her child to defecate inside a farmers market? The store has a bathroom, after all, and certainly has plenty outside, out of the way, more appropriate spaces to use a potty, should an urgent need strike. Why inside a store filled with food?

I turned my back to the scene and literally started to run away. I got to the exit, but then thought I had a responsibility to inform the owners of the store. I asked one of the young women who work at the checkout to follow me. As we stood at the east end of the store, we saw the mom now standing at the head of the aisle where she’d been squatting, holding a green plastic bag full of her child’s feces. She was casting her glance left and right, I can only assume to find a garbage can to throw out her child’s poop. “That’s human feces in that bag,” I said to the cashier, and then I did run out, the smell of said poop lingering in my nose. The reality of what I had just witnessed was just too much, and I took flight!

I’ve since learned that the cashier didn’t know what to do, so she did not confront the woman. I’ve also since talked to the store manager, and by the time she was informed of the incident, too much time had passed. She apologized to me profusely for what I experienced. But the store manager didn’t do anything to me, and she certainly doesn’t condone the actions of this misguided, thoughtless mom, who despite my meager effort to hold her accountable, will forever remain anonymous. Still, the memory of this mom’s actions is imprinted in my brain. It’s a story I’ll tell, and retell, as I continue to try to wrap my mind around what happened. How in the world did this mom do what she did? How could she possibly think what she did was okay? This was beyond the pale. Too much, don’t you think?




East Hampton
September 16, 2023


Throughout the 20th century, the concept of banana republics was a popular description of Caribbean and Central American countries that were run by dictators and supported by the United States. De facto slavery supported by Democrats and Republicans: cruel, inhuman, essentially barbaric, 100 percent racist, ruled by the price of bananas, the roots of modern-day fascism.

Trump would be the offspring of Somoza or Trujillo, or worse. Without political parties or valid constitutions, these dictators had complete freedom to suppress and eradicate all dissent. Which they, with our support, did.

In the U.S. today a presidential candidate is facing four indictments for some form of treason. All are evidence-based. None are theoretical.

If this were Guatemala, the accusing parties would all be in prison or dead. Permissible in undiluted fascism. So, the accused and the Republican Party do the next best thing: attack. The judicial system and the government are called criminals by the criminals. Judges are threatened and vilified. Jury members and their families are threatened with death. Witnesses are threatened with retribution if they testify and worse, if they tell the truth. Mafia madness. This collapse of Democracy is the existential question of our time.

Silence is the response of almost the entire Republican Party and most of the presidential candidates. Silence in the face of our democracy in crisis. Silence for possible personal gain and exploitation. Silence based on greed and cowardice. Silence as the banner of the elephant bent over wearing diapers.

Or is it chickenshit? They all know that Trump’s dad bought him a medical exemption from the Vietnam War. They heard him abuse John McCain for getting captured, for being too stupid not to avoid the war. They know he is all mouth and no heart. No courage. Repugnant. Deranged. Yet, they follow his lead and remain silent. Chickenshit? Should they be leading our country? Should they even be in office? Are we all without self-respect?

The other piece of this bizarre puzzle was that Trump’s four years in office were an abject failure on every level. Loyalty to failure is about creating a culture of failure. Competing to fail won’t make America great, except when the bar is too low to do worse. His comment on the United States women’s national soccer team says it all.    

So the cowardice leads to fascism and many Americans support it. They find Trump’s cowardice appealing, exciting, but no one else gets a pass.

Are we verging on the banana republic model? We were once its greatest proponents. Republicans never objected before. Will they remain silent while we go down the rabbit hole?


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