Readers write: Congress and trade decision, Arab homeland, 'right to work'

Letters to the editor for the May 18, 2015, weekly magazine.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio, seen here on Capitol Hill in Washington last year, was among the Democrats who blocked action on President Obama's trade initiatives Tuesday. A compromise emerged Wednesday.

Keep Congress in on trade decisions
Regarding the May 4 Monitor’s View “Why a US president needs a key tool for expanding trade”: Supporting trade with many nations is needed, and the president does have major responsibility. Supporting trade that maintains “status quo” favoritism for corporations’ profiteering, and hurting the US economy – and the majority of citizens – without input from Congress, is a different matter. Different opinions will strengthen the wisdom of any trade agreement. 
Richard Hahn
Sandia Park, N.M.

Arab homeland misunderstood
Regarding the April 27 online article “Jerusalem home buyers find leftist ideals cost a bedroom or two” ( The Palestinian narrative tells of a fantasy world in which Israel is occupied Palestinian territory. But there never was an independent Palestinian state; the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine were descended from families who entered after Zionist activity began to revive the economy in the 1880s. The Arab nations that went to war in 1948, trying to block Israel’s rebirth, prevented an Arab state in Gaza and the West Bank. The war displaced 800,000 Arabs. Their number has grown to 5,000,000, still classified as refugees. If 1,200,000 Arabs, rightfully, have civil rights in Israel, why won’t they let Jews live in their state?
Toby F. Block

‘Right to work’: Should all benefit?
In response to the April 20 & 27 Readers Write letter “ ‘Right to work’ and unions”: Concerning “right to work,” if there is a union that negotiates wages, benefits, and working conditions, all employees benefit from those negotiations. However, in an RTW state, some employees choose not to join the union and do not contribute to the cost of union representation. If people don’t join a union, that is their right. But why should they benefit from the negotiations? The union-negotiated contract should not be binding for them.
Gary L. Schlesinger
Libertyville, Ill.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to