Readers write: What do we leave behind in space?, celebrity presidents, information about helping veterans, drug treatment in Oklahoma

 Letters to the editor for the March 5, 2018 weekly magazine. 

Josh Bachman /The Las Cruces Sun-News/AP
The Super Blood Moon is seen over the Farm and Ranch Museum in Las Cruces, N.M. on Jan. 31, 2018.

What do we leave behind in space?

I really enjoyed the Jan. 23 Monitor Daily article about what we leave behind in space exploration. 

You presented more than one viewpoint and left me thinking about the degree to which we pollute without considering the consequences. 

Countries were so eager to send up satellites that future problems with excess space junk weren’t addressed. Now we are realizing the problems we created.

Thank you for your insights.

Libby Rupert

Ellenton, Fla.

I thought the Jan. 23 Monitor Daily article “Space junk: Are we trashing the final frontier?” was profound. I had not thought about and did not know that we were leaving our detritus on the moon and Mars and points beyond. And so much of it! One dire problem we as a species have right now is how we are trashing our environment here on Earth – nearly to death. Our rivers, steams, oceans, soil, forests.... 

The thought of going forth, so to speak, and doing it everywhere we go is beyond sickening. 

I would hope that it becomes absolute ironclad policy to stop this type of behavior no matter where we go and who we are, from 6-year-old kids on a playground to the top scientists at institutions like NASA and worldwide. 

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Michele Thyne

Lugano, Umbria, Italy

Celebrity presidents

Peter Grier’s DC Decoder column in the Jan. 22 issue, “The surprising power of a celebrity politician,” spoke about Oprah Winfrey’s rise to “possible” status among presidential candidates in 2020. 

He described Donald Trump as “the pioneering celebrity president.” 

I remember, vaguely, a Hollywood star who became our 40th president. He had a noticeable, if not notable, acting career.

George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Ulysses S. Grant got to be president. Their experience was military, so they had more of the useful skills that a president needs, as opposed to, say, those of a talk show host. (Or is it? Maybe I’m old-fashioned.)

Mr. Grier said nothing about Ms. Winfrey’s potential abilities in regard to the substantive issues a president faces today. She hasn’t told us yet. 

Grier settled for wondering what label she would wear. It’s a dismaying thought that so many voters settle for labels, assuming, I guess, that if it’s one we like, that’s all we need to know.

Bob Weeden

Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Information about helping veterans

Thank you for sharing the information in the Jan. 1 & 8 People Making A Difference article. I had no idea veteran suicides were at such a high level. 

I have donated to Skate for the 22 but, more important, I will be passing along the information and I appreciate a paper like the Monitor.

Dee Ann Tortorice

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Drug treatment in Oklahoma

Regarding the Jan. 25 Monitor Daily article “Without prison as lever, Oklahoma seeks paths to drug treatment”: I especially appreciated the interview with the reforming addict, including the quote, “I am my problem and methamphetamine is my solution.” That made me sad, but the quote from George Leach III, assistant district attorney for Texas County and three adjacent counties, about seeing 50 to 60 percent of drug users twice in rehab, and then no more, encouraged me. 

Juxtaposing the poignant human interest element with the economic aspects/funding issues and the citizen initiative (no doubt a response to perceived ineffectiveness in the law-and-order approach) was brilliant writing! 


Dwight Stafford

Wheat Ridge, Colo.

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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.

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