Readers write: Kneeling protests, relief from the news, and more

Letters to the editor for the Aug. 17 & 24, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the purpose of kneeling during the national anthem, and more.

Staff

Kneeling to protest

I have always supported Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest during the national anthem before NFL games. But it was not until I read Harry Bruinius’ excellent article “The promise – and limits – of police taking a knee” in the June 22 Monitor Weekly that I remembered Mr. Kaepernick began his protests by sitting down during the anthem.  

Nor was I previously aware that Mr. Kaepernick began taking a knee after being told by a military veteran that it would be a more respectful form of protest. After reading Mr. Bruinius’ article, I can’t help but wonder where the United States – and our world – might be today had the message of Mr. Kaepernick’s protest been understood more generally and deeply, before recent events brought it so powerfully into the national consciousness.

Alan Willis
Portland, Oregon

Relief from the news

I have heard and read too much about COVID-19 lately, so I’m a little behind in reading my subscription of the Monitor. But when I picked up the June 1 issue, I was happy to find that many stories held my interest. The article “‘In each other’s shadows’: Irish outpouring of relief for Navajo” by Harry Bruinius was so inspiring and heartwarming, as was the element of forgiveness in the cover story, “How a crisis spurs reconciliation,” by Stephen Humphries. 

And I enjoyed reading “Creativity: Abundance and scarcity in a crisis,” by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, which explored how people are coping with isolation in a productive way. I published a novel when I was 80 years old, and now at 85 I find myself writing again in my time alone. I look forward to reading your movie and book reviews. Keep up the good work.

Ann D. Stearns
Rochester, New Hampshire

Trump and the virus

I was surprised that Muriel Horacek’s letter, titled “Views of Trump” in the July 6 & 13 Monitor Weekly, failed to mention how President Donald Trump’s behavior has contributed to prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

From early on he did not wear a face mask, he minimized the potency of the virus, and he encouraged large gatherings of people in close proximity without requiring masks – against the strong advice of most pandemic experts. I believe that if he had behaved in a different way, there is a good chance that we would be well on our way to normalcy by now.

I too am a grandmother, and I share Ms. Horacek’s concern about folks being out of work. However, Mr. Trump’s behavior and handling of the crisis have not worked to relieve that issue in any practical, cohesive way.

Camille A. Dull
Lakewood, California

Rejecting materiality

Thank you for the excellent editorial “China drops a key material standard” in the June 15 Monitor Weekly, which discussed China’s move away from using its gross domestic product to measure economic power, and why it means the country may be rethinking its practice of gauging success by material standards.

This is something we all have to learn – too often the hard way. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “Materialistic hypotheses challenge metaphysics to meet in final combat.” A war of ideas sure beats a cold war. To Mrs. Eddy, the metaphysical foundation of all reality and success was a no-brainer.

Kelly Brother
Memphis, Tennessee

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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.

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 CSMonitor.com.