Readers write: Driving around, and mideast diplomacy

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 16, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the Israel-UAE peace deal and why RV vacations are back in vogue.

Staff

Driving around

I wish to thank the Monitor, Michael S. Hopkins, and Melanie Stetson Freeman for the cover story “A road trip to normalcy” in the Sept. 7 Monitor Weekly. For this reader, feeling both the pinch of age and strictures of the pandemic, it was a truly wondrous trip. In addition, the article recalled 50-year-old memories of living and camping in our country’s incomparable West. Kudos to the Monitor (and the RV Maybell) for supporting the journey.

Bolling P. Lowrey
Greensboro, North Carolina

Social distancing concerns

I usually read my copy of the Monitor from cover to cover and deeply appreciate the balanced and fair covering of the news, but I was upset when I read the article “A road trip to normalcy.” Even though the number of cases of COVID-19 was lower in the Western states that Michael S. Hopkins and Melanie Stetson Freeman visited, social distancing and mask-wearing should still be implemented.

The reaction of the owner of the Kampgrounds of America site in Craig, Colorado, when he and Mr. Hopkins discussed face masks – “Nah. ... Not here. Not required in our county. Come in!” – seems to represent the widespread view that flaunts restrictions designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

John E. Huegel
New Braunfels, Texas

Ruler of the road

I loved the cover story “A road trip to normalcy.” It was fun to get to know Maybell, the camper van that actually ruled the trip. I enjoyed reading that Maybell drove slowly up hills so Michael S. Hopkins and Melanie Stetson Freeman could enjoy the scenery. Mr. Hopkins did such a clever job of writing that I smiled while reading the whole article. It was such a wonderful change from the COVID-19 articles.

Diana Virgil
Brownsburg, Indiana

Mideast diplomacy

Ned Temko’s commentary article “What made the Israel-UAE peace deal possible” in the Sept. 14 Monitor Weekly was sobering and sad – devastating to Palestinian hopes in the Mideast. The United States has consistently failed as a serious, impartial mediator in the region. I believe the Trump administration has made things worse by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, cutting off funding to the Palestinians, and not demanding an end to illegal Israeli settlements. Foreign policy should be more than transactional business deals. A complicated part of the world needs the wisdom of leaders and countries to see a broader view of fairness.

Ann Hymes
Laguna Woods, California

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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.

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