Readers write: Contempt and empathy, mobile citizens, and more

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 28, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the role contempt plays in American politics, digital nomads, and more.


The other side

I read the Monitor faithfully and am grateful for the mostly balanced and well-written articles. Regarding “A tale of two Janets – and the nation” in the Nov. 2 Monitor Weekly: I have a “Janet” in my life, and reading this cover story deepened my understanding of the legitimacy of her ideas.

Yet I am astounded that immigration was mentioned as an issue in the story, but COVID-19 was not. I trust neither Janet has lost anyone to the coronavirus, and I hope that continues to be the case. I’m a registered nurse and have taken care of COVID-19 patients. It is deadly.

Joanna Stull
Waltham, Massachusetts

Contempt and empathy

In the aftermath of the election, what better food for thought could there be than Noelle Swan’s column in the Oct. 5 Monitor Weekly, “Is there room for empathy in politics?” By sharing examples of compassion shown by earlier politicians, she highlights its absence in the present political discourse.

Sympathizers of President Donald Trump stress their horror at the criticism that Mr. Trump endures. I believe they see themselves in him. His humiliation is their own: They deeply feel the sting of being not only ignored, but also belittled by college-
educated voters and professional elites like the press.

It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s opinions, and another to show contempt for that person. I think that a strong reason why Mr. Trump has attracted so many voters is the disdain shown by liberal figures toward him and his cohort.

Empathy requires the ability to accept and respect those who are not like us. That’s something we all need to learn.

Inger Hellstrom
Greenwich, Connecticut

League labels

Regarding the “In a Word” column “Go ... Nimrods? The odd origins of team names” in the Nov. 16 Monitor Weekly: Melissa Mohr left out the Minnesota Vikings, so named because descendants of real-life Vikings arrived from Norway and populated the state. Tough people!

Helen Harold
West Salem, Wisconsin

Science and belief

Regarding “What does ‘follow the science’ mean?” in the Sept. 14 Monitor Weekly: I believe this article did a disservice to readers for two reasons. Firstly, in contorting the narrative into pretzels in an attempt to preserve “balance,” the writers inflated the conservative talking points about “freedom” and “cost.” 

Secondly, the article lacks a full discussion of consequences. In all decisions, one of the questions should be “What happens if we get it wrong?” Yet the writers didn’t ask that basic question of any of the “doubters.” The COVID-19 virus is literally a matter of life and death; it must not be treated as an abstract discussion.

Rusty Wyrick
Ghivizzano, Italy

Mobile citizens

The cover story by Stephanie Hanes, “The new digital nomads,” in the Nov. 16 Monitor Weekly brought up a couple of questions and concerns for me. Of what community is the digital nomad a member? Where does he vote? Does he know enough about local issues to be an informed citizen in local elections? Presumably he’ll never be called for jury duty. Citizen involvement – or rather the lack of it – is already a civic problem. Finally, what is the environmental impact of a 40-foot RV?

Howard Hansen
Forest Park, Illinois

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