Letters to the Editor
December 29, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Happy New Year.
“Oh, wow,” to quote the late great Joan Didion. I thought that in this season of peace and joy, the last thing our readers would want to do is hang tinsel and ribbon on doom, gloom, and political complaints and predictions. Apparently, Martin disagreed.
His lament on Christmas Eve centered on the Afghanistan withdrawal and the wickedness, the “evil, ” of President Biden. No matter that his administration is trying to better the lot of ordinary non-billionaire Americans, catch up on neglected infrastructure projects while kick-starting an economy ravaged by the losses of Covid-19 and cash incentives to keep the country afloat. No matter that the plan to withdraw from Afghanistan was created by Trump without consulting the Afghanis, and everyone, there and here, knew it was coming. Trump said June 2021 and Biden extended it to September 11, 2021. The Taliban chose the earlier date to advance their cause in June rather than the later date, and it is true that we were not fully prepared. Clearly, we should not have relied on Taliban assurances (as Trump did). But who got us into this terrible war anyway? “Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld” should ring a bell. The Neocon love of war and Trumpian antics on the world stage have done us no good.
Martin insists that The Big Lie of the 2020 election is true, no matter that every court, including SCOTUS, disagrees, every audit has confirmed the vote, evidence is mounting of potentially criminal, anti-democratic Trumpian plans to subvert the election and stage an insurrection at the Capitol with the help of Trumpian congressionals. Martin's commitment to “evidence” of tampering is now part of his DNA and I suspect that he would collapse if he finally accepted the truth.
Getting old and looking back to our own youthful experiences and beliefs as being the “ideal,” is fairly common. I am certain it has happened to every generation as the world makes ready to do without us. The human condition can seem overwhelming at times. The “old rules” are discarded, acknowledged “truths’ are challenged as we make new discoveries, there are more people and different ideas, technology advances in formerly unthinkable ways, sometimes challenging humanity as we have understood it for millennia. Every generation creates its own ideals and we cannot return to the past. Our religious beliefs and moral principles are important and can be a great solace to the faithful, especially in time of stress and uncertainty. We are obliged to extend the same freedom to others.
Thrashing about with untruths, venom, and despair is not the best that humanity can offer. It does not burnish our ideals or encourage peace and understanding. To predict "this will not be a Happy New Year" is a sad place to land, a miserable thing to share with others in this season of renewal, and sucks Hope from experiences yet to come. I was very sorry to read it. If someone anticipates the bleak, dismal, and joyless, all things will be judged and experienced through that prism. I am not going to bet, at this point, against a Happy New Year - though challenging - for you all.
Kelly Scoles,