Thank you, Gretchen Martin, for calling out the ugly rhetoric that has often made the pages of the Village News. All are entitled to opinions, but the cowardly bashing of low-hanging fruit and easy targets of the LGBTQ+ community has become a cottage industry for the political right, including some letters and opinion columns appearing in this paper.
What has happened to "love they neighbor as thyself" also known as "live and let live"? Exactly who does it harm if my neighbor loves or is married to someone of the same sex? Who is harmed if my neighbor's child feels uncomfortable in their birth skin and asks for help to become true to themselves? Does this harm me? Does it harm my family? Does it lower our property values?
Are they decent, law-abiding people who care for their families, pay their taxes and treat others with respect? Who, exactly, is being threatened? Once the "othering" and marginalization of people who don't look like us, or pray like us, who are "different" begins, it can have ugly consequences – like the murder in Lake Arrowhead.
It would be prudent to take a look back at not-so-distant history and heed the words of Martin Niemöller, German pastor and Nazi concentration camp survivor, words which ring as true today as they did when written:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemöller
And then, on a following page, what should appear but another paean to Donald Trump from Mr. Maynard, whose bromance with "The Donald" seems to be holding up nicely in the face of four criminal indictments containing 91 felony charges, one conviction for sexual abuse and defamation, 30,573 (and counting) documented lies, six bankruptcies, the Trump University scam, the Trump Family "Charity" scam – and the list goes on and on and on.
Some facts here – inconvenient things, aren't they, but facts nonetheless – Donald Trump has been a horror even before he started wearing long pants. Former neighbors of the Trump family in Queens, New York describe a sadistic bully who beat up weaker kids, was caught throwing rocks at a neighbor's toddler in an outdoor playpen, punched one of his teachers in the face which got him sent to military school, mercifully taking him off the streets until he graduated from high school. Then on to draft dodging – "Cadet Bone Spurs" received five deferments, arranged through favors owed to his father.
Fast forward to his father's death in 1999 when Trump wrested control of the family fortune and cheated his dead brother's family, cruelly cutting off medical insurance to a critically ill infant nephew because the cheated relatives had the audacity to sue and it "annoyed" him.
His idolatry of and close association with Roy Cohn, one of the vilest human beings ever to draw breath; his hiring of foreign workers and then refusing to pay them, threatening to have them deported if they complained or sued him.
His mob ties, his glorification of violence; his appearance, standing next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, selling out our country while the world watched; his blatant, ugly racism.
Trump, never one to be burdened by morality or conscience, referred to dead American troops and heroes as "losers," the most egregious example of course being John McCain. Watching Trump walk onto a stage and hug the flag that he refused to honor turns the stomach – and then, icing on the cake, the incitement of a mob attack on the Capitol with the intent to overturn a lost presidential election and stay in power.
Yes, Mr. Maynard's description of kleptocracies is correct, but he seems to have transposed administrations – during the four years that Trump was in office, corruption took place on a massive scale, rarely seen in this country's history, and hopefully will never be repeated.
However, Trump has already promised, if re-elected, to jail his opponents, curtail the free press, eliminate most of the Federal Government and what can't be eliminated will be seeded with MAGA bottom-feeders doing the Dear Leader's bidding.
And maybe Jared will get another 2 billion from the Saudis, wouldn't that be nice?
The fact that millions of seemingly nice, normal people think Trump's behavior is acceptable and wish to give him another four years is incomprehensible; our country will not survive. For those who think that Trump cares about ordinary Americans and their problems, let me enlighten you – Trump cares for no one but himself and never has; he should never again be allowed to hold any public office.
Bob Silvestro, registered Republican
Georgiana Silvestro, Independent