Readers’ Views

Lesser selves emboldened

To the Editor:

This letter is written in response to the note entitled, “Hate will divide us” that appeared in the “Readers’ Views” section of the Sentinel on July 11. I appreciate the writer’s readiness to engage in debate. His letter focused on the “hate” in my heart. His message did not scrutinize the “hate” encouraged by a presidential candidate at an Alabama rally in 2016.

That July 11 letter is a pretty darn good example of an ad hominem. The letter presents a fallacious argumentative strategy that focuses attention on the person, not the argument itself. The strategy is effective. Readers of the letter will remember that I have hate in my heart. But the readers will dismiss or ignore the examples of hateful emotions generated by the current administration’s rhetoric.

This administration says that “immigrants are rapists and killers and criminals.” It has become a mantra. It is this kind of talk that fuels the flames of people’s fears.

If this mantra represents the truth about immigrants, then it becomes “OK” to separate thousands of children from their parents. It becomes “OK” to sustain a complete lack of concern for the unification of immigrant families. Why reunite them? What rights does a 3-year-old have to be with his/her mom and dad? They, the immigrants, are only “rapists and killers and criminals.” They are not fully human.

We try, in day-to-day life, with various degrees of success, to be kind to one another. We say “hello” to the stranger on the street, stop to help someone on the side of the road with a flat tire, etc. The laws in the United States work to try to make things fair and just. The current discourse, though, emboldens us to act and think in the direction of our lesser selves. Our lesser selves are not kind nor helpful nor gentle toward other human beings. We become less civil to one another.

All the rhetoric is a distraction from what’s important. The experiment in democracy is dismantled behind closed doors. The public treated to a spectacle of actions and discourse that lead to despair and distrust. Our civil society loses. The individual’s ability to empathize is diminished. The lesser self, emboldened.

Peter Engstrom


Camp offers its thanks

To the Editor:

Earlier this summer, STEM4Kids Day Camp was held at Fairmont Elementary School. Forty-two first- through sixth-grade students took part in the camp. Participants had the opportunity to explore the scientific method, the engineering design process and several other basic scientific concepts.

A huge thank you is due to the 3M Corporation of Fairmont for the grant for materials and scholarships that made the camp possible. In addition, thanks are in order to Kiwanis Early Risers members who provided and served snacks for the campers each day, the custodial staff at Fairmont Elementary School and to CER for its help with registrations and numerous other details.

Cindy Viesselman

STEM4Kids Camp coordinator