Web Letters | The Nation


Remembering Norma Rae

Somehow I missed this article till now!

I remember a time during the Reagan years when we workers were told we were about to become, in essence, "entrepreneurs" which was shorthand for a new minimum sense of responsibility employers were going to be permitted to take for their employees. That has come to pass, I think--in fact, a large percentage of the work force has not known it any other way.

Workers don't really identify themselves as workers anymore--each in his or her own way is pursuing a dream, the American Dream some might say, but I think not. The American dream was practical, assumed a kind of happiness in ordinary life: a house, a car, the ability to provide for a family--a chicken in every pot. Today we workers are placing our hopes on American Idol, the lottery, the flimsiest kind of dreams.

Likewise, I am a Berkeley carpenter who has won awards for poetry and published a book called Hammer about the construction industry which was well-reviewed in the New York Times Book review: Mark Turpin.net.

Mark Turpin

Berkeley, CA

Mar 5 2007 - 3:27pm

The Care Crisis

I was very excited to see this cover story. Ruth Rosen does a wonderful job of spelling out the problems, and even though a fair chunk of the issues (caring for elderly parents and children) don't have impact on my own life, enough does to make me angry.

I am 30 years old, single, living in Los Angeles. I have a masters degree--but in film--so naturally, I am working as a bookkeeper. I live month to month, never really able to squirrel away real savings as live in a fairly expensive city, and owe about $55,000 in student loans.

My three older brothers are each married with children, and as such, their lives are richer, better, than mine. Not because of the partner and kids per se, but because they are completely taken care of. They rely on their wives to take care of them and their houses and their children, but I know they don't think of it that way. In addition, extra income from their wives allowed them to pay off their student loans, and invest in property.

Because I am a single woman, working a regular job, I can never aspire to many of the things that my brothers take for granted--home ownership, new cars, my own washer and dryer...

In film school, in my 18-person class, there were only two women, myself and my friend Amy. Many of the men were married, and as such they had a leg up. While we were all expected to work non-stop--on set, in class, in editing bays -- many of the men brought lunches made by their wives, wore clothes laundered by their wives, etc. It's no wonder that Amy, (a heterosexual)once remarked to me that she didn't want a husband, but rather, a wife.

Stacy Horn

Los Angeles, CA

Mar 5 2007 - 2:28pm

The Anatomy of Fear

It is not surprising that D.T. Max believes phobia cannot be cured. I began working for people who were phobic about flying in 1980. It was distressing to see phobics in our flying course at Pan Am who, during the "graduation flight" did exactly what we taught them, and got no relief at all.

This set me on a quest to find something that would work. While still an airline captain, I complete grad school, and post graduate study at three different institutes in the New York area, always looking for something that would work. I didn't find it.

At least not until simply happening upon something that did work. But why it worked was not clear until 2000 when functional MRI research by Allan Schore and others showed that the infant is soothed by a visually communicated empathic connection with the mother, or other caretaker.

We now can cure phobia by connecting each element of the phobia to vivid recall of a moment in which the person experienced an empathic connection with another person.

Treatment only becomes difficult when the person's life has been so emotionally isolated that the person, initially, can find no moment of empathic connectedness at any time in his or her life.

The reason this treatment is so effective is that we are born with an instinct to connect. When the infant connects with the mother, profound calming results.

Though the client will not remember such early moments of profound calming, once we find a later one that is remembered, this powerful calming can be associated with the things that trigger a phobic response.

Association between the two is established behaviorally. Once established, there is a neural link between what once triggered a phobic response and the powerful calming of vivid recall of a moment of empathic connectedness.

In the past several years, using this treatment for flight anxiety and phobia, I have found not one case which could not be effectively treated by tapping into this powerful instinctive source of calming.

Thomas C Bunn LCSW

Easton, CT

Mar 5 2007 - 12:01pm

The Iran War Buildup

You can take action now--here:


Dorothy Conway

Chicago, IL

Mar 4 2007 - 5:16pm

The Care Crisis

I definitely agree with the basic premise of Rosen's article which is that there is an obvious care crisis in America. However, I am surprised that she believes the real solution lies with the Democrats or through electoral campaigns. She says the money is there if we "end tax cuts for the wealthy and reduce expenditures for unncessary wars, space-based weapons and the hundreds of American bases that circle the globe." While all this is true, it is more of a pipe dream and in my opinion, completely unrealistic. Instead of relying and waiting for the the national political agenda to change, we need to start organizing child care alternatives in our own local communities and towns. Start a child care cooperative with friends and neighbors where you take turns watching one another's kids, lobby your company, city or college to provide onsite childcare. Keep up constant complaints to your HMO and change to a different one if possible. This is how real change happens, not, as she says, waiting for large corporations and politicians to finally realize a change is necessary. We'll be waiting a very long time, meanwhile the rent needs to be paid and the children need looking after.

Rachel Aronowitz

Oakland, CA

Mar 4 2007 - 3:22pm

When's the Idea Primary?

It is nothing short of astounding that so-called progressives write lunacy like this, when the perfect vision our country and the world lies right before our noses. I would argue that it is writers like this who ARE the problem, when they fail--for reasons unfathomable to me--to get behind the following vision and shout it from the rooftops:

I want to inspire America to take a new path, a different direction. I envision an America which has the capacity to reconnect with the heart of the world; an America which proceeds in the world optimistically and courageously. An America which understands that the world is interdependent, that it is interconnected, and that what we do today impacts future generations.

I want to break the shackles of fear which have deprived our citizens of rights. We need to change the way this country values humanity, so that instead of fear and lies, we can live our lives based on principles of peace and hope. We need to regain the trust of the American people and we need to have a government which trusts the American people.

It's time for America to resume its glorious journey; time to reject shrinking jobs and wages, disappearing savings and rights; time to reject the detour towards fear and greed. It's time to look out upon the world for friends, not enemies; time to counter the control of corporations over our politics, our economy, our resources, and mass media. It's time for those who have much to help those who have little, by maintaining a progressive tax structure.

It's time to tell the world that we wish to be their partner in peace, not their leader in war. Most of all, it is time for America to again be the land where dreams come true, because the government is on the side of its people.

Ten Key Issues 1. Universal Health Care 2. International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in 3. Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO 4. Repeal of the "Patriot Act" 5. Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College 6. Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65 7. Right-to-Choose, Privacy and Civil Rights 8. Balance Between Workers and Corporations 9. Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy 10. Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms

I mean, really, Robert, are you not familiar with the name Dennis Kucinich? The presidential candidate who wrote the above and stands behind it? Do you dislike this vision so much as to not even mention it? Are you paid by big corporations? Are you insane? How can you possibly justify NOT mentioning this vision, while bemoaning that there are no bold ideas out there?

This article is truly pathetic, and I would encourage the writer of it to go on a long sabbatical, and not come back until he gets his head screwed on straight.

For those who want to learn more about this most viable candidate, the one with the ideas, the one who speaks the truth over and over, the one who has done his homework, and the one who WILL be President if we pull our heads out of the dark places, I'd suggest having a look at http://www.votedennis.us.

Daniel Geery

Salt Lake City, Utah

Mar 3 2007 - 6:32pm

The Care Crisis

When I first saw this cover I couldn't have felt better that others across the world were reading it; my grandmother and her father had Alzheimer's. Cancer took my brother and my mom, soon my cousin. I am 24 and my office, which was in the World Trade Center, is moving back to Wall Street in a couple months. Mom's older brother and I share the responsibility of my 90 year old grandfather who is sharp as ever but physically, aging.

I know I'm not being paid as much as my male counterparts, but am insured and feel fortunate for that though I don't have much savings. I'm very active with New Jersey, the Rutgers community, America and college campuses in every state. For the last year I worked hard with the director, Dan Lohaus, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the Rutgers Film Co-op to arrange the premiere college screening of When I Came Home at Rutgers. Since Presidents' weekend, the film was picked up by The Center for American Progress for a National thirty-campus tour accompanied by American hero Paul Reickhoff.

I keep up a two-bedroom apartment with my significant other and try to maintain a sane head for others in our now much bigger family. I hope that women who read this article are able to use technology to connect and move national action forth for my generations children to be afforded the luxury of slowing down a bit.

Americans are not saving enough and our government continues to borrow what it does not have. This rhetoric between pundits and politicians today is more and more a waste of time and attention. This economic, environmental, and military debacle has to stop. Strong collective human and monetary investment in our communities and our universities could change America if we women communicate effectively.

Rachel Dawn Scharf

Teaneck, New Jersey

Mar 3 2007 - 3:53pm

When's the Idea Primary?

There are no ideas on offer because the ideas that the Democrats have will not sell to the voting public.

So it's better to hide them!

It is what the left always does, in every country, at every election.

Alain Gadbois

Montreal, Canada

Mar 3 2007 - 7:20am

Katrina, Eighteen Months Later

With rising sea levels, it is a total waste to rebuild New Orleans below even current water lines. We need to use this money more effectively.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Mar 3 2007 - 4:25am

When's the Idea Primary?

Great article!

Public interest and enthusiasm for the campaign is not sustainable going two whole years or more.

None of the candidate's ideas put forth so far is really anything but warmed over New Deal, or replays from the Anti-Vietnam time.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Mar 3 2007 - 4:17am