No matter where you go, there are lessons to be learned—especially on university campuses. One lesson that Harvard teaches through its actions [“Housekeepers vs. Harvard,” Sarah Leonard, April 10] is the primacy of profits over ethics. One lesson that the striking DoubleTree housekeepers enflesh is the nobility of struggle for decency and fairness. Which lesson is worthier?
As the Nicaraguan poet Giocanda Belli says, “Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples.” The Harvard community is indebted to the workers for reminding us of that lesson and giving us the opportunity to act like truly educated and compassionate people.
Quaker Chaplain at Harvard University
The Right to Health Care
Angela Bonavoglia’s excellent article “What Would It Mean for 24 Million Americans to Lose Health Insurance?” [April 10] argues that an unseen consequence of Obamacare is an evolving acceptance of affordable health care as an American right. With Paul Ryan’s “replacement” plan exposed as a $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy, garnering only 17 percent approval, perhaps we will see in our political discourse a heightened scrutiny of any proposed Republican legislation and how it affects our social safety net, protection of natural resources, and sense of justice.
Americans should seek a mind-set that not only considers as obscene any effort to keep our health care a for-profit enterprise but that sees as suspicious anything coming from a House speaker who peddles a “replacement” plan that would remove more people from their health coverage than a simple “repeal” would.
palm coast, fla.
Incremental change still has enormous value. My brother lost his job at age 54 when the economy tanked and has been unable to secure work since. One of my closest friends worked in an office that shut down when she was 60. Neither had health insurance until the Medicaid expansion.
I worked in human services for many years and was always incensed by the number of people with near-zero incomes (many were homeless) who had only the emergency room in the public hospital for health care. The ACA has plenty of problems, but it was an enormous step forward in extending the safety net to all—and that appears to be exactly what Republicans can’t tolerate. The mean-spiritedness takes my breath way.
Who Decides Feminism?
I’m ambivalent about Katha
Pollitt’s article “A Feminism of Everything” [April 10]. On the one hand, it’s true that if everything were deemed a feminist issue, then nothing would be a feminist issue. But then there are those who feel that feminism can’t be the intersectional movement it aspires to be without being more inclusive. To me, the question of who gets to decide what is or isn’t a feminist issue is a far more interesting question, and one that the author entirely circumvents.
kansas city, mo.
Notes From the Resistance
In the face of the damage being done by the current Republican administration in Washington, it is heartening to see the huge surge in resistance to that administration [“Field Guide to the Resistance,” March 27]. It is particularly hopeful that so many of the newly formed efforts are based on organizing everyday people to pressure elected officials, or to talk to other everyday people in order to galvanize opposition to the destructive Trump agenda.
However, groups like Swing Left need to be mindful that the goal has to be more than simply exchanging a corporate Republican for a corporate Democrat. Not all Democrats are alike, and the Democratic Party must drain its own swamp before it will be ready to lead the country into a better, more sustainable future.
Your “Field Guide to the Resistance” misses the Ready to Resist project led by MoveOn
.org, the Working Families Party, and others. The project’s Sunday-night calls have included as many as 60,000 participants at a time. These calls have featured leaders of many different groups, including some you highlight but also immigrant-rights, anti-racist, feminist, and other types of groups. Leaders have addressed action planning, skills training, and best practices. Actions planned as a result of these calls played a big role in efforts to defeat “Trump/Ryan-care.” And, at a time when too many issue-based groups are operating in their own silos, this project offers hope for building a unified, multi-issue movement. Your readers should know about this.
Carolyn H. Magid
Two woman friends and I started an Indivisible group in Traverse City, Michigan. Small place. Two weeks ago, we had 75 members; now we have 500. So much hunger! Leaders can tap into this…. I am 77 years young and totally energized!
Lynne Van Ness
Masters of War
Karen J. Greenberg’s “Skin in the Game” [April 10] thoughtfully reviews three books that elucidate how President Obama’s foreign-policy actions often fell short of his idealistic aspirations. Greenberg rightfully points out that part of Obama’s “ambiguous legacy” is the expansion of executive authority that Trump now inherits.
The founders envisioned that Congress would counterbalance the president in a delicate choreography of power, with ambition checking ambition. But with no incentive to push back, Congress has abdicated its key foreign-policy role.
Still, between the escalating combat in Somalia, a humanitarian catastrophe in Mosul, and an ill-conceived raid in Yemen, each of which has left dead civilians behind, the need for congressional action is urgent. That these military actions are based on a tenuous and outdated authorization, left over from the aftermath of September 11, adds a troubling domestic dimension to their obvious destructiveness.
As the Senate begins to
consider taking up a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, that body would be wise to repeal the vague, post-9/11 AUMF, which has been stretched beyond recognition. Rather, any new grant of authority should be specific and strictly limited in scope, nature, and duration. While such a measure may not be a panacea for the ills born of American aggression abroad, it will surely be less dangerous than ambiguity.
new york city