The Meaning of Masks
As a disabled reader of The Nation, I read Gwen Florio’s portrait of Kalispell, Mont., with mounting dismay [“Montana, Unmasked,” Jan. 25/Feb. 1]. I’m a writer with cerebral palsy who is intimately familiar with the frustrations that come with the loss of control over my body. However, I would like to tell the antimask scofflaws that just because you’re not in total control doesn’t mean you are being actively oppressed. Control must be nearly as deadly an illusion as the power of whiteness.
Erika D. Jahneke
In regard to “Saving the Mail” by Jake Bittle [Jan. 25/Feb. 1], the US Postal Service is not truly an independent organization, although in many ways it tries to act like one. I believe it should be run like the military, with a congressionally approved budget.
David Klion’s excellent review of Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy [“Ex-Friends,” Jan. 25/Feb. 1] brings out a lot of needed points that the mainstream reviews of the book have largely ignored. As a commentator on current American politics, Applebaum is a good student of Stalin’s Russia. But maybe she should come back home and get more of a firsthand view of what we’re really up against in 2021. (It is not about Stalin or Lenin.)
The Days Ahead
Re “Biden’s First 100 Days” [Jan. 11/18]: I am surprised the issue of immigration was not addressed in the list of 10 critical issues for Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. Recall that the Biden administration put forth legislation on immigration during his first week on the job, and immigration directly affects many if not all of the other 10 topics, from Covid-19 and climate to Black Lives Matter and labor. If journalists place the issue on the back burner, so will the Biden administration.
Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies
Mount Holyoke College
south hadley, mass.
“Biden’s First 100 Days: Debt” by Astra Taylor [Jan. 11/18] was a great article, but forgiveness of debt is a taxable event. If the government forgives, say, $50,000 of my student debt, I may have to come up with some $10,000 to $15,000 in taxes.
Voters Strike Back
In the final installment of his column [“Focus on the Fundamentals,” Jan. 11/18], Eric Alterman referred to the three most important problems we face, which are really all the same: Voters rarely matter much. Until, that is, they have faith in making a difference. We were fortunate in the runoff elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats that many voters decided their votes just might count, for a change. Thank you, Eric Alterman. You have served us well!