October 17, 2021


A Michigan standoff, imagined

Imagine if an oil corporation — let’s say Enbridge — wanted to put an oil pipeline across Michigan, through Traverse City and under the Grand Traverse Bay. The elected officials and people of Traverse City would rise up in protest and convince the pipeline promoters that it would be in “everyone’s best interest” to route the pipeline through Acme and then under the bay to Peshawbestown.   

In order to avoid an environmental impact statement, Enbridge divides up the pipeline route into one-acre permits and then begins pipeline construction without the consent of nearby property owners or with regard to treaties made with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. It’s not hard to imagine that public opposition would rise up, and people would start engaging in nonviolent direct action to protect their water and lands. 

Then picture Enbridge hiring private security firms like Blackwater to take unlicensed and unregistered attack dogs and drive them into groups of people letting the dogs bite and terrorize the peacefully assembled. When more people come to physically register their desire to protect the bay with their bodies and engage in nonviolent direct action, the Grand Traverse County sheriff is called by Enbridge to clear the people out of the way of their corporate interests.

Could you imagine if the sheriff then called in regional SWAT teams and militarized police forces to unleash water cannons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and oversized canisters of mace to “clear out” the unarmed and nonviolent water protectors? 

What is described above is happening now in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Is this what we want to see happening in our state or our country? How will our community and state respond when corporate interests clash with those who are interested in protecting our water and land for the generations to come?

— Gerard Grabowski, Pleasanton Township

Trump’s idea of success

In the Northern Express of Nov. 28, Jack Segal writes that Donald Trump “wants to succeed as president.” Really?

Succeed as in reintroducing torture by the CIA and military, silencing anyone who opposes him, dismantling the EPA so we can choke on our own pollution, repealing President Obama’s health-care law so millions are even more at the mercy of the private insurance industry, cutting corporate taxes so only the wealthy and well-off thrive, privatizing the public sphere so the social fabric can tear some more. These are just a few of the schemes Trump aims to “succeed” in as “president.”

Segal lauds Trumps as being “his own man,” but that’s only because the dupable public feeds his megalomania. Segal believes him capable of “cold calculation,” for sure when he swindles others and welshes on income taxes.

Segal sees him as enigmatic, when the word deceitful is more accurate and clear. Segal isn’t “too worked up about” the sycophants Trump wants on board his ship of state. Besides, why would Trump bother with how low the bar is set when Americans who voted for him set the bar themselves?  

Segal previously listed honesty, knowledge, temperament, accomplishments, leadership and demeanor as criteria for choosing an American president. On Election Day, however, enough Americans trash-canned Segal’s list of virtues while they dredged up their shameful “values” or “conscience” to justify picking an insidious carnival barker who will gladly shill for them.

— Allen McCullough, Interlochen

‘A monument to self-awareness’

Well, alrighty then! According to the oh-so-tolerant and progressive Mark Pontoni, a woman who voted for Trump has no right to a vagina; a person of color who voted for Trump is, to paraphrase, unspeakable; a law enforcement officer who voted for Trump has no right to a badge; a teacher who voted for Trump has no right to a certificate. All this while saying the other side wants to infringe on the liberties of Americans. Quite a monument to self-awareness, this one. 

Pompous, arrogant, ignorant, effete loud-mouths like Mark Pontoni pretty much explain why Donald Trump is president-elect. That and the fact that Hillary Clinton was a pathetic, some might even say deplorable, candidate. 

— John Michael Casteel, Traverse City

World ignoring Palestinians

The recent International Affairs forums about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were interesting and informative. However, they seemed to avoid the underlying cause of the conflict. That is the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli military. Targeting civilians such as in Gaza, destroying civilian infrastructure, denying food, water and medical attention, as well as moving civilians into occupied territory. All illegal under international law. It appears that the world community has chosen to turn its back on the plight of the Palestinians just as it did to the Jews in the 1930s.

— Randall Bond, Beulah

Trump’s shortcomings

Dear President-elect Donald Trump: When you disparage women by your words and actions, you don’t represent me.

When you demean Muslims, Mexicans and minorities, you don’t represent me. When you dismiss scientific information as a hoax, you don’t represent me. When you fail to deal with greed and discrimination, you don’t represent me. When you confuse toughness with strength, you don’t represent me. If you develop humility, empathy, honesty and integrity, you may represent me. I long for that president!

— Lou Ann McKimmy


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