Martha’s Vineyard residents exemplify what American spirit should be
Despite the cruel, despicable actions taken by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to transport Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, apparently under the guise of false promises and deceit, I am nevertheless full of praise and deeply moved by the caring, compassionate reception Vineyard residents extended toward these vulnerable asylum seekers (“Grateful for the island welcome, migrants depart for Cape shelter,” Page A1, Sept. 17).
The migrants were caught up in the divisive political storm that has swept over our country. However, the welcome they received has reminded me, as it should many of us, that the credo “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is very much alive. The actions of people on the Vineyard are exemplary of what our American spirit should be.
Ian von Frankenstein
Feeling proud of our citizenry, for a change
This American senior is rarely feeling proud these days when following the news. So much of the rest of the world can’t understand why we’re losing our way and self-destructing.
However, the scenes from Martha’s Vineyard last week were so moving that I was encouraged.
Genuine fellow feeling instead of racist hatred was demonstrated by all the people who cared for the men, women, and children who left Venezuela to live, not die, and to find freedom here to live out their lives in a democracy. The cynical political ploy being used by Republican governors to mock the religious concept of sanctuary may be illegal and is deserving of a federal investigation.
Bonnie Beardsworth Hardaway
Yet again the people of Massachusetts, and specifically Martha’s Vineyard, have risen to the occasion showing compassion and respect for those in need. It makes me proud to have been born and raised in the area, and though I’ve long been a resident of Hawaii, the news from home brings a good feeling.
Island’s year-round residents are a different group altogether
Last winter I was fortunate to be able to spend a few months on Martha’s Vineyard. I quickly learned that off-season, this beautiful destination is definitely not the rich playground held up as an example by Florida’s governor in his political stunt of flying desperate Venezuelan asylum seekers there. Year-round island homeowners have median annual incomes of about $72,000, and it’s a little more than $44,000 for renters. There are families who have lived on the small island for generations.
While perhaps farmers in the past, the people I met at the town libraries and cultural centers were seniors retired on fixed incomes, some of whom operated bed-and-breakfasts to bring in additional income; their children were teachers, workers at the few cafes and stores open all year, town employees, and fishermen in the village of Menemsha selling fish fresh from their boats. They were surely not the affluent absent owners of the houses in the development where I was staying.
In winter, free food is offered at the library, dirt roads are in clear need of pothole repair, and one sees boarded-up movie theaters and “See you in spring” signs on the closed upscale stores. Yet, as has been reported, these far-from-wealthy islanders reached out with their hearts and pocketbooks the best they could to welcome strangers. Bravo, and thank you, from one fellow Massachusetts resident.
Lois Woocher Karfunkel
Advocacy group could be a model for how we support arriving migrants
The Sponsor Circle Program is a wonderful support for Afghani and Ukrainian refugees. As a volunteer with an immigrant advocacy group in Boston, I know firsthand how precious the connection and ongoing commitment is to an individual or family who have significantly struggled to get to the United States. Among the vital ways we can all support newly arrived immigrants: a ride to an appointment, a bag of groceries, temporary housing, navigating the complexities of the available social services and health care, registering a child for school, providing warm clothing, accompanying someone to court.
Why is this effort limited to only two groups of refugees when those of us doing this kind of accompaniment have been seeing the swell in arrivals from Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia, Central America, and Africa even before this summer?
I would love to see the Sponsor Circle Program model adopted and coordinated by the Commonwealth for all arriving migrants. Massachusetts has the resources and the volunteer workforce to accomplish this.
Our innate tribalism is at odds with the instinct for collective harmony
I would like to reinforce the crucial understanding in Yvonne Abraham’s column “Perla’s promises” (Metro, Sept. 18). She writes, “We are divided between people who believe in the worth and dignity and rights of everyone, and those who believe those should be granted only to straight, white, Christian men.”
I heard a similar paradigm from the late Pakistani writer, teacher, and activist Eqbal Ahmad in the late 1980s. In a speech at MIT, he accurately predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, then went on to say that after that, the big division would not be between communism and capitalism but rather between universalists and particularists.
I did not fully grasp what Ahmad was saying, but I do now, and so surely does Abraham. I would expand her description of particularists to include anyone, anywhere, who believes their religion, nationality, or other aspect of identity makes them innately superior or more deserving.
The innate tribalism of our species is at odds with the instinct for collective behavior that enabled our early survival and evolution. Abraham’s column views this contradiction in the context of immigration policy, just one symptom of our current dysfunction.
Given inevitable future pandemics, too many weapons of mass destruction in too many hands, and a human-made climate crisis threatening our viability on the planet, universalist action is the only hope for our continued survival and evolution.
David J. Weinstein
‘Open borders’ is a buzzword (like a gnat flying around our heads)
Boy, the “Foxification” of thought was on full display in last Saturday’s letters to the editor (“A path to Massachusetts, paved with political intentions”). Not one, but two letters citing President Biden and “open borders.” Tucker Carlson would be pleased.
The reality is that, for better or worse, Biden’s border policies are not much different than Donald Trump’s were under his administration. We have an immigration problem because the Republicans under Senate leader Mitch McConnell will not come to the table to discuss a reasonable policy that follows the Constitution and US historical precedents toward immigrants. Doing so would be bad politics for the GOP, so the issue continues to go unaddressed.
I’ll take Biden’s compassion for immigrants over Trump’s — and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s — cruelty to other human beings in need any day.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire ...
Some letters to the Globe last Saturday refer to President Biden’s so-called open borders while the front page featured the developing news about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s sending of a group of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Interestingly, the Globe also has recently featured two stories on the Free State movement in New Hampshire (“Free Staters test limits of N.H. libertarianism,” Page A1, Sept. 4; “Free Stater family finds its paradise in N.H.,” Page A1, Sept. 14), so as a public service I wish to draw attention to Section 3.4 of the official Libertarian Party platform. It states, “We support the removal of government impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.”
Therefore, I believe that the Florida governor has sent migrants to the wrong state. Since it is in fact the Libertarian Party that advocates open borders, migrants should instead be sent to the “Live Free or Die” state. The foliage is nice this time of year, too.