Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4
If troglodytes can do it, so can Sonoma!
EDITOR: Mr. Charles Boles 5-point COVID plan (“COVID: A 5-Point Plan,” July 24) has already been field-tested. He can find the results in any COVID map that shows a disastrous level of spiking, such as Texas, Florida or Los Angeles. Many inhabitants exercised their non-existent “constitutional right” to make up their own minds about the risk of infecting people and to practice what they learned in hobbyist-level epidemiology. Another name for this 5-point plan is called “anarchy.” Many thousands of years ago, cave dwellers got together and decided that they'd have the cooking area on the right side of the cave and the latrine on the left. Thus was born the first glimmers of “let's all cooperate for the greater good.” I'm sure there were a few narcissists in the cave who objected, but I suspect they either didn't live very long or, more optimistically, were just fined 100 frog skins by the cave council.
Judge others by their actions
EDITOR: There were more bovines than grapevines when my husband and I settled here 50 years ago. With all the changing demographics, only once did I come face to face with a “black” person. I’m baffled by Maurice Parker’s claim that “racism in Sonoma is ubiquitous” (“Sonoma Is Not Hallelujah,” July 3)
Parker suggests that Sonoma’s “pervasive racism” could put us on a slippery slope to serious racial incidents. He misidentifies Yale professor Louis Gates, claiming he was arrested “for being black.” The officer, Sgt. Crowley, was responding to a 911 call when Gates became unruly. Obama entered the fray with his knee-jerk comment that Crowley “acted stupidly.” Called later on it, he said his words were “not calibrated.” A contrived “beer summit” did nothing to defuse the situation.
About that face-to-face encounter: Years ago at Long’s photo desk, I stood with celebrated jazz vocalist Cleo Laine. She and husband John Dankworth were frequent summer visitors at the home of her married son.
Which brings up the dilemma of skin color. Why is the word “black” used to denote Negro heritage? Cleo Laine was light-skinned. On the other end you have the undiluted West African black of palenqueras hawking bollos on residential streets in Barranquilla, Colombia. I’ve marveled at the glistening black of Turkana Lake fishermen. They know and accept who they are. Not so with white celebrities who publicly apologize for being white.
I offer another encounter with your readers. One day in the late ’70s a black woman was seen shopping in Safeway. A friend of mine, Sonoma’s untitled ambassador, spied the stranger and was soon engaging her. Friendship bloomed in the produce aisle. The “stranger” was Maya Angelou who had rented a house on Country Club Drive with her son and second husband. Her mornings were spent writing in a little room overlooking the Plaza.
Not many of us are as outgoing as my friend. However, we judge others by their actions, not their skin color.
För Sverige – för Sonoma!
EDITOR: I was born and raised in Sonoma. For the last 10 years, I have been living in Sweden, but the Valley of the Moon will always be home. I really appreciate the work of your reporters and photographers to give in-depth coverage of local issues, especially during these anxious pandemic times. Local newspapers are a cornerstone of American democracy and I am grateful for your contribution. I should have done it years ago, but I just activated a digital subscription to support the paper.
Thank you och vänlig hälsningar från Sverige!
Is this true, or…?
EDITOR: Renowned author Hannah Arendt, in "The Origins of Totalitarianism," states, "the ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false no longer exist." What do you think?
I stand with Black Lives Matter
EDITOR: On my first visit to the “Pray Their Names” art installation (“A Prayer for the Dying,” July 21), in Sonoma at 252 W. Spain St., each name I read of the 160 Black victims of racially charged murder involving police broke my heart, and long ago my soul. Folks who know better should never have been silent, and we certainly can’t be silent now.
A white supremacist guns down nine people in Charleston and the police stop to buy him a hamburger. George Floyd, a Black man, died with a police officer’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe. Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man out jogging, was chased down in a truck by two white men and killed by shotgun. One of those men was retired from the police force in that jurisdiction, the other his son. There were no arrests and the story was being buried until a video of the killing appeared publicly four months later. Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her home, by police executing a no-knock search warrant. She committed no crime.
In calling for defunding the police, Black Lives Matter is not calling for anarchy: exactly the opposite, they are calling for democracy, governing in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation. These killings have continued through decades of calling for change and nothing has. I stand with Black Lives Matter. Policing is not broken, it’s working the way it was intended. It has to end.
Dancing in the dark
EDITOR: To our musician community:
Each year we anticipate the band lineup for the summer music season. We pore over the schedules and pick and choose our music venues like the gardener with his list of seeds to order.
Who will we see? Familiar bands such as: Scarlett Letters, Backtrax, Danny Click, Jami Jamison, Sweet HayaH, Sean Carscadden, the Illegitimate AC/DC, Jon Williams, Whiskey Thieves, the Poyntlyss Sistars, Tommy Odetto, LuvPlanet, Levi Lloyd, Dave Aguilar, Full Circle, Roem Baur, Kingsborough, and more to be discovered.
On the dance floor, I see Pam and her infectious grin. I see Sue dancing like an aerobics machine. I see the older gent who loves to go low to the ground and can’t get up without help. I laugh every time. There are so many familiar faces.
I look around and see people deep in a shared bliss. We are caught and pulled and controlled like puppets on a string. We acquiesce to the music. Sometime in the evening the music and the dancing meld together. The musicians are caught up with the dancers and we all are one. There is no competition. There is only this community connected with love and good will. The room is fully synced to the powerful music. The stress and worries of life do not exist here on our dance floor.
Dance therapy has once again worked its magic. Until we rock again! With love and gratitude,
James and Donna Strand