Not quite successful
The Biden administration and the president continue to claim success in the Afghanistan fiasco. Now we see Taliban riding an American combat Humvee, behind an American machine gun, wearing an American uniform, helmet and night-vision goggles.
Is that a picture of success?
I have seldom read a more contemptuous letter on this page than writer Harry Herget's recent diatribe against all who have chosen not to receive the covid-19 vaccine. From conjuring up his fantasy of hospitals establishing "leper-like" wards for the unvaccinated to labeling them as "terrorists" possessing "the moral baseness of serial killers," the disdain in his missive is nearly palpable. The staff has degraded itself by publishing such vitriol that contributes nothing constructive to the public vaccination discourse.
Mr. Herget apparently exercised his right to give informed consent and has received a covid-19 vaccine. Good for him. It is just and proper that he has the freedom to make that choice. Autonomy in making one's own medical decisions is a fundamental human right. Without it, every person risks being an experimental pawn subject to the whims of medical overlords. But by appointing himself an authoritative arbiter of vaccine truth, Mr. Herget wishes to deny the same right of informed consent he himself has exercised to all others who have weighed the vaccine evidence and found it wanting.
It is certainly possible that one day another viral pathogen will inflict a heavy toll on the U.S. Depending on the quality of vaccine offerings at that time, it is not inconceivable that Mr. Herget just might then find himself on the receiving end of slings and arrows from vaccine proponents.
JIM BARRE JR.
Stop trashing up state
I don't travel around much; I spend most of my time in Pulaski and Saline counties. But, especially in the rural areas I pass through, I see an embarrassing amount of trash along the sides of the roads and around people's homes. I won't address the trash around homes. As they say, a man's home is his junkyard.
But I can't understand why folks have so little regard for their community and state that they thoughtlessly toss beer bottles, chili dogs, Walmart sacks, cigarette butts, etc., etc., out of their vehicles onto the right of way or other people's property. How hard is it to hang a plastic bag around your gear shift lever, put your trash in it and then into your garbage can when you get home? It isn't hard at all; I have been doing it for years.
Please, if you don't care about the cleanliness of Arkansas, have a little regard for those of us that do. Don't litter!
Last Tuesday, state Sen. Jason Rapert tweeted, "Tomorrow morning on the last day of #RoshHashanah2021 ... I will be in federal court in Little Rock fighting these demonic forces who have an incessant demand for the blood of child sacrifice through #Abortion."
Some respondents wondered why on Earth he'd mentioned a Jewish holiday. Israel has liberal abortion laws, they observed. I couldn't help noticing that his inflammatory phrasing invoked the centuries-old false rumor that Jews routinely murdered Christian children to use their innocent blood in religious rituals. This accusation, known as "blood libel," isn't well known unless you're a medievalist or steeped in white-supremacist conspiracy theories. But it was the basis of an awful lot of violence for several centuries.
In 12th-century England, a child went missing in a small city; his corpse was found in a ditch; Jews were wrongly blamed and ultimately executed for the crime. That pattern repeated often in towns across Europe, usually corresponding to a Christian holiday such as Easter and resulting in deadly pogroms. In Chaucer's version, "The Prioress' Tale"--a story so painfully anti-Semitic that it is often left out of modern classroom teaching--Satan lies coiled in the hearts of Jews, waiting to provoke them to deadly violence against an innocent child.
Whether they believed it or not, it was convenient for medieval authorities to blame a religious and ethnic minority when people felt their children weren't kept safe. It's awfully close to modern conspiracy theories that imagine Democrats in general and a certain wealthy Jewish Hungarian as controlling a large child-trafficking operation. That Rapert made a point of mentioning the Jewish New Year alongside "an incessant demand for the blood of child sacrifice" may simply be a clumsy attempt at pandering, but he clearly wants to rile people up. Against whom?
MARY BETH LONG