Letters to the Editor

Reflections in an election year

To the Editor:

Beginning a new year during a cold winter, and an election year, I find myself soulful and introspective. 

Thinking about my life I realize how it was defined by war. I was born during the Korean War, where my father spent over a year once again engaged in war, leaving my mother to struggle with three young children, two of whom were babies. Much research, and criticism, has emerged around the negative impact of single parenting without remembering how many of us were so parented during various wars.

Being an Army “brat,” I spent five years of my early school age living first in Paris, France, and then Tokyo, Japan, two cities still recovering from WWII. My family returned to the U.S. during the civil rights struggle, marked by frightening news images, especially for someone who had been living in apolitical, diverse communities for years without the benefit of television news. I came of age in the sixties, the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War. Amid violent protests, friends talked about the draft and escaping to Canada, and Army brats had divided loyalties. As my father went to war in Vietnam, I struggled to find common ground.

As a young mother, my children grew up during the Iran hostage crisis, the Middle East hot spot that has only grown hotter with time. We’ve lived through the invasions of Iraq, the 9/11 horror and the Afghanistan War. I prayed my sons would never have to go to war.

I watch the news interrupted by another school shooting, and I am aware of how many stories like this I have watched. Beginning with Columbine over 20 years ago I continually try to make sense of it. Trying to make sense as our country becomes divided over the right to own weapons of war, a woman’s right to own her body, and everyone’s right to marry the one they love. I am aware of how our children, and our grandchildren, are living through the threat of terror attacks in their own schools, once a place of safety.

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Last fall a new speaker of the house was elected after much chaos in the Republican Party. Matt Gaetz calls him “MAGA Mike” and while Mr. Johnson’s demeanor is pleasant, his loyalty to Donald Trump is without question. Meanwhile Ukraine continues defending itself in a war perpetrated by Russia and once again terror emerges in Israel. Terror and fear surround us and the Republican Party turns a blind eye, using it for leverage.

Almost 20 years ago Donald Trump emerged and began using the country’s divide to amass control. His power continues to grow even as we have become aware of his desire to overthrow the Constitution and lead the country out of a personal need for loyalty. For those who can’t, or won’t, pledge their loyalty he vows revenge. Trump’s words are beyond disturbing.

So, another year, and I continue trying to make sense of it all. Wondering how we will come together as a country before we all become numb to, and worse uncaring of, the terror in our own United States.

War has defined much of human history. It has defined much of my history. I don’t wish this for my grandchildren, and I especially don’t wish this for my country. Praying for peace in 2024. Peaceful candidates, peaceful elections, peaceful outcomes.

Margaret Pickett


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