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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Jan. 7-13

Your parents and grandparents need you now

To the Editor:

Our seniors have been stepping up for years to serve this community. We need our leaders to return the help.

The Town Board should be exerting all their efforts to creating a comprehensive plan to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are eligible. This means dealing with the state, the county and private drug chains. This means supporting Senior Services, particularly as it tries to set up an inoculation center here for a population with economic, vision and computer issues.

This is survival. When people feel safe again, the board can focus on town landings. Your parents and grandparents were once saved by the Greatest Generation. Now it’s your turn.

CHRIS LEWIS, President, Shelter Island Senior Citizens Foundation

The story

To the Editor:

Today the breaking news, the only crucial news, on Shelter Island is the virus. It’s changed the lives of everybody here. And every business. Yet, for reasons I don’t understand, it’s barely covered by the Reporter

Positives are soaring here. According to the county, the number, as I write, is 33. By the time you publish this, it could be half a dozen more. What’s more, our police chief warns that’s probably an undercount.

How’s it spreading? Who’s positive?  Who’s getting sick? Is there a cluster of infections? How many calls to 91l? What’s the ambulance doing? How stressed are our doctors? Our nearby hospitals?

Let’s get on the story.


Editor’s Note: See:

The Reporter will continue to bring up-to date vaccine information to our readers.

Fueled by conspiracy

To the Editor:

Our Congressman Lee Zeldin, played a role in inciting the mob that raided our Capitol Jan. 6 and must step down.

The violence we witnessed on television and through the mob’s own social media accounts — including images of the Confederate flag and shirts that read “Camp Auschwitz” and 6MWE (six million wasn’t enough) inside the halls of our Capitol — was the culmination of years of building anger fueled by conspiracy theories and nationalistic identity politics. It was stoked by representatives like our very own Lee Zeldin and his perpetuation of the faulty grade school logic that if their side didn’t win, it absolutely must be because of fraud or some kind of malfeasance.

In fact, it was a fraud so perfect that with surgical precision, the Democrats stole the presidency from Donald Trump, while losing House seats, key Senate races and state house majorities on the very same ballots.


And while Zeldin denounced the violence at the Capitol as norms required, it’s the unrelenting campaign of dog whistles he participates in that brought the rioters there. Zeldin is self-serving, duplicitous, unprincipled and downright dangerous. We’d be far better off without him as our representative. Want to see how Zeldin has voted throughout his tenure? Visit leezeldinrecord.com, complete with notations and references.

HEATHER REYLEK, ALEX HU, chairperson & vice chairperson, Shelter Island Democrats

A pitchfork as a flagpole

To the Editor:

We have seen it used in many ways. Because of the values it represents, we burn it, wear it, hang it right-side up and up-side down, and even sideways. With it, we cover the coffin of our heroes, display it, use it to signify buildings and institutions serving public needs — for all of these purposes.

But our flag is not only a physical object, it surpasses into the symbolic. It represents a nation and its peoples, their values and pride.

Are we allowed to desecrate our American flag?

An image of the U.S. Capitol building, a place of heritage and the future, was the backdrop for a human figure carrying a humble agricultural tool, a pitchfork. Sharp prongs held vertically, the handle functioned as a support for the Stars and Stripes.  A pitchfork as a flagpole in a sea of malevolence.

“American Gothic” by Grant Woods, shows two figures, which the artist intended to represent traditional Midwestern American values. In this image the pitchfork is the composition’s centerpiece, not threatening harm, but representing success and industry. The man and woman are designated as survivors.

Given this contrast of mental impressions, a pitchfork symbolizing peaceful achievement versus a pitchfork as a weapon, we question our future in the midst of our pain.


Zeldin has failed

To the Editor:

Lee Zeldin must go.

He showed his disregard for the Constitution by first acknowledging he would support the nullification of the Electoral College votes. As if that was not bad enough, even after the storming of the Capitol by those attempting a coup, he continued to vote with them, thus offering them his support of their actions.

Some might have chosen to overlook his initial choice of voting with Hawley, Cruz, et al., but by continuing to vote with those fomenting an overthrow after their violent actions, he became as guilty as they are.

Mr. Zeldin, step down. You have failed all of your constituents.


Critical thinking

To the Editor:

On January 6, we suffered a terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol incited by non other than the president of this nation, along with the aid of much propaganda and conspiracy theories, creating many parallels to how the Nazi’s were able to come into power in the 1930s.

Didn’t we learn from that experience? Apparently not, considering that the president has been dignifying conspiracy theorists for quite some time to take advantage of the naive and gullible, getting them angry and paranoid to manipulate them into attacking their own people.

Make no mistake about this uprising: They do mean civil war against us to exchange democracy for authoritarianism. The individuals that attacked us, as well as the people sympathetic towards them, are so far out of touch with reality that it may be impossible to undo the damage that’s been done, but we have to try, if that means shaming them or reasoning with them, whatever it takes to get them back into reality.

It’s nice to see so many Republicans finally listening to their consciences and coming out against this guy, but where were their consciences four years ago when we could have nipped this in the bud? All the signs were there for everyone to see. When someone is appealing to your fears and prejudices, that’s when you know you’re being manipulated. To avoid being fooled again, study critical thinking, learn the epistemology of what you think you believe. 

If the Republican Party wants to regain the respect and trust of the people, they need to completely cut ties with Trump, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and focus on what traditionally Republicans were good at, like economics and fiscal responsibility. Until then, the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves, but of Trump, who corrupted minds, incited violence and turned the land of the free into the land of the angry, ignorant and racist.

Renounce him and help prevent bloodshed and division.

United we stand.

JOSEPH DENNY, Shelter Island


To the Editor:

So, we have Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” and then we have the Epiphany, or Little Christmas, or the day the Three Wise Men arrive.

In my house it is the day we de-Christmas. And, actually 12 days after Christmas, and that is always January 6. Lots of 12’s in our lives.

The new 12 in my little world is the 12 pages of “The Inlet.”

Congratulations to the staff of this Shelter Island High School publication.

After reading every word, I have high hopes that there will never be another January 6, 2021, but the scars of this day are going to take some time to go away.

There are some very bright, intelligent students coming out of that little school. A strong sign of hope.

As Kate Smith sang, “God bless America, stand beside her and guide her.” In my mind it should be the new National Anthem.

And thank you, Paul Shepherd, for your wonderful letter.