Letters to the Editor | July 11 edition

More readers write in about Abbot Tryphon, Joe Biden and the Thunderbird Treatment Center.


Island’s response to videos is embarrassing

Wow, Vashon. This is embarrassing.

Islanders claiming that they feel unsafe — when we basically live in a “gated” community where it costs $30 to get across the moat and where many live in million-dollar houses with security systems in place — is completely absurd.

What, exactly, are you afraid of?

There are real problems in the world, immediate threats to people’s survival, but they aren’t here. So islanders imagining that they are unsafe because of a video — that made no threat of violence and didn’t even reference them directly, by the way — is completely insulting to people who live in places where there is real danger. If you perceive your safety to be compromised here, there is nowhere in the world that you will feel safe.

And if you feel unsafe, ask yourself one more question: Would you be experiencing fear right now if you were not active on social media?

If you primarily concern yourself with the tweets of politicians and the reels of old conservative Christians, you should take a pause and ask yourself if perhaps your consumption of social media — with the overlap of news media — is actually the thing that is causing your fear and anxiety, not necessarily the content itself.

Having grown up on the island and then returning to have my own family, I’ve seen a major change in the Vashon culture. It used to be a bunch of hippies and rednecks hanging out together harmoniously — putting our differences aside — and we were proud of our mutual tolerance. Sadly, this would never happen today.

As a bisexual female and resident of Vashon, I feel no threat whatsoever. And as a person with a diverse group of friends that includes Queer and BIPOC individuals, I will tell you that many of them are laughing at how desperately progressive Vashon tries to be, and that they would never move here because the island is too white-guiltily woke.

Yes, Vashon, you can be too woke. And it’s much more damaging to our community than what a monk says on social media.

Camille Spagnoli


Addiction can affect us all

I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach when I saw my island neighbor’s most recent cold-hearted signage against the Thunderbird Treatment Center.

It states that hundreds of “addicts” will be “ferried” to Vashon. This is a particularly hateful statement that creates an “other” and divides our common humanity. Who are these “addicts?” Most people have families, friends, and loved ones who have struggled with addiction.

“Addicts” are people that we know and love. They are islanders themselves. “Addicts” could be me, and they could be you.

I am ashamed of these signs on our island and I hope that the sign-makers will reflect on how their sentiment sounds similar to those that scorn “illegals” or any other category of people not like themselves.

But, I am really writing this letter to everyone who knows and loves someone dealing with addiction: you are welcome here and you are loved. We can do better than this.

With Aloha,

Shana Hirsch


Open letter to Joe Biden

I am an 85-year-old retired engineer from the Boeing Company. My life has been enriched by playing active roles in social justice issues including SANE/FREEZE (now Peace Action), working for proportional representation and ranked choice voting in King County and the state of Washington, harboring Guatemalan refugees at Eastshore Unitarian Church, supporting immigrant detainees and their visitors at the Tacoma Northwest Detention center, taking active roles at the Vashon Island Unitarian Universalists Church near Seattle, and working for both Green Party and Democratic Party positions on important issues.

I feel like I can do everything as before, but I can’t. I walk more slowly with a shorter stride, I need hearing aids to hear conversations, and my short term memory is limited. I sometimes get confused about what is important right now and what can wait. Do you relate to any of this?

My roles have changed to focus on sharing my experiences with those who can take more active roles. As I get older, I have relinquished leadership positions to the younger generation. This is not easy, but our future depends on bringing younger people into leadership positions.

My joy is that my experience is frequently helpful and that the younger generation does listen.

My request to you: Please help the next generation take the lead in saving our Democracy from Mr. Trump. The future belongs to them. You and I must stay on as experienced advisors. They still need us.

Melvin Mackey