Letters to the Editor | July 4 edition

Readers write in about Abbot Tryphon and President Joe Biden


The meaning of pride

Like many on Vashon, I have been horrified by Fr. Tryphon’s recent display of bigotry and hatred.

As you pointed out in your excellent June 13 editorial, the word “pride” has two meanings. Fr. Tryphon has chosen, either willfully or ignorantly, to conflate the kind of pride that is the opposite of shame with the kind of pride that means arrogance and haughtiness.

GLBTQ pride is clearly the first type, a communal shedding of shame and claiming of self-respect.

Those who quote passages from the Hebrew Bible to justify their own narrow-mindedness often have no knowledge of Hebrew, a language that couldn’t be more different from English. No English translation of the Hebrew Bible has come close to conveying the nuances of Biblical Hebrew.

Three Hebrew words in Proverbs are commonly translated as “pride”: ga’on, zadon, and ga’avah. All three mean haughtiness and arrogance, not self-respect.

When Fr. Tryphon and others go around spouting poorly understood biblical passages to condemn others, I think they are guilty of haughtiness and arrogance.

Alice Bloch

Keep the island welcoming

It’s a sad reflection of the times when someone supported by the island for over thirty years turns on our Vashon community.

We remember when two men in robes first came to the island. We watched over the years as they built on donated land and acquired more, establishing their brand and successfully marketing their products. Now we learn they have used their platform to violate our privacy and that of our friends and neighbors on YouTube.

Southern Poverty’s yearly report, The year in Hate and Extremism 2023, names Anti-LGBTQ hate groups as leading the number of hate groups in Washington State. This organization fits that category. Abbot Tryphon published videos on social media with personally identifiable information and rhetoric without permission for his own purposes.

It is worth looking closely at the Russian Orthodox Church.

There are 12 places of worship listed in The Beachcomber and others not listed but well represented in the community. We don’t all share the same beliefs. We don’t all vote for the same party. But we shop at the same stores, go to the same movies, enjoy beaches and parks. Our kids play together at the library or in the skate park and swim together in the summer.

There is something special about living here. The island has been a welcoming place. Let’s make sure it stays that way.

Nick and Linda Bonazza


LBJ shows how Biden could withdraw

Joe Biden is too old and infirm to run this country. That fact was made painfully clear to anyone who watched the debate hosted by CNN last Thursday night.

Biden’s performance at the podium demonstrated beyond a doubt that he is incapable of defeating Donald Trump at the polls in November and more importantly, he is incapable of leading this country to a stable, confident future.

That said, there is no reason for Biden to resign his presidency. What he must do, however, is withdraw his name from the November ballot and clear the way for the Democratic Party to select a candidate who is capable of representing their values, meeting the challenge of winning this election, and steering America with confidence and brilliance for the next four years.

I have no idea whether Democrats can find a suitable candidate to replace Biden, but I do know the honorable way for him to bow out.

In 1968, I watched then-President Lyndon Johnson take a courageous step back from his own political future. In a remarkable address to the nation, Johnson explained how the challenges to his presidency, including the Vietnam War, were simply too great, and too important, for him to waste any of his time and energy on a vigorous campaign.

Johnson said in part: “With our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office, the presidency of your country.”

It was a remarkable national address and a solemn personal sacrifice. Please take time to view it online here: tinyurl.com/LBJwithdraw.

Pres. Johnson has provided a template for Pres. Biden’s own honorable withdrawal as a candidate. There’s nothing dishonorable about getting old, but it’s time for Biden to let go of the keys.

John van Amerongen


Try a boycott

The UN behaves like a lot of people I know. They don’t want to do anything about anything.

People decline to talk about politics. They don’t want to hear it, whatever it is. They’ll remain that way until our government becomes a little more oppressive and throws them out on the street or in some crappy jail. Then they’ll have plenty to say.

The UN will, of course, talk politics. But it says the same ineffective things over and over and over. It wants to just talk, talk, talk. It talks about the Israel/Palestine conflict, saying Israel should do this and Hamas should do that, over and over and over.

What needs to be done can be demonstrated by an anecdote. In sixth grade, I noticed a boy in my class was bullying younger kids. I told him to stop. The next time he started to abuse one of the younger kids, I knocked him down. That was the end of his bullying.

I’m not saying the UN is supposed to knock someone down. I’m saying it’s time to actually do something, and Israel is the bully. Israel does not care about words. Words have no effect on them. So, since Israel is the more dominant of the two, the UN should impose a total boycott of Israel, possibly working with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It was a boycott that brought down apartheid in South Africa. I think it’s the only sane way forward.

Do I have to say that this strategy should include the U.S. not sending Israel any more weapons (the largest stumbling block)? Could someone convince Biden that a day without killing Palestinian children is a good idea?

An alternative is for 50 countries to invade Israel to disarm them, but considering that they have atomic weapons, it’s a very bad idea.

Otherwise we’ll spend the next hundred years listening to UN guys and gals saying that Israel ought to do this, and Hamas ought to do that. It’s boring and it’s dopey.

So try a boycott — you might like it.

Shelley Simon