This era too will pass
The Salem Witch Hysteria of 1692 was a haunting event in American history. Late 17th-century colonial New England was a time of superstition, intolerance, and literalism.
A remarkable work of American literature is Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” It probes these many angles. Readers will know the play is also an allegory for the McCarthy Red Scare hearings of the mid-20th century.
In the Providence Schools, we teach both the 1692 event and the play. We point out the parallels between the events of 1692 and c. 1950. The formidable Miller himself was called before a hostile committee, but refused to testify or condone its procedures.
At the high point of “The Crucible,” John Proctor (powerfully played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film version) refuses to be an accomplice to accusations. Prodded by the tribunal’s judge to just go along, Proctor cries out, “Because it is My Name! Because I cannot have another in my life!”
I think new “Crucible” parallels are playing out right now in the impeachment, trial, and state party censure votes.
I also think the 10 Republican representatives and 7 senators who stood up and declined to condone insurrection are our John Proctors. The parallel isn’t pure because he wouldn’t sign, but you did. Nonetheless, a vivid comparison is there. Finally, just as McCarthyism abruptly ended, the present era too will pass. In the meantime, well done, and, by all means, you have Your Name!
William C. Rives, Providence
The writer is a history teacher at Providence Career and Technical Academy.
Time for damage control
To the mayors who have called for the resignation of Gov. Gina Raimondo:
Governor Raimondo is leaving the governor’s office. She is not leaving the political arena; she is moving up to assume the powerful Cabinet position of secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Should you be concerned? Well, if your municipality has no intention of applying for federal grants, go ahead and continue burning bridges.
On the other hand, you may be planning to apply for federal grants to support various municipal projects. In that case you can make your congressional representatives and your grant’s coordinator’s job much easier by not sparking an abrasive relationship with the person who will determine the fate of your application. It seems likely that the federal government will be further stimulating the economy by funding jobs creating public-work projects. There will be a national competition for that grant money.
You should know that much of the federal money to support municipal public-works projects will come from The Economic Development Administration (EDA). Check your “Federal Register.” The EDA is a division under the control of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The secretary of the Department of Commerce will be…? That’s right, Gina Raimondo. Do not provoke the alligator until after you have crossed the stream. Need I say more?
Ernest E. Ricci, North Providence
Trump contributed to death of his supporters
Of all the heinous things Donald Trump did during his presidency, some of the most grievous things that he did were indirectly linked to the deaths of many of his elderly supporters.
By downplaying the threats of the virus and not wearing a mask, he might as well have acted as a gravedigger for these unfortunate souls. How many times did we have to see grieving children explain that the only thing their parent did wrong in their lives was listen to and believe Mr.Trump?
I would like to know what empathy he had for these deceased. Probably as much as he showed for the “losers and suckers” who died in the two World Wars.
Gerry Griffin, Rumford
Let’s get down to business in RI, not DC
Despite mine or others’ political views on the recent impeachment issues which we knew would acquit former President Trump, I learned that Little Rhody is number 50 in vaccine distribution. Hearing this, I realized that instead of being in D.C. and doing ALL they could to expedite more vaccine for Rhody, all the members of our congressional delegation in Washington were fighting a losing battle against the Twittermaster Trump, and Congressman Cicilline was up front trying to enhance his image as was Congressman Langevin, Senator Whitehouse and, sadly Senator Reed.
All that time and money for naught when we have more serious problems to attend to here and they are down there fluffing their feathers.
Speaking as an independent, I can’t wait to vote in the future, and to all my fellow voters it’s time for term limits and quit making millionaire lawmakers.
And it’s time for Gina and her No. 50 to resign and let Dan McKee take her place with hopes he picks a bipartisan lieutenant governor.
David J. Robitaille Sr., Warwick
One size of minimum wage does not fit all
I understand it is difficult, likely impossible, to live on the minimum wage. It was never intended to be a living wage. It is the minimum, not the average or the norm. It is for entry-level, untrained people entering the work force in low-skill jobs. It should be temporary, increased after training.
I know this is harsh, but I don’t know a gentle way of saying it; anyone permanently in a minimum-wage job really needs more than a pay raise. They need to reevaluate their lives, because any mandated pay increase will only be a temporary fix. They need to do something if they want a permanent solution.
A national solution out of Washington is not going to work. Why? Because it is a big country. Different areas of this country need wages that reflect their local economy. For some areas, $15 may be high, but it is useless in California. There, housing costs are so high that 50,000 homeless live on L.A.’s streets. Many of them are working but unable to afford housing. California is already at $14-an-hour minimum. There you need at least $25 per hour to survive.
The normal solution has been action of the state legislatures; they set what is needed for their state. My guess is that no state on either coast is at the current federal minimum, which is $7.25. Florida is close, at $8.26, but planning to gradually increase to $15. R.I. is currently at $11.25, and I expect it will, and should, increase.
But forcing the entire country to go to $15 in one step will create more problems than it solves. People working for $15 to $20 dollars an hour are also going to expect a pay increase. They are not untrained and entry-level, so they reasonably expect to make more than minimum wage.
Biagio Trofa, North Providence
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Opinion/Letters: ‘The Crucible’ and the impeachment of Trump