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Voices / Letters from readers

We are a nation that has lost its way

The emotions that I am now feeling as I let the reality of the closing of Holton Home sink in are frustration, anger, and a deep sense of sadness.

For several years, I played music at Holton Home and other Brattleboro area elder facilities. Holton Home stood out in its quality of care. I could see it primarily in the eyes of the residents and caregivers.

I’m frustrated and angered because I know why it is closing: because we are a nation that has lost its way. We are a nation that has perfected the art and science of killing — to the point of making weapons of war in almost every town with a population over 500.

The U.S. economy is a war economy. We are in the process of spending $1.7 trillion to build new nuclear weapons, but hardly anybody knows about it, aside from the weapons contractors and the corrupt officials that are feeding them. Our health care system is an expensive shambles, yet decades of inaction go by, and we don’t replace it.

Why not? Because the post-World War II economic concept of guns vs. butter has almost no meaning today. You can’t prioritize one without sacrificing the other. To criticize the military and military spending is political suicide to the politicians and has been for a very long time. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders is far too cautious around the subject.

So there is no money for Holton Home, and it took a pandemic to close it. Maybe the elders (and I’m included) should put their faith in a future anti-aging pill, similar to the faith that our country placed in a future solution to long-term nuclear waste storage.

Daniel Sicken

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Originally published in The Commons issue #663 (Wednesday, May 11, 2022). This story appeared on page C3.

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