Issue 502 | Correspondence | The Sun Magazine


I felt cheated when I saw that the August 2017 issue, your five hundredth, mostly consisted of excerpts going back to 1974 [“One Nation, Indivisible”]. As a longtime reader, I didn’t want a rehash of old material.

Boy, was I wrong. The section is amazing and gives me courage to face the difficulties our country is experiencing.

Sandy Pence Kangas Menominee, Michigan

After reading your August 2017 issue, I feel guilty for all the things I haven’t done since the sixties to help prevent our current political situation. I promise to try harder so that the outcome of the next election will be different.

Cal Schmidt Homer, Alaska

Is it possible you compiled forty-plus years of your magazine’s political writing without any mention of the AIDS crisis? Surely the deaths of more than 35 million people worldwide — which had a profound impact on activism, art, healthcare, and foreign policy — merit a place in this discussion of our democracy.

I’m saddened, but perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. Many who survived those years have written about the silence surrounding the deaths of their friends and families. To include this history would have helped to, as you’ve said, “remind us how much we’ve been through.” To ignore it brings to mind your second point: “how far we still have to go.”

Sam Collier Chicago, Illinois

Imagine my surprise when I found your five-hundredth issue contained twenty-nine pages of rehashed old crap from prior issues. Are you really so lazy as to fill it with essentially nothing? I’m not even going to get into the deplorable, partisan content of the recycled writing you have foisted on your readership.

William Mann Telford, Pennsylvania

Wendy Hill’s essay “Archaeology” [August 2017] was moving, especially this line: “It was the first day of the best year of our marriage, and the first day of our last year together.”

John Bridges Quincy, Illinois

I rarely cry, but Wendy Hill’s “Archaeology” made me realize I’m still an empathetic person. When she thought she’d lost the only recording of her children’s deceased father, I was right there with her: tightness in my chest, throat closing up, panic. Thank you for sharing such a poignant essay.

Gerry L. Cofield Woodland, Alabama

Usually when I read Sparrow’s essays, I think, “How true!” and laugh. When I read “See You at the Impeachment” [August 2017], I thought, “How true!” and cried.

Mary Zelinka Albany, Oregon

As a subscriber for more than twenty years, I have watched with alarm and dismay as my beloved Sun grows more strident in its desperate attempt to discredit Donald Trump. I empathize with reader Jerry Cothran, who expressed his disappointment [Correspondence, August 2017] with Anthony Varallo’s essay on the “unacceptable” democratic election of Trump [“That Night, That Morning,” May 2017]. The Sun has not always been this biased.

I am relieved that U.S. citizens put an end to a regime of corruption, lies, and illegal activities, and am encouraged by the exposure of the mainstream media’s ongoing agenda. As a liberal Independent, I fear the Democratic Party has dug its own grave.

I could write more, but I’m afraid that 95 percent of Sun readers have probably closed their minds and committed themselves to hatred.

Libby Hewes San Diego, California

Richard A. Leo describes asking his undergraduate students to raise their hands if they were in favor of the death penalty, even if it meant an innocent person would be executed [“The Whole Truth,” interview by Mark Leviton, July 2017]. I wonder how many hands would still be raised if he had followed that question with Bill Rowlings’s quote from that issue’s Sunbeams: “Imagine for a moment that it’s you locked behind bars, innocent.”

C.C. Calton-Couch Gatesville, Texas

It pained me when Richard A. Leo said, “In what universe do rapists wear condoms?” The sorry truth is that it’s this universe.

Less than ten years ago, women in Kansas City, Missouri, lived in fear of the so-called Waldo Rapist, a man who wore a condom and forced his victims to bathe after his assaults so as not to leave any DNA evidence behind.

Gina Enfranca Kansas City, Missouri

Eaton Hamilton’s essay “Skinning the Rabbit” [July 2017] was both beautifully written and difficult to read. The cruelty Hamilton endured — witnessing the beheading of animals, the skinning of rabbits, and the loss of her beloved cow — made me respect this resilient little girl. Humans often fail to realize that the animals we kill have emotions, families, and societies much like our own.

Anita Biers Washington, Pennsylvania

Despite the challenge of reading Rachel Weaver’s “Dizzy” [July 2017] with an IV in each arm, I was touched by her essay, which echoed my own encounters with doctors who don’t know what is wrong with you.

The doctor administering my IV treatment is a naturopath. In my experience naturopaths, perhaps because they are less revered, are more willing to accept the limits of their knowledge and actually listen to their patients.

I don’t entirely blame medical doctors for their unwillingness to listen. I suspect we do MDs a disservice by subjecting them to grueling schedules as students and residents. The process is dehumanizing and often produces physicians with a great knowledge of the body but a limited capacity for empathy.

Daniela N. Molnar Portland, Oregon

Your interviews with Sera Davidow [“An Open Mind,” by Tracy Frisch, April 2017] and Maia Szalavitz [“Hooked,” by Arnie Cooper, June 2017] could not have come at a better time. Following a messy divorce and career change, I felt raw and lost. I kept my struggles private, confiding only in counselors. Then I spent three months living with a nonjudgmental friend, and I unexpectedly shared with him my anger and sadness at the demise of my marriage. Since then my spirits have risen. I have also begun smoking marijuana, which helps me let go of my need to be in control.

Davidow helped me make peace with my decision not to seek prescription medication and encouraged my sense of self-worth. Szalavitz showed I’m not needy for wanting human contact and put my occasional marijuana use into perspective. I’m not an addict and don’t deserve to be jailed for smoking pot and doing yoga on my day off.

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