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Letter: Community needs

In response to Arthur Harwood’s letter I am saddened and frustrated to read another personal attack on Al Norman or on anyone. This method of conversing is counter-productive even when concluded by a disclaimer like “I do not want you to misunderstand …” I do not know Mr. Norman, but I do know that he is not “sitting idly by” thinking he is “something special.” Like so many he is studying, researching, communicating and, in the dire wee hours, straining to surface the truth about what effects price-competitive mega stores might actually have on a small, vulnerable town.

Some 20 years ago, Steve Alves created a brilliant documentary called “Talking to the Wall.” It was about disclosing the most hidden, most treacherous facts about Walmart. His tireless research revealed how the Walmart Corp., moves on a community, shmoozes with selectmen, tantalizes developers, manipulates, cajoles and “legalizes” their squeeze into a trusting town. A few years later, accurately demonstrated by the film, main street is a ghost town, a wetland is paved, and the impoverished are worse off than ever. No one seems to know what hit them.

You can witness this all over the Midwest, in fact, everywhere. Innocent populations have been exploited by giant corporate outlets, just try to deny this. And consider the actual cost of any particular discounted item; the misery of sweatshop labor in Southeast Asia; the contamination of thousands of acres of Oregon by herbicidal monocultures producing cheap apples of negligible nutritional value; the sacrifice of meaningful jobs like local, organic farming for stagnant, brain emptying obedience work under continual scrutiny, wresting hours of a life in exchange for minimal wages and laughable benefits.

If your family’s economy is desperate buy bulk. Seek high nutritional gain over empty calories. Shop the Salvation Army for excellent quality while contributing to a great cause. Carpool. Go to the Games Night at Hope and Olive. Nix Netflix and get a movie from the library. Bike. Go to Freebay, the swap shack, trade with neighbors. We can work together — we don’t need to destroy to get our needs met.

SONNY CRAWFORD

Disabled vet

Charlemont

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