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A MONUMENTAL MISSION
Karen Witter's cover story truly captured the spirit and nature of what June and Edem Agamah are striving to deliver in Agbozume ("Changing lives in Ghana and Springfield," Nov. 18). Thank you for taking time to fully understand their work and sharing with central Illinois this mission. By opening the eyes of many, I suspect it will help the Agamahs, and for that matter, all of us. Well done and well- written article.
Keith Wichterman, MD
CHANGE THE NAME
Mary Bohlen's excellent review of the insightful book by Kate Moore, The Woman They Could Not Silence, reminds us that our presumably enlightened nation has had for centuries a sordid history to treat cruelly countless categories of people ("Insane treatment of women," Nov. 11). We always seem to come up with rationalizations to oppress, deprive and strip of dignity those we perceive as different, nonconformist or simply unsavory. The true age of enlightenment and exceptionalism for the U.S. will come when we no longer do this to our fellow brothers and sisters, both here and abroad.
A good start for our area would be, as Bohlen suggests, to "scrub away" the name of Dr. Andrew McFarland from the Springfield mental health center that bears his name. I definitely came away aghast at what McFarland did to Elizabeth Packard and hundreds of others in his charge at the Jacksonville institution in the mid-1800s. Whatever positive contributions McFarland may have made to psychiatry notwithstanding, he was a cruel, detached and devious man, who was oblivious to the suffering he caused to so many.
A Springfield institution that exists to help those in need should honor a worthwhile figure. Both Bohlen and Moore have made the perfect case for the name change to the Elizabeth Packard Mental Health Center.
Eli Goodman, MD
ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
The editor's note about young journalists spells out exactly why journalism is considered a great enemy of the people ("Nov. 18). Fletcher Farrar states that they are in it to make a difference and quotes Pope Francis as saying journalists embark on a mission. That's the problem. They see their mission as converting peoples' minds to their political views through bias, innuendo and downright lies. Their mission should be to tell the truth. Unfortunately, they have been taught by teachers who were trained to hate the United States and to promote socialism and racial divide.
We've been through a period of riot and rancor, of loves, lives and labor lost. With all that has happened, what can we be thankful for?
Those of us who remain hale and hearty can take comfort in the fact that we have vaccines against COVID that are safe, effective and freely available. Only a fool would refuse such a valuable gift.
We can be thankful for the astounding diversity of life on our planet. Go for a walk in the woods, or even in your own backyard, and see for yourself how complex and amazing the natural world is. You might have to look closely, but there's a lot to appreciate. All of us would suffer if this intricate fabric of life were to fall apart.
And we can be grateful that the principles of democracy are still strong in our hearts, so that someday soon they may be instilled in our leadership as well. All of us are already blessed, and all we have to do is realize it.