Men in blue

In my opinion, our men in BLUE lives matter too!

Alan Winans

Hood River

Flat Earthers

On Jan. 6, thousands of angry protesters stormed the Capitol carrying signs labeled “Stop The Steal” and chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” We all saw the videos proudly posted by the same people who carried the signs and nooses, committed the violence, and broke the law. Former President Trump has repeatedly referred to those who threatened the life of his vice president as great patriots and “loving and peaceful.”

This week, it was disheartening to listen to several Capitol police officers share their experiences from Jan. 6. Most were brought to tears by their accounts. One officer stated that he was more afraid that day than any time during his tour in Iraq. A second officer spoke about being called the N-word on multiple occasions by those at the “love fest.” A third officer put the deniers and obstructors on blast stating they “claim that they are pro-law enforcement, pro-police, pro law and order. Then yet when they had the chance and the opportunity to do something about it, to hold people accountable, (they) don’t.”

Within days of the Jan. 6 insurrection, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on President Donald Trump to “accept his share of responsibility” for the violence that overtook the U.S. Capitol and urged Republicans to accept that Joe Biden is the next leader of the nation.This week McCarthy claimed that if his lackeys cannot be part of the committee looking into the insurrection, nothing valid can come from it.

Six hundred years ago, people claimed Christopher Columbus would sail right off the end of the flat world. The Earth was round no matter how strongly people denied the truth. No amount of conspiracy theories or illegal violence is going to change the 2020 election results or turn insurrectionists into lawful U.S. citizens.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Democracy opposed

A shorter letter this time. I highly recommend, I implore, that everybody reading this go and watch the testimony of D.C and Capitol Police officers that were on duty on Jan. 6.

Anybody who knows me knows that there’s a little love lost between me and the institution of law enforcement in this country, but in this situation the police were defending our Capitol, and by extension, our democracy, from those who sought to disrupt that process and install a dictator.

The officers recount the whole day, and the violence that they endured which included being dog piled upon, being dragged to the ground and punched repeatedly, having their gas masks used as a lever to slam their head against a door repeatedly. More than once these officers spoke about fearing for their lives. Paradoxically, whilst attacking the officers (under the Blue Lives Matter banner no less), the terrorists repeatedly demanded that the officers switch sides, that they were on the wrong side of history, and that they should give the terrorists their batons and armor. Some didn’t even ask and instead stole the batons and shields and used them as weapons against the officers.

The Republican party, writ large, through its tacit endorsement, post hoc rationalizations and excuses have revealed themselves to be a party of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers; they are aggressively opposed to democracy, and are more than willing to give this country over to an authoritarian dictator.

I will say it again, and again, and again, as long as it takes to make the Republican party irrelevant: They are a party of terrorists.

I apologize if this is too spicy of a take for some people, but how can a democracy survive if one of the two major parties is opposed to democracy?

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Editor’s Note: Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

Change needed

On a flight from Detroit to Portland, I am in a window seat where I have always chosen to sit since childhood, overlooking the vast and incredible landscapes of our country. Today, the view is obscured almost entirely by a thick layer of smoke from beginning to end — our beloved Oregonian forests blanketing the sky in smoke and ash.

The Earth has changed from a verdant patchwork to a brown, parched color. The once flowing rivers have dwindled to a trickle since my childhood. Sadly, our greed is killing our beautiful planet. People don’t want to deal with the hard stuff, the fact that in 250 years the human population will go from 1 billion to 9 billion people — people who want stuff and don’t want to change how they live.

If you think who you vote for doesn’t matter, or that voter suppression doesn’t matter, please think again and try watching news programs and Twitter feeds you’re not comfortable with. We all need to know how and why things are happening as they are and who is influencing our beliefs, so seeing all sides is important.

We must heal our divisions in this country. It’s a matter of life or death, democracy vs. autocracy. There is a difference in our two parties — a vast difference.

One has few policies to help humans and the planet and pledges fealty to a known criminal and the other is working to get health care for all, better education for all, voting rights for all and a cleaner, healthier planet for all. The choice is clearer when we leave our bubbles and listen to all sides. Do we want to live or die? Do we want civil war or peace?

Please people, if we are really pro-life, things must change and soon.

Sarah Bellinson

Hood River

More buses

Are you noticing more and more purple CAT buses around the Gorge? It’s not your imagination! Since 2018, the Hood River County Transportation District has transformed Columbia Area Transit (CAT) from a limited dial-a-ride service to daily fixed-route services within Hood River, Cascade Locks, Odell-Parkdale and along the Gorge to Multnomah Falls, Portland, and The Dalles. Seasonal services take riders to Mount Hood and across the Columbia River.

CAT buses are for everyone, locals and visitors alike! You can find your bus stop and route on our website ridecatbus.org, or use a regular navigation app, selecting bus/transit rather than driving directions.

It’s affordable: Single local rides are just $1; trips to Portland are $10; and kids under 11 ride for free with any paying passenger. Or, our GOrge pass provides unlimited rides on all CAT busses and our neighboring Gorge-area transit systems for just $30 through Dec. 31, 2021. Purchase GOrge Passes by downloading the Token Transit app and selecting GOrge Pass, or in person at the CAT Office at 224 Wasco Loop in Hood River.

Our fixed-route system is flexible, too: You can flag a bus down from a safe place if you see a bus coming and you can’t find a bus stop. The driver will pick you up. Likewise, you can request your own stop to get off along a route if we’re passing by your destination. All our buses have bike racks, are wheelchair accessible, and have Wi-Fi. And kids 11 and up can ride without an adult.

We also continue to provide door-to-door services on weekdays within Hood River County, with priority service to seniors, people with disabilities, and others with extra mobility needs. (Call 541-386-4202 to schedule.)

Transit service not only enhances accessibility and mobility, it’s key to the long-term livability of the Gorge area. Working with the City of Hood River and other area partners, CAT is conserving area resources, reducing parking headaches and traffic congestion, and preventing environmental degradation by getting more riders out of their cars and onto the bus. CAT can take you where you’re going. When will you hop on?

Lara Dunn

Board chair, Columbia Area Transit

Hood River

Respectful approach

We have read suggestions from well-intentioned men how we are to ask for forgiveness but ignorant of the procedure. Who are we to ask forgiveness from? “The” g-o-d?

Allow me this which you will not accept for it is from “The Scriptures.” If you have not studied ”The Scriptures” in order to learn HOW to approach the Divine Being that is revealed in these Hebrew books you are simply talking to yourself. No one is listening unless you have your own g-o-d.

Just because our righteous g-o-d loving (when you want something) society says everyone may simply call on the g-o-d (when you’re in trouble) does not make it so. How do I have the audacity to suggest that when someone is praying or asking forgiveness from “the g-o-d” no one is actually listening? How? It is simple, there is no respect. You would learn and apply more respect when approaching the Queen. Put on your best clothing. Respect would force you to learn the procedure that allows you to approach her. There are proper rituals. There is absolutely no respect shown or intended when you simply mouth the word g-o-d and demand and expect and know you have forgiveness.

How do I know this? I read “The Scriptures.” The Divine Being that is revealed in these “Books” purposely stays hidden from men. Much effort is demanded and required in order to approach the Heavenly Father.

Understand that you don’t go directly to the Father but through the Son. Do you know the Son? He is the only mediator between humans and the Father. Do you profess the Son before people? If not he will not profess you before his Father.

What is the very first ingredient needed to approach the “Divine Being” with respect and be accepted? Circumcision. Circumcision of the foreskin? No of course not. Circumcision of you. Removing the flesh but a much more powerful and elusive part of the flesh. Your attitude…your opinion. How is this circumcision performed? With a two edged sword also known as the Written Word. Knowledge and respect before forgiveness.

Gary Fischer

The Dalles

True dictatorship

If Trump ever retained any power, he would keep that place as president for him and his family, look at other dictatorships!

This would be without any vote of the people. This is what you would call a dictatorship.

Trump would take all of our freedoms, even the freedom I have to write this letter.

Trump wants power over all the free world, through him and his family with dictatorship.

I’m very proud of the United States of America. United means together!

Steve Cochenour

The Dalles

Running on Empty

Lace up your running shoes. We bend before the starting line, a race for our lives, our freedom at stake.

The gun cracks, runaway spending increases our cost of living, the agenda slows our nation’s growth. We try to leap over the looming hurdle of inflation, not again! What year is this? We cannot clear it and we crash to ground while the price for gas and groceries goes up and up.

The Democratic mud run is before us, their swampy reconciliation, executive orders and rhetoric divide our country with cries of systemic garbage.

Russia sprints ahead, a new pipeline in their back pocket, they sneak by us hacking as they pass, we are helpless to stop them. Our electrical grids hope they can stay in the race, but they get hacked. The coach calls up gas and oil for backup, they are a no show, eliminated in the trials for the crime of keeping us energy independent. Coach tries the green new deal, they are nowhere in sight and will not compete until 2030. too late to make a difference.

Our schools administrations try to push CRT to the inside, parents jump out of the stands and knock them out of bounds.

We gasp for breath behinds our masks, our bodies fully vaccinated, still not good enough. Children and parents collapse to the ground. China rushes ahead, the dust of COVID kicked up by their feet, they break the tape. We watch as they are awarded the medal of our pacification and greed, as we lay on the track, running on empty again.

Sheilah Nelson

Hood River

Got books?

Once again I am collecting gently used children’s books to distribute to kids age 0 to about 12.

In the past several years, I have delivered them to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, the Warm Springs Library, Boys and Girls Club in Warm Springs, and Celilo Village.

It is time again for me to get books into the hands of kids who may not have books of their own. If you are cleaning out shelves of books your kids have outgrown, give me a call at 541-806-4131. I will be glad to pick them up.

You will be making a lot of kids very happy!

Margaret Guth

Hood River