Time for ‘good game’
When my son played Little League baseball, after every game, the players of both teams would line up and greet each other with a “good game” greeting. Occasionally you might hear a “congratulations” to the winning teammates. But the after the game practice was “character building.” It taught young kids the acceptance of losing and winning. I also noticed the practice after a Pac-12 football game the other day. The coaches were shaking hands and the players were greeting each other.
Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump the morning after the election in 2016 — yes, on Nov. 9, before ALL the votes were totally counted, to concede and wish him well. President Barack Obama called him and invited him to the White House. These are traditions that all citizens expect.
No, there are no changes in our voting systems since 2016. Had there been real fraud, I’m sure that Jamie Herrera-Beutler, Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Susan Collins nor Lindsey Graham would have won their elections. However, it is a proven fact that if a person like Donald Trump repeats incorrect information like “fraud” — “fake” often enough, his followers will believe it. Trump learned that from the German Nazi, Joseph Goebbels, who said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
There was nothing wrong with our voting process. Almost 80 million American voters just didn’t like Donald Trump’s lack of character. His lying, his mocking of the disabled, his racism, his name-calling, his COVID-19 spreading rallies. And, despite his pledge to every citizen in 2016 that he would be a president for ALL Americans, he continued to divide us between blue and red states.
Now, it is time for real republicans to show some true character and stand up for their country instead of a spoiled 74-year-old golfer. Now, we have a serious opponent to defeat, and unless we work to defeat COVID-19 together, I’m afraid it will take thousands of more lives. Show character. Wear a mask. Thank you.
Creating involved citizens
Wow, this year’s election has really taught us a lot about our country. The Trump presidency and this election has energized us and has shown us just how much every vote counts.
However, If we want a more humane, inclusive and engaged society, teaching more about government in school, from the time kids are young, would help achieve this goal. Sadly it’s estimated that almost half of our citizens cannot name the three branches of government. How can anyone participate in something they don’t understand?
Being a good citizen is an active, not a passive role. We tend to live in our own bubble of people who think as we do, making it incredibly challenging to see the “other’s” point of view. By adding nationally a curriculum exploring what it means to be conservative or liberal, we can go a long way towards healing our divided nation and informing our children of their future role as involved, thoughtful citizens. It will help them to understand the process of governing and our collective responsibility to help our government do its job. Over the last 80 years, these lessons have slowly been eroded from our education system. In seeing where we are heading, one can’t help but wonder if this has been a deliberate and slow undermining of our democracy ... a chilling thought.
That being said, getting involved by joining the Hood River County Democrats or the Hood River Republican party is a good way to learn about government and make your voice heard. New, younger voices are needed to help shape the future of our country. Just electing someone isn’t the end of our work as citizens. Being actively involved is how real democracy gets done. Politicians who won their elections this year did so because of an engaged citizenry that went to work for them and understood what they stand for. You are invited to take on your role as a citizen!
Thanksgiving in spring
It’s been a long year. We’re all exhausted and stressed and restless.
I’m writing to celebrate those amazing produce-selecting kids who work for our local grocery stores: Anthony at Safeway, looking at you! He’s selected consistently excellent produce for our household like a pro ... his Halloween pumpkin selections were “chef’s kiss”! Thank you for helping us stay safe.
(Our local grocery stores do not allow these folks to accept tips. I would like them to please reassess this policy.)
Also, I would like to offer an unsolicited pep talk to everyone who is feeling restless and frustrated with our lockdowns: We have a light at the end of the tunnel! Our job now, job one, is only to live long enough to get a vaccination. You know those tragic stories of soldiers who die on the battlefield after the war has ended? We just need to not do that to each other and ourselves. We’ve already managed nine months of an unprecedented experience — we lived to tell it, those who are reading this — and now we only have another six months or so before we can hug and gather around a noisy table with loved ones again.
So, a modest proposal: Let’s plan on spring Thanksgivings! There is no reason that we cannot — in fact, arguably we should — change Thanksgiving anyhow, what with its troubling roots in the decimation of indigenous people and their cultures. Stay home now, stay safe, have a lovely meal on Thursday, and then hunker down, for the sake of Anthony at Safeway and all our health care providers and essential workers and everyone else who has made this whole nightmare sustainable. Six months will go quickly, we’ve nailed this and can do it, so long as we respect and care enough about each other to do just a few simple things: Wear a mask, stick with your household for now, be safe, and plan an amazing spring menu. Thanksgiving with asparagus! Call Anthony!
Bob Songer, Sheriff of Klickitat County, went to breakfast at a local restaurant where the servers and cooks were required to wash their hands twice after using the toilet, where the food is kept at safe temperatures, and there is a mandated procedure for washing the dishes. He finished his meal, paid for it along with the sales tax on it, and got into his car.
His car properly displayed a license plate fore and aft, and after putting on his seatbelt, he drove on the right hands side of the road, stopping for one of Goldendale’s red lights. He used his turn signals, his brake lights were working properly, and he assumed his horn was in order, although this morning he had no need for it.
The speed limit was 25, and he may have exceeded that by a little, but not much. His driving license, registration, and insurance were all valid and up to date. He stopped for the school crossing guard.
He parked next to the handicapped slot, his normal place. Traffic, such as it was, stopped for him as he walked across the street.
He walked down the hallway to his office, past the fire extinguishers and the employee notices about minimum wages and the time and a half due for overtime, and sat at his desk.
There, he wrote a public statement objecting to government intrusion in our lives, declaring that temporary health measures are unconstitutional, and that he’s not going to enforce them.
A great talk
What a GREAT talk on Wednesday! Jeff and I loved it. If you missed Seth Tibbott’s story, founder of Tofurky, you’re in luck! Mt. Adams Institute will have the replay available for you.
His story is encouraging for entrepreneurs, heartwarming when he talks about the community that supported him (and visa versa), and inspiring when hearing what he does for employees.
A stand-up guy with a great journey and vision.
Thank you, Mt. Adams Institute, for taking over the Sense of Place Lectures. Sarah Fox is a fun and engaging moderator and host (filling well those big shoes of her predecessor).
Visit their website and catch the replay. It was engaging and excellent! (Have your Google search ready for the multiple “on the spot” Jeopardy quiz questions!)
I wonder what you might have for Thanksgiving after listening ...
Fact and fiction
Reading the letter “Emotional election” on Nov. 18 made me remember a quote from Hannah Arendt who is considered the greatest political philosopher of the 20th century: “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.
Seen in clinic
Dear Sheriff Bob Songer,
I am a local physician writing to you from clinic this weekend. I’ve been called in as backup because of the increasing numbers of local folks testing positive for COVID and the need to test and triage a high number of cases and contacts. The number of ill patients is getting high enough that PCR testing is getting delayed (we do run rapid testing when appropriate) and contact tracing is overwhelming our local health departments.
As we seek to prevent the loss of life, limit the economic damage and instability, and prioritize getting/keeping our kids in school, it feels necessary that we come together to make some hard decisions in our community. Your recent public statement undermining mask wearing and local public safety restrictions does not sit in a vacuum, but comes at a cost.
The CDC has said that if 95 percent of us will wear masks out of the house, then we can avoid the most severe of lockdowns. If we are aiming for the least restrictions on our liberty, then this is the way. No one is asking you to make arrests. We are asking you to use your public platform to encourage taking the lives of each other seriously.
No rights exist in a vacuum. The right to not wear a mask is balanced against the right to infect and endanger our neighbor. Perhaps this is less about rights and more about the right thing to do.
Please help us come together on this. Your local health care workers and neighbors are counting on you.
Kudos to ‘Broads’
I want to give Kudos to the Cascade Volcano chapter of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization, led by women, that engages and inspires activism and stewardship to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.
Fourteen Broads volunteers assisted the U.S. Forest Service in monitoring solitude in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness during the summer/fall 2020 season despite COVID restrictions, trail closures and wildfires. Solitude is one of the wilderness characteristics that is required to be monitored by the Forest Service. While under the supervision of the Wild and Scenic River and Wilderness Manager, Casey Andrews, volunteers hiked and collected data on over 214 miles of trails which included 39 four-hour sessions of trail monitoring. The citizen science project included data collection on the number of hikers, dogs, and low-flying aircraft which would impede the solitude of a typical hiker.
This project was funded by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance (NWSA) and remains one of the few volunteer stewardship projects allowed on the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness over the 2020 summer season. It is through projects such as these that engage everyday citizens in supporting the underfunded US Forest Service and help our “Guys and Gals in Green” continue to do their work
Songer violates oath
A response to Songer calls COVID-19 restrictions ‘illegal’ in Nov. 25 edition:
As the incidence of COVID-19 surges in Klickitat County, Sherriff Songer fuels the fire. Wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing are public health protections, not Constitutional Violations. Becoming ill, infecting others and dying are not freedoms. Sherriff Songer has violated his oath of office to serve and protect our community. His actions are not only dangerous but cruel!
The hear and the say
We need to be careful of believing and spreading messages that begin with “I heard ...” When Barack Obama was president, I heard that he was going to take all of our guns away. I heard that he is a Muslim. I heard that he was going to turn our country into a communist state. None of that ended up to be true, and they were all completely baseless claims.
This week, I heard (or rather, read) in the opinion column of this newspaper that under a Biden presidency, we will “open our borders to every criminal element, close down any freedom to worship ... make pedophilia legal ...”
Where is the evidence to support these fears? Did the author hear Biden claim to want any of those actions? Did the author even hear ANY democratic leader claim to want any of those things? Or did he just hear about it through the rumor mills? Claims like these, which have no evidence, are dangerous to our society and lead to righteous vigilantes bringing an AR-15 into a pizza restaurant to rescue Hillary Clinton’s sex slaves who don’t actually exist. (Someone actually did this. The pizza restaurant had no ties to sex slaves.)
Baseless claims of election fraud by our president and his team are currently causing election officials to receive death threats. We all “hear” a lot of things, and much of the time what we hear is at best only a fraction of the truth. Please, let’s all do our homework before spreading potentially dangerous and toxic information.
Dear Hood River County,
For 98 years, the Hood River County Christmas Project has provided food and children’s gifts to families in need in the county. You helped us assist folks during the Great Depression of 1929 and World War II. You were there for your neighbors during years when weather caused severe crop losses and when deep recessions and business closures hit the county hard. This is a community that holds together year after year. 2020 is our toughest year yet.
This year we ask for your help again. The number of families who have asked for assistance is up 38 percent right now. With your help, 477 families were served last year. Today, more than 700 families have asked for help, and we have three more weeks of registration left.
The Christmas Project is 100 percent volunteer based. The funds you donate go directly to families in need. This year your donation will help buy food and gift cards. This is a double gift you provide, supporting hungry families and putting your donations back into the community stores where we all shop and where our neighbors work. Gift cards will let parents buy a child a little something for Christmas morning as well.
We embrace all families in need in the county. Many of you have answered our appeal letter, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Others are having a rough year and can only send their heartfelt support, and we know that. If you’re able to contribute to help a family have a brighter holiday next month, your neighbors will be deeply grateful.
Donations can be mailed to Hood River County Christmas Project, PO Box 872, Hood River, OR 97031. You may also donate by credit card online at www.hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com.
Board of Directors Bruce Holmson, Leslie Hidle, Kym Zanmiller, Tonia Carter, Mary Finley, Tracey Tomashpol, Heather Walker
Skyline levy thanks
I would like to express my gratitude to the voters who helped pass Skyline Health’s Levy Lid Lift. Skyline is local resource and is essential for those living in Klickitat County. During this time of uncertainty, Skyline staff have shown their compassionate hearts and dedication to the health of our communities.
The community’s support further demonstrates the need for rural health care and the important role our hospital plays in keeping all of us healthy and happy.
Again, thank you for supporting Skyline!
On behalf of the Hospital Board and the employees of Skyline Health, I would like to thank those residents in our hospital district that came out and not only supported but voted for the Hospital Levy. The Board appreciates this vote of confidence in our hospital and will work to make sure that we continue to have a Hospital District that puts medical and health needs of our community first. Thank You.
Les Dewey, Commissioner
Every single human being is a unique miracle. Agree? Collectively human flesh is a malignant plague.
Like a tsunami flooding the face of the earth flesh must destroy, crush, and consume all in its path to accomplish all the glories of progress. It must pave over the life giving soil with cement and asphalt so it appears as if it knows what it’s doing. It’s “all good,” for it creates jobs.
Each and every single day, another 250,000 human flesh creatures will eat, drink and breathe the limited resources of this tiny planet. Human flesh is a consuming monster. Human flesh must consume just to exist but it takes more for its wants, desires and lusts. The flesh demands to see more, feel more, want more, experience more and have more.
More sounds and louder. More lights and brighter. More and more of the earth’s natural resources are being consumed by the “wants,” not the needs, of the flesh to entertain the flesh for the flesh has much idle time.
The flesh has no regard for the cost of these wants. The flesh will not tolerate boredom. It demands to be fed (overfed) and amused continually.
Flesh is in panic mode for it senses the inevitable pinch of resources. We are all of the flesh, everyone of us. That includes those of the “blue” and the “red.” No one person or group or body is guiltier than the other.
The flesh has been infected with a madness driving it to consume more and faster. Fear is dominating the mind of flesh. Flesh is turning on one another to place blame.
Political voting divides us with its cowardly attempt to accuse that other flesh group for our problems. Voting falsely casts the blame onto the supposedly unclean flesh people while making it appear as if the winners are squeaky clean.
Most everyone will continue to vote in a false attempt to fix our mutual flesh problem. Why? It is easier than focusing on ourselves as the problem. Imagine having the courage and sense not to vote?
Maybe some humility?
One for the books
President Trump, nearing the end of his term in office, has dispatched a search team looking for a university prestigious enough to house his presidential library. After looking at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Princeton and MIT, this group chose as its depository Trump University.
Legacy of shame
President Trump’s refusal to concede the election confirms fundamental misunderstandings on the part of the President and many of his most ardent supporters.
Foremost is his conflation of Donald J. Trump and the office of the presidency. In 2016 voters elevated him to office, but he is not the office nor the powers thereof. The presidency is a position entrusted according to the Constitution to the winner of the electoral college for a four-year term. The office is perpetual, its occupant is not.
It is critical that each president approach the office with abiding humility and sacred responsibility for the preservation of the esteem and power of the office. President Trump seems unable to see the office he holds as separate from his own identity and has no coherent vision for the country beyond his personal aggrandizement.
Curiously, for three weeks in 1787 a heated debate took place in the nascent Congress around the election of George Washington. The issue was what to call the office to which he was elected.
There were those in the Senate that wanted Washington titled “King” (for four years) so as to confer appropriate dignity to the office. He would be addressed as “Your Highness” as he represented the new republic to foreign dignitaries.
Others argued for “Chief Magistrate.” In the House of Representatives the prevailing notion was that the office should be named in a manner that conveyed its subordination to the rule of law and the humility required of its occupant. They wanted to prevent Washington from getting drunk on power and settled on the humblest of titles.
President Trump exhibits an entitlement that demeans the office and seems drunk on grandeur and authority while disregarding the norms of decency, character and public service. His self-serving refusal to concede weakens the office every day.
There will be profound and tragic irony when President Trump’s petulant clinging to the office culminates in his legacy as the president who selfishly eroded global and domestic respect for the office when the world most needed selfless leadership.
This shameful and damaging legacy will long outlive the man.
In the Your Voice section of the Nov. 25 edition, an Editor’s Note with the letter “Planning gone wrong” contained a statement from the city that was incorrectly attributed.
The statement was in fact made by Planning Director Dustin Nilsen.