News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 7/22/2020

Before you publish a slew of letters in support of anonymous federal troops in unmarked vehicles taking prisoner people on the streets of Portland, you might point out the hypocrisy — the whole Malhuer occupation of federal lands in Burns by the Bundy-led group, including destruction of federal property, which was supported by the Proud Boy types who have not uttered a peep about sending federal troops into Portland to take people off the streets in order to protect federal property.

John Mapes

To the Editor:

I love The Nugget and appreciate your paper each time it comes out.

I want to send a special “thank you” to Scout Arnone for her article about her student gently handling and releasing what he believed to be a black widow. (“Scouting the Northwest: Fear not the false black widow,” The Nugget, June 8, page 29).

I teach my own sons to respect, and be kind to, the spiders in our house. My boys have learned to share their space with spiders and to recognize their inherent value.

Scout’s story was beautiful to me and her student wise beyond his years. Her article made my day.


Owyhee Weikel-Magden

To the Editor:

One way to re-open schools with social distancing:

In 1946, my father came back from World War II, USS Salt Lake City (CA25). He was born and raised in Iowa. He was stationed in the Navy on the west coast along with hundreds of thousands of Midwesterners. At the end of the war he and 100,000 plus other vets called their wives in the Midwest and said, “Put the kids in the car and drive out to California; we are not going to have to live through any more snowy winters!”

So, I’m in the second or third grade and because of the influx of kids, the school went to double sessions. We had too many kids and not enough chairs. So, I went three hours in the morning and another group of kids went for three hours in the afternoon. I loved it: more time to play baseball in the street with my pals.

The message is — we have been here before; what’s the big deal.

If we want our kids to attend school, lets figure out a way to do it. We did so in 1946!

Bruce Rognlien

To the Editor:

Our lives have changed. Our freedom to do what we want and when we want is more restricted for now. This freedom that we have taken for granted in our culture is contributing to death and destruction of our friends, family, health, wealth, economy, businesses, fun, love and happiness.

Self-centeredness has taken the lead. That has to go away if you want to live and you don’t want to take the life of others. That party or get-together can wait. Be proud of yourself for not causing the death of your relative or friend.

American tears are falling, this virus spreading is our own fault. We can fix it only if we choose to. In many cases leadership is missing or marginal when we need it the most. It is way past time for our leaders to lead and tell the truth. The facts and science are real, read them.

The sky is not falling, Chicken Little; just be smart. You are not losing your freedom forever you are free to do the right thing. Be the solution not the problem.

Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, hold off on that gathering. The sooner we work together the earlier we can be together.

Sherry Steele

To the Editor:

I do not believe that two letters blaming inequities on “those who have chosen not to carry their own weight” (John Baldwin) and claiming that “EVERY other American (has) the greatest freedom and opportunity of any place on earth” (Larry Benson) accurately reflect our community as a whole.

I invite you to include the voices of those who, like me, are NOT “self hating” but who believe that principles on which our nation was founded REQUIRE us to think critically about where our nation is headed, and what we, individually, can do to insure that it is on the right path. We are not on the streets, not even certain of the right path. We do not hate law enforcement, but we have listened to recordings of the last words of people of color killed in interactions with police, and we have recognized that something is very, very wrong when a terrified person, who has done nothing wrong, ends up dead.

Personally, at age 70, and with a life experience of living in Asia, Africa and South America, not to mention both sides of the U.S., I am disappointed in myself that I’ve only recently begun to understand the comprehensive economic disadvantage that followed from slavery. I had friends in boarding school from very successful black families with a longer family history of professional status than my own, I was sworn in as a diplomat by Secretary of State Colin Powell (whose parents were immigrants) and served in a very diverse State Department. Integration of elites is very seductive distraction, but does not reflect economic, political or social realities in our communities.

Any initiative to address inequality will also address the challenges faced by immigrants and whites whose low incomes do not necessarily reflect a choice to “not carry their own weight,” but rather the disproportionate benefits that some of us enjoy.

We all need to be honest about the benefits and subsidies that we receive: family support for that first home down payment, tax benefits from home ownership or farming, lower “death taxes” that are irrelevant to families that struggle to pay funeral expenses.

I’m not advocating guilt, or revolution. I’m advocating honesty and a greater commitment to fairness.

Karan Swaner

To the Editor:

When I told a friend the other day that I was a Libertarian, he questioned that by saying that Libertarians are nothing more or less than Republicans in disguise. His interpretation is shared by most Republicans and Democrats alike, but is an ill-conceived analysis of a political belief or party.

First, as a Libertarian I equate partisanship not as Democrat vs. Republican but as having differing views within one’s own party.

Take abortion for an example: I believe in a woman’s right to choose, it’s absolutely none of my business what she chooses to do with her body; I just don’t want to pay for it.

I believe in the 2nd amendment but I firmly believe a line must be drawn between common sense and ridiculousness, e.g., an AK 47 is not a musket.

I believe some drugs like marijuana should be decriminalized but not made legal.

I believe racism can only be resolved from one’s own heart and mind; removing monuments and changing names at airports is nothing more than a band-aid added to an ongoing problem.

The leading parties’ platforms mandate it’s all or nothing with the aforementioned issues, leaving compromise and common sense totally out of the equation when debating these issues.

My friends call me wishy-washy because I’m critical of President Trump; what’s not to be critical about? Those same friends, for years, have called me an idiot for questioning the 2nd amendment. I’m neither a sheep nor a fish; I can’t swallow all this BS, hook, line, and sinker.

I am a Libertarian because I have liberated myself from the partisanship that exists within both political parties. My point is; don’t some intelligent and independently thinking Democrats feel somewhat the same? Can’t there be libertarian Democrats as well as libertarian Republicans? Why let ignorant partisanship mandate the definition of right and wrong when it comes to COVID-19, police brutality, racial injustice, abortion, gun control, etc.?

The moderates of both parties have become the silent majority and this is certainly not the time for silence.

Terry Coultas

To the Editor:

A July 15 contributor affected me deeply when he praised this country’s freedom and equal opportunity in response, I assume, to our current racial issues.

It made me question just when African Americans supposedly became equal in this country.

We all know the basic discrimination America was built on. When this country was founded, only white landowning men were generally allowed to vote. In 1870, the 15th amendment gave black men the right to vote, but only on paper. States figured out ways to deny it with poll taxes or literacy tests that remained until 1966. We know about segregation, bus seating, separate water fountains, housing discrimination, redlining. But I never knew about, “blue discharges,” neither honorable nor dishonorable, given out to simply deny GI benefits after World War II, to black and homosexual veterans.

Nelson Henry was a veteran with a blue discharge who at 95 tried to get his honorable discharge papers. These veterans served their country honorably; they received a blue discharge because they were black. This piece of paper affected Mr. Henry for the rest of his life.

The Legal Aid Network states: “It excluded Mr. Henry from many jobs. It cut off his GI benefits. And it resulted in him driving a cab for 13 years instead of enrolling in dental school, where he had already been granted a conditional acceptance before he had enlisted.”

47,000 soldiers’ received blue discharges. African Americans like Mr. Henry, got about 10,000 of them—or 22.2 percent— black soldiers made up only about 6.5 percent of the Army. The program was structured specifically to deny recipients a way to change their status.

I am ashamed this happened. My father used the GI Bill to get a college degree and a home. Mr. Henry never had the opportunities or equality my father had from the GI Bill.

Nancy Buffinton-Kelm

To the Editor:

In response to a Letter to the Editor last week, it was offensive to read someone suggest that these protests are about people not “wanting to pull their own weight.”

Anyone who is paying attention has learned that our history has conveniently left out the brutality and limitations set against Black citizens. The info is out there and the history is being corrected.

My former husband’s family lost his brother, a truck driver for Standard Oil, when he was shot and killed on I-5 just south of Myrtle Point, Oregon, in 1971. He was warned, but refused to be intimidated by those who didn’t want him to stop at a café there for what he called “the best pie in Oregon.” He was a hard working father of five children in Portland. His “guilt” was being


To the writer, your white privilege is showing.

Bonnie Malone


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