News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 1/13/2021

I write in response to Mr. Damerell’s Letter to the Editor of January 6.

Instead of referring to the homeless as vagrants and criminals, how about stepping up and lending a helping hand to the less fortunate? I do, and have been greatly rewarded in peace of mind and spirit, not to mention friendship.

Doug Williams

I was disturbed, though not surprised, to learn that after a visit to our St. Charles Clinic here in Sisters, vaccinations for seniors are projected to be available late spring, early summer! This is not okay!

Lon Kellstrom

To the Editor:

I think our new Congressional representative Cliff Bentz should resign.

He’s clearly not qualified to be a U.S. Congressman. He had a simple, perfunctory job to perform on Wednesday, January 6. The Constitution of the United States required him to verify the count of certified electors from each state.

Yet, when the legally certified electors of Pennsylvania were presented to the Congress assembled, he chose to join a political stunt with no merit and no chance of affecting the election. And this occurred after an attempted coup personally directed by the President that led to the death of six people, so far, including two Capitol police officers.

So much for law and order, representative Bentz. You are a disgrace to Oregon.

Dean Billing

To the Editor:

An open letter to Jim Adkins, Jefferson County Sheriff; Shane Nelson, Deschutes County Sheriff; and Mike Krantz, Chief of the Bend Police Department: I am horrified and outraged by the violence and anarchy perpetrated upon the people of this great country during the insurrection on January 6 in Washington D.C.

Each and every rioter who invaded the Capitol on that infamous day should be identified, arrested and appropriately charged. There are many eyewitness reports claiming that law enforcement officers participated in this seditious activity. I am asking that each of our local law enforcement agencies investigate and hold accountable any officers who were involved. It would be wonderful news to learn that none participated; public confidence in these agencies would be greatly enhanced.

I fully support and defend all lawful expressions of our First Amendment rights related to freedom of speech, but the violent mob and the deadly events that unfolded were unlawful and should be confronted swiftly and decisively. Law and order applies to all Americans; no one is above the law.

Janet Keen

To the Editor:

It was encouraging to hear about Lezlie Neusteter’s work to help drug addicts, once released from jail, to have access to addiction treatment.

The power of drug addiction cannot be cured by incarceration alone.

The YouTube documentary “Seattle is Dying” gives an in-depth view of the success of Rhode Island’s MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) program.

Amazing documentary that all should watch! Treatment actually starts during the inmate’s incarceration to assist them with withdrawals during their prison term and to get their addiction under control.

The treatment continues after their prison term is completed to help them stay sober, get jobs and live a drug-free life, thus helping to break the incarceration and homelessness cycle.

These programs, done right, have proven to cost less than the repeated incarceration of drug-addicted inmates.

I was dismayed to see Neusteter having to ask for donations to support this type of important work. I believe the state of Oregon should focus more on funding these types of programs immediately to help address drug-related homelessness and crimes.

Thank you, Lezlie, for your commitment and social service!

Cheryl Pellerin

To the Editor:

The U.S. Supreme Court on October 28 voted unanimously to not block the Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court decision to allow Pennsylvania to accept absentee ballots for several days after Election Day.

The Pennsylvania case was an example of the complications that COVID-19 and a USPS system, slowed by the Trump administration, presented.

Cliff Bentz objected to these court decisions and used the certification of the Electoral College votes to voice his objection.

Bentz has no say in how Pennsylvania runs its elections.

As Senator Graham later said, this was not the time or venue for that objection.

Trump attorneys and supporters never presented verifiable evidence of voter fraud to the courts.

Attorney General Barr stated there was no widespread fraud.

Yet, Trump continues with false claims of fraud, and Bentz feeds that narrative.

Five died.

Trump told the crowd to fight or you will not have a country.

He said he would walk to the Capitol with them.

He did not walk with them.

He watched TV, in a safe place with his Secret Service protecting him, while his crowd called for Vice President Pence to be hung.

While five died.

I called (1-202-225-6730) Representative Bentz’s office many times objecting to his contesting the Pennsylvania certified vote. If you objected and did not call, call now. He claims the bulk of his constituents agree with him.

Nancy Kelm

To the Editor:

The world has never been out to get me. The world doesn’t owe me anything because I’m here. The world certainly doesn’t revolve around me.

It astounds me to encounter so many people who view things the opposite of these tenets. They do know that the world is out to get them. Or it owes them things because they exist and have “rights,” which seem more about claims of entitlement than it does about actual rights. Or they offer what they know can be the only correct perspective(s) and the sooner that we all get in line with that thinking the better.

The past four years and particularly what occurred on the afternoon of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol Building have brought to bear the vastly differing ranges of perspectives and ways of behaving that people have for dealing with this existence.

It also brings to mind something written by T.S. Eliot a century ago:

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or, they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

Chris Morin

To the Editor:

For weeks now, debates have been raging throughout the country about whether Trump and his supporters were attempting to overthrow our democratic and secure election. Phrases like “soft coup” were thrown around as it became obvious that Trump would never accept his defeat.

January 6 their attempt to overthrow the will of the people stopped being “soft.” Rioters forced their way into the Capitol Building and violently confronted police officers, damaged and looted staff offices, and most damningly, forced the presidential certification process to be delayed.

We know that someone died from a gunshot wound, and officers have been sent to the hospital.

In conjunction with this obscene violation of democratic tradition, at least one explosive device was found outside the Republican National Committee headquarters. This is not a normal expression of free speech. This was a concerted and organized effort to obstruct the presidential transition and cast our democracy into chaos. Without doubt, it is a case of domestic terrorism, and likely a treasonous action, for it is an explicitly literal attack on the very foundation of our democracy, and by extension, the American people.

It is time to loudly announce what this is — a coup.

We crossed beyond the time for discussion. We face a determined opponent who is willing to disregard every freedom and belief we hold dear, and we must rise to meet them immediately. The path forward must be peaceful and measured, but it must also be walked with the greatest passion, discipline, and conviction that we can muster. The future of our American experiment in democracy rests on the actions that everyday people take now and in the following days. Talk to family and friends, make a plan to support the peaceful transition of power, and never forget the freedoms we are bound to defend.

Riley Paine

To the Editor:

Cliff Bentz has just been sworn in as our 2nd district representative to the U.S. Congress. His first official act was to join a group of Republican congressmen in an attempt to disenfranchise the tens of millions of voters who elected Joe Biden as President.

Greg Walden at least had the integrity to resist the pressure from President Trump and other Republicans and understood the seditious nature of this attempt to overturn the election results.

Cliff Bentz is a lawyer by profession. As a lawyer he knows that an allegation needs evidence before it can be taken to a jury. So why would he willingly join a coup attempt in the absence of any evidence of election fraud? All of the bogus lawsuits about election fraud filed since the election have been thrown out because of a total lack of evidence. Those rejecting these meritless lawsuits include more than 60 judges including Trump appointees, the former attorney general of the United States, and the U.S. Supreme Court. What is one to conclude?

All I can conclude is that Mr. Bentz is a man lacking integrity who is not worthy of the votes that were legally cast (including mine) at the last election. We have now seen firsthand the consequences of his willingly following a leader who incited violence and insurrection in our nation’s Capital. From this point forward, I will do what I can to make sure Cliff Bentz is not returned to Congress in two years.

Dennis Tower

To the Editor:

So much to forgive. So much to be forgiven.

Judy Bull

To the Editor:

As we move into a new year I keep asking myself the question: What will help unite us as Americans again? What more do we need to encounter before we are each willing to really listen to each other, to really hear what people who think differently than we do think, without interrupting them with our own facts and opinions? What will help us narrow the gap rather than widen it with our need to justify our positions?

The majority of people agree that being heard is a very important part of any successful relationship.

And yet, many people feel they are not heard when they try to share their thoughts and beliefs.

They experience others interrupting to defend their beliefs because they have information that will prove they are right and the other person is wrong.

I wonder what would change if, instead of justifying our “right” position or defending our “right” reasoning or protecting our position based on our facts and information sources, we really took the time to sit and listen to each other? I have recently shared with my adult children and friends I am going to ask before we start a difficult conversation, “What is our common ground? What do we agree on?”

I believe there is often common ground if we are willing to be patient and take the time to listen to one another. We all care about our families. We want those we love to stay healthy, although we may differ on how that occurs. We want our children to have an education although we may differ on how that should continue with COVID. Ask yourself if you are willing to pause five seconds when in conflict to ask the question, “What do we have in common?” See if each of us can hear something new we did not know we had in common.

Be willing to pause long enough to truly see if there is a middle way not yet discovered because we were so set on our own way. We can all give by listening to one another in the same way we would want them to listen if we were talking. Maybe in the listening, the pause, the hearing, and in finding common ground, we can slowly move forward together as individuals, as a community and as a country.

Linda Wolff


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