News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 7/14/2021

Red Baiting

To the Editor:

I thought red-baiting died in the late 1950s when Joseph McCarthy passed away in disgrace. But I see it is alive and well in The Nugget. For months there have been numerous letters to the editor from Jeff Mackey, and now a guest column, where he accuses anyone with whom he disagrees by using the usual red-baiting terms, Marxist, socialist, and/or communist, thus hoping to end any logical discourse.

I find it odd he accuses Democrats of being Marxist or communists when it was eight Republican senators who spent July 4, 2018, in Moscow as guests of Putin’s regime. President Trump was Putin’s pet during his entire administration, after praising Putin for interfering in the 2016 election to favor him. Trump also bragged about his “love letters” with Kim Jong-un, communist dictator of North Korea. McCarthy would have had a field day with any and all of these actions.

Mr. Mackey’s interpretation of history is a bit novel, too. While the KKK did rise in the south when Democrats were the prominent political party, southern Democrats switched to Republican in droves during the Nixon southern strategy movement that handed him the electoral college. Had they not converted, Nixon would never have had a chance of being elected. They have never looked back. It is worth noting that the KKK’s official newspaper, the Crusader, and former grand wizard, David Duke, supported Trump in the 2016 election, not the Democrat with southern roots.

Mr. Mackey’s attack on General Milley was a bit over the top, considering his claim that he saw no racism during his 30-year stint in the Navy, yet in February of this year Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday addressed racist incidents on Navy ships during a Pentagon-ordered stand-down to review political extremism in the ranks.

The real threat to our constitutional republic isn’t from the left side of the political spectrum, it is from the extreme right, which Mr. Mackey embraces with his numerous political rants taken from their playbook. Where is his righteous indignation at the fascist insurrection of January 6 that attempted to overthrow our legally elected government?

And why isn’t he worried about a former president that claims to believe “Hitler did a lot of good things?” Do you believe Hitler did a lot of good things, Mr. Mackey?

Dean Billing

To the Editor:

Undeterred by being shown to be almost completely wrong about everything he writes for publication in this newspaper, Mr. Jeff Mackey, in an opinion piece no less, offers his litany of current grievances. They range from “Marxist tyranny” and “eventual socialist/communist rule” to “racist-driven, racist theory” of what he claims to be Critical Race Theory (CRT).

His use of “Marxist” and “socialist/communist” demonstrates he would flunk a high school exam on political science. Because he criticizes General Milley (current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) for actually reading about subjects General Milley wishes to understand, I doubt if Mr. Mackey will be doing any reading in order to actually understand what he is complaining about.

Taking his cue from Fox News and the like, Mr. Mackey wants us to believe that “our children” are being “indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory,” which is “racist to the core and the antithesis” of what Lincoln and MLK fought for — that would be news to both Lincoln and MLK — the former, who led this country to suppress the treasonous insurrection of those seeking to preserve slavery of Black people, and MLK whose life’s work was to create a political and social system that promoted racial equality.

CRT is NOT being taught in our grade schools and high school.

It is a method of examination of history in some colleges and law schools to help analyze whether racism exists and whether it affects law and public policy.

People like Mr. Mackey, following their indoctrination from right-wing media, equate CRT to any discussion of race or racism and want to bully teachers from teaching accurate history.

Mr. Mackey gives away the game when he claims teaching bad stuff about our history is trying to get our children to “hate our country.” Apparently he wishes that they don’t learn about the legal enslavement of African men, women, and children and the public policies resulting in the genocide of most of the First Nations people on this continent.

I encourage Mr. Mackey to focus more on critical thinking rather than CRT.

Michael Wells

Comprehensive plan...

To the Editor:

The City of Sisters has completed its Comprehensive Plan 2040. Although it is far too “comprehensive” for the layperson to absorb, one should try to read those sections that are of interest to him.

To my mind, the most critical sections concern urban sprawl, as I have frequently stated in The Nugget. Once the boilerplate assumptions, platitudes, bromides, and conventional wisdom (the need to diversify the economy is a big one) are discarded, one searches in vain for any responsible approach to urban sprawl. While the City solicits input from the citizenry, it is not bound by it. This solicitation is a form of camouflage, behind which the city rubber-stamps development — above all, tract housing. Because the citizens have no formal way of curbing such development, they must be resigned to watching Sisters commit suicide by urban sprawl; that is, by City Council.

If the Sisters Woodlands project of some 300 houses and 600 cars is approved, Sisters as we know it will be gone. So, what is to be done? Perhaps a lawyer in Sisters can write a piece in The Nugget and inform us whether or not a legal means can be established to require the City Council to put any development of a certain square footage or value to a binding local popular vote and, if it is possible, how this could be done?

If feasible, we, a “Committee to Save Sisters from Urban Sprawl,” could crowdsource and hire legal assistance. To be sure, restricting sprawl might increase property values in and around the city. But what would the people of Sisters prefer, an increase in property values while maintaining the integrity of the city, or the opposite? The choice is stark.

Gary Leiser

Keep dark skies dark

To the Editor:

Why be afraid of the dark?

Isn’t darkness just an absence of light? Well, yes! Darkness is nothing more than the lack of electromagnetic radiation in a particular wavelength band, AKA visible light.

On April 14 of this year I read a wonderful news story in The Nugget by Jim Cornelius, editor in chief, titled “Keep Sisters night skies dark.” Since reading that article I have given wonder to how many homes and businesses reacted positively to the information Jim shared and tried to adjust their lifestyle or just turn off some lights at night. In my own neighborhood I do not think anyone or any homeowner made a hint of an effort to reduce the light pollution they produce.

At night, I walk. I cruise along our neighborhood taking note of the lighting many individuals have installed on their properties. My walks often are in the early morning between midnight and 3 a.m. when stillness invades the neighborhood. Unfortunately, light also invades the stillness by means of floodlights and decorative lights. I guess I should appreciate the decorative lights, as they must be displayed just for me since I am the only one walking along the roadway at those early hours.

There are what I consider Christmas lights, and the floodlights, driveway lights, path lights, security lights, and the combination of them all considered, I suppose, as “night lights.” Last night, just before midnight, while out on a cool-air walk, I counted 34 lights adorning one home in our neighborhood and several homes with more than 10 outdoor lights.

I walk by these lighting displays in complete awe, asking myself, what is the purpose? Why are they even on, burning brightly and polluting the night sky? Who is enjoying these light shows? Maybe I should knock on their doors, waking them so they can come outside and enjoy their lights! So, I ask all who may be guilty of sharing photon energy during the night to assess your lighting and identify how necessary those lights are.

A great educational site to learn all you really need to know about a natural dark sky can be found at the International Dark Sky Association —

Steven Peterzén

Trashing Sisters’ image

To the Editor:

Driving into town recently I was appalled by the tinsel wrapping the antlers of the antelope and the elk. Wrapped up in red, white, and blue tinsel for the holiday, these beautiful sculptures looked like trashy lawn ornaments.

Is this the image our little town wants to portray to all those traveling through or visiting here? I sure hope not!

Marianne Stipe

Engaging with those who think differently

To the Editor:

Wow, the opinion column by Jeff Mackey on July 7 sure indulged in a lot of name-calling and invective. Notwithstanding that I’m sure we don’t agree on many issues, I just don’t think it’s helpful to let loose with bomb-throwing buzzwords and snide assumptions (for example, that the folks on the other side of our political debates are not “America loving citizens,” to use one of his phrases).

Somehow I’ve managed to engage with many people who think differently than me on many issues — sometimes heatedly — without resorting to personal putdowns, fiery labels, or broad generalizations. The fact that those people receive a different ballot than me never gave me the idea that it was acceptable to assume every little thing about them and put them in a category of my own choosing. Why not assume the best about people and wait to be proven otherwise?

One other little nitpicking thing: I grew up in an era and place where many families had husbands, uncles, fathers, or grandfathers who served in the military (or directly supported the war effort in other ways). We didn’t go on and on about how patriotic our political party was (and there were members of both parties in the family). That was the norm and no one group had a monopoly on service.

Right now, are we going to keep talking past each other forever and just bloviate to our political allies? It sure seems so — all the worse for public discourse.

Laura West

Agree with op-ed

To the Editor:

The guest columnist Jeff Mackey was right in the Wednesday, July 7 edition; also John Miller’s letter to the editor.

If one reads all of what Marxism/communism believes in, then reads how God says man should live and looks at the platforms of Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Peace Party (sic), a 12-year-old student could get the answer easy.

I’ve been sick since November 3, 2020 over all of it.

Chet Davis


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