The real threat
Who exactly is a patriot these days?
Is it the person concerned about the well-being of others enough to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience for the common good? Or is it the person who believes his own version of freedom justifies threatening those who don’t act and believe as he does?
Reading about threats to public servants doing the best job they can to protect us all from an epidemic has me questioning the rationality and, yes, the patriotism of Trump-loving epidemic deniers. I am talking about people who not only won’t wear masks and social distance, but start threatening the right of everyone else who believes the science to do what they can to stop this thing and get our economy going again.
I am living with a president who lies daily, made our health and economy worse by ignoring the best medical science in the world, destroyed our reputation and standing with most countries, and is publicly, without shame trying to dismantle the very underpinnings of our democracy. That, to me, is the real threat.
There are people right now ready to pull out their guns and fight to the death all for a perceived threat to their freedom. Their freedom to flaunt their own comfort and convenience regardless of how it affects others? Really?
In a civilized free society, we use the tools of public discourse, personal shared experience, best science, and representative democracy to deal with threats to the well-being and freedom of us all. When we start bullying, intimidating and threatening violence to maintain our own personal bubble of beliefs then we have thrown away those very tools of democracy that made our country great.
Rather than making our country great again, this way of thinking will take us down and ruin a way of life that, until now, we all take for granted.
David Harris, Winthrop
No action is no solution
Another threatening fire season. Another state of emergency declared due to wildfires raging in Washington. The Mission Restoration project planned for the Twisp and Libby watersheds aims to restore forest health and fire resilience across 50,000 acres. Let’s consider the arguments raised against it.
As argued by Don Johnson, the environmental assessment of the project is deficient because it inadequately examines the effects of the proposal on elements such as cover for deer, sediment delivered to the stream, etc. These same arguments are contained in a lawsuit against the project.
In one sense, the assessment is profoundly incomplete, but not in the way being argued. The law requires federal agencies to compare the environmental effects of a range of alternatives before a one is selected. There is one alternative that is always included: “No Action.” Here is the problem: “No Action” is assumed to result in the continuation of current conditions and is not actually assessed the way the “action” alternatives are.
In this case, “No Action,” will not maintain current conditions. Rather, it will result in unnaturally extreme wildfires that destroy forests and threaten communities. Extreme wildfire is catastrophic for the resources the opponents of forest health restoration are concerned with. Water quality? Remember the debris flows after the Carlton Complex Fire that closed highways, denuded riparian areas and delivered hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sediment to stream channels. Deer cover? Picture the cover across the landscape of the burned area. The list goes on.
Current unhealthy, overcrowded forest conditions are the result of past management that made sense at the time. Now, only by restoring fire resilience to our forests can we protect our community. Healthy forests can survive some degree of climate change. However, studies show that as low elevation forests are destroyed, seedlings are no longer surviving to replace them. DNR has projected a significant decrease in low elevation forest in coming years.
Forests are the lungs of the planet, and essential to stabilizing the climate. But ours are threatened by unnatural conditions caused by human actions. “No Action” will not protect these ecosystems.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop
The founders of our country considered a postal system so important that they wrote it into our Constitution. Nonetheless, since the days of Ronald Reagan, the Republican party has been hell-bent on destroying it.
For decades, the real reason for attacking the post office was a Republican effort to wipe out workers’ unions in general and the strong postal union in particular. Yet despite crippling budget reductions, postal workers have continued to serve us faithfully and with pride. We owe them our gratitude.
Now Trump, with the support of most of his party, is trying to turn the post office into a democracy-destroying weapon. They know they cannot win the next election fairly. As Trump and numerous party leaders have said publicly, there are simply more Democrats than Republicans. Their only hope is to prevent as many Dems as possible from voting.
For years, they have been closing polling places in heavily Dem areas to make it harder to vote. They have created all sorts of unreasonable tests and challenges to stop people from voting. And now, reaching a new low, they are literally destroying postal equipment to make it harder to vote by mail.
There was a time when the USA stood for democracy and against dictators who tampered with elections. Now we are about to lead the world in attempting to undermine democracy. And the Republican party thinks that’s just “great.” I hope a determined population will not let this happen in America.
Randy Brook, Twisp
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is just that, it is designed, supposedly, to protect the person wearing said PPE, not every Tom, Dick, Harry or Jane in a community or environment. To do that they have quarantine procedures where those infected are placed in quarantine for a said period of time or until they have a test that comes back negative. Consequently, it is an individual’s responsibility to wear said PPE if they personally feel they may be exposed to something that may be detrimental to their health, safety or well-being.
It is not the government’s responsibility to mandate that said equipment must be worn. They can and have advised and recommended what safety precautions a responsible person should take to protect themselves, additionally, it is certainly not the responsibility of the neighborhood busybody to criticize or ostracize a person or business that feels the recommendations are unnecessary or unwarranted and everyone still has the choice as to whether to utilize that business or go elsewhere or go at a different time when they feel it would be safer. It is a person’s individual responsibility to protect themselves as it is an individual’s responsibility to stay home should they be experiencing symptoms from this or any other communicable disease issues.
I see where a large portion of people today can’t, won’t and don’t take responsibility for their own actions and yet try to force their beliefs/standards on everyone else because they feel it is for the “Greater Good.” Some are going to say “it infringes on your rights by everyone not wearing PPE.” Well you are wrong, you still have the right to go where you want, when you want and if you want, but you must be willing to take responsibility for your decisions.
Maybe this virus is what we need to purge the gene pool of those that aren’t adult enough to take responsibility for their own actions and need someone to tell them don’t stick a screwdriver in an electrical outlet because you might get a shock.
Vern Herrst, Winthrop
Respect free speech
A political yard sign is a form of free speech. It is my way of expressing my political opinion that I do not take lightly. I want to encourage others that they are not alone in their views, that we do share the same opinions and ideals and that voting is the only way that we can voice our hope for change. It is to encourage others to be an important part of our democracy by voting for those that share our views.
This free speech has been taken away from us as many of us have had our yard signs stolen from our yards. I have had three Biden signs stolen from my yard. Many others have had their signs stolen on the East Side, on driveways within a 20-mile radius of Omak as well as in Okanogan, the Chiliwist, Chesaw, Brewster, Tonasket, Twisp and all areas of Okanogan county. This is a disgrace. It appears that only Democratic signs have been stolen.
Others have recently expressed reluctance to put a yard sign on their property for fear of vandalism on their property if they put up a yard sign.
It appears that this is the result of several people because it is happening throughout Okanogan county. Does this mean that we must take our yard signs into our home each night to protect them? Please let’s respect other people’s right to this form of free speech.
The day the last Biden sign was stolen from my property a dead snake was placed near my driveway and a few days later that same dead snake was placed directly under my mailbox. How sad is that?
Please let’s respect other people’s right to show support for their candidates in our free election process.
Vera Zachow, Omak