Bad faith tactics
Representative Newhouse, it is disappointing that you chose to support the Texas Attorney-General’s lawsuit seeking to invalidate vote counts in other states. This action displays a lack of integrity as well as a disregard for established principles of democracy. We elect legislators who can work in good faith within the system, but the lawsuit is not in good faith — it seeks to overturn the entire government using tactics of obstruction and intimidation. I question whether you represent Washington. I think you should consider getting another job.
George Wooten, Twisp
Every time I think we’re finally over the disgraceful behavior by government officials we’ve seen this year, something new happens. Last week, our representative in Congress gave support to the anti-democratic and anti-American Texas vs. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit that disrespects our most important legal document, the Constitution of the United States. In a world where our leaders were patriots, this would result in his immediate resignation. Any true patriot would recognize that the attempt to subvert the will of the people that that lawsuit represented is all but treason, and feeds the fires of sedition that are burning through our country.
Any agreements I have with Newhouse (and there are more than one) are vastly overshadowed by his willingness to help our democracy burn in order to let his bosses cling to power for a few more years. Since it’s unlikely he’ll resign, I hope that we can elect someone more ethical and patriotic to replace him.
Murray Sampson, Winthrop
Shortly after we built our home in Pine Forest 30 years ago, we read an article about a wildfire in a neighborhood near Spokane. It was obvious that Pine Forest was located in a similar fire-prone ecosystem. We saw that our forest was in dire straits, with trees so crowded they couldn’t get enough water or sun, stressing them to where various afflictions had become rampant.
In 1995 the U.S. Forest Service conducted a Wildfire Simulation in Pine Forest, attended by most property owners. It highlighted our overcrowded forests and recommended actions Pine Forest could take to improve forest health and lessen the destructive impact of wildfire. Thus began a Forest Stewardship Program aimed at thinning the dense forest and underbrush and restoring a healthy, resilient forest, an effort that continues today.
In 2014 and 2015 came wildfires nearby: Carlton, Rising Eagle, Little Bridge and Twisp River, the last burning within 1/4 mile of Pine Forest, stopped only by an ultra-expensive aerial assault. They were a reminder that if we wanted to keep our beloved forest — not to mention our homes — we had to do even more to make our forests healthy and fire-safe, and we stepped up the work. While the new work left us slightly less anxious when Crescent Mountain came near, our worry shifted to our thinning crew, who were called to their firefighting jobs, putting their lives on the line to protect others’ homes.
With the lands of the Twisp Restoration Project adjoining Pine Forest on two sides, we are painfully aware that its forest looks like ours once did, and the potential for significant wildfire is high. The sad truth is it’s not “if,” but “when.” We need to heed the advice of experts and thin responsibly to restore forest vigor and resiliency. From our view, the Forest Service’s proposal will do just that. It will be inconvenient for a little while, and some damage is inevitable, but in the long run, the benefits will far outweigh the detriments. Let’s love and preserve healthy forests.
Pete and Lynn Lewicki, Winthrop
My cousin Eddie got sick with COVID, sick enough to be admitted to the hospital. That was on Thursday, Dec. 10. When I heard, all I could think about was Eddie. How to get him gifts and cards? How to let him know he wasn’t alone? I reached out to his siblings, sent them virtual hugs, asked for an address.
My cousin Eddie got sick with COVID, sick enough to be knocked out and ventilated. That was on Friday, Dec. 11. My thoughts turned to his wife and kids. They were sick too. Did they need groceries? By bedtime, he had a blood oxygen level of 70, and blood clots in his heart. I couldn’t sleep, and I am just a cousin. What was that night like for Jenny?
My cousin Eddie got sick with COVID, but on Saturday and Sunday he fought back. His oxygen climbed, his heart stabilized. We breathed a little, sent meal cards to his home in Arizona. Facebook swarmed with get wells and prayer chains. This was Warden Jensen, beloved by his staff at the state prison. This was Coach Jensen of kids’ traveling basketball. This was Brother Jensen of the LDS community. Hundreds of hearts were plugged into the cause, and Eddie would live.
My cousin Eddie got sick with COVID, and on Monday he tanked. I ditched work and went for a snowshoe. I prayed out loud, talking to God, talking to my cousin. “Come on, Eddie,” I chanted as I walked. On top of the ridge, as the sun set over the Twisp River headwaters, my prayer faucet ran dry. I wasn’t sure why. I snowshoed home in silence.
My cousin Eddie got sick with COVID, sick enough to leave this world. That was on Tuesday, Dec. 15. He was 47, 6 feet 8 inches tall, a former basketball star, tough as nails, protector of lesser mortals, lover of Great Danes. He leaves behind Jenny, Campbell, Abbey, Aidan, Adleigh, Cindy, Jonathon, Amy, Natalie, Alex, Dan and Mary, and that is just the beginning. He will be sorely missed.
Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.
Rebekah Jensen, Twisp
Rep. Dan Newhouse: I read your constituent newsletters. As an elected official who takes his responsibilities seriously, you should understand our democracy and how it works — the compromise, the winning and losing, the necessity for honesty and integrity in spite of differences of political opinion and personal philosophy. The peaceful transition of power is the backbone of our democracy.
Please explain to your constituents how Donald Trump holds power over you. By what stretch of political norms could you actually buy into his false claim of winning the presidential election?
I am almost 70 years old, so I have been voting for a long time. I have never missed an election — national, state or local. I have felt bitterly disappointed upon occasion, and I have felt relieved and overjoyed upon other occasions. It doesn’t matter what my political persuasion is. What matters is the process by which our government has survived this long and how it has inspired and influenced other countries in the world.
By all standards, Donald Trump, whatever you think his successes are, is not an honest man. Any number of fact-checking, non-partisan websites will list hundreds of instances of outright lying on his part, not to mention his dismissive and irresponsible handling of the pandemic, which I believe cost thousands of lives. He belittles people who disagree with him. He calls people names. He insults women and anyone who challenges him. He does not represent the better part of human nature. He is a bully like any one of us remember from our childhood, and he is intentionally divisive, a terrible quality for a political leader. He lost the election, and he has tried to hold onto power illegitimately.
Your signing on to the Texas lawsuit to overturn a fair and decisive election, the result of which has been supported for weeks by members of the judiciary, Republican election offices and Attorneys General, and honorable political leaders, is demonstrably indicative of encouraging a bloodless coup. You should be ashamed, and you should be punished politically in Congress for your action.
Lynette Westendorf, Winthrop
We came close to losing our democracy this year.
Then Joe Biden won big, in spite of widespread voter suppression laws, passed in many Republican-led states to make it harder for Blacks, Latinos–– and other minorities, and young people, to vote.
The unfair advantage given to Republican candidates in those states still wasn’t enough for Trump to win. So Trump falsely claimed widespread voter fraud. He or his supporters filed over 50 lawsuits, trying to wipe out millions of legal votes to stay in power.
Most leading Republicans, including our own Congressman Newhouse, cheered on or even joined in these suits. (See Tom Jones’ letter, “Shocking and inexcusable” in last week’s Methow Valley News.) The Trumpies lost every case, even those decided by judges Trump appointed. It wasn’t close; Trump simply had no evidence of voter fraud.
Trump also attacked election supervisors and Republican secretaries of state who said the voting in their states was fair and not tainted by fraud. Trump’s final bid to overthrow our democracy was asking Republican state legislators and governors to ignore the votes for Biden and crown Trump the victor. They turned him down, everywhere.
This could easily have turned out differently. Luckily, a lot of people, including those many Republican state officials (but not the Republican leadership in Washington!), had enough integrity and belief in democracy to run fair elections and to reject Trump’s demand that they overturn the election for him.
Here’s something we should think about for our New Year’s resolutions: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.” These words were spoken in 1852 by Wendell Phillips, a noted abolitionist and advocate of rights for women and Native Americans. It has never been truer than it was this year.
A very happy and ski-full New Year to you all.
Randy Brook, Twisp