This July 4, I am not proud to be an American. I sadly admit that I am ashamed.
I am ashamed of the inefficacy of my national government. I am ashamed that racist attacks are now accepted mainstream behavior. I am ashamed that hate is nurtured and something to brag about. I am ashamed that my country is committing human rights atrocities. This is not a partisan issue; it is simple humanity.
Just because I am ashamed of what is happening in my country doesn’t mean that I do not love it. In fact, that is WHY I am ashamed. One’s child can commit shameful actions but still be beloved; the same is true of one’s country. Don’t tell me to move. It is perfectly reasonable to want to live in a nation that is loving and fair and just.
Because I love my country so much, I will continue to protest hate. I will fight against racism. Threatening to kill people must be made shameful and discouraged. All families belong together. The poor need my tax money and I will fight for them to get it. It will be a long, hard fight, but humanity deserves it. I love America, so much. That is why I protest. That is why I fight. Join me: Use your voice, your money and your vote to make America human again.
The recent attacks at the local newspaper in Annapolis, Md., made me realize how important the Hood River News is to our community. Small local papers like this one are integral to our democracy. The Hood River News not only reports on important local issues, it provides a forum for thoughtful debate. Its reporting on the good things going on in our community might seem soft-handed to some, but it is vital for members of our community to see that their neighbors, the ones they know and the ones they don’t, are good people doing good things, and they should not be feared.
Hood River’s culture is more open, more friendly and more empathetic than most, and the Hood River News is a big part of that. Thanks, Hood River News; and thanks to everyone who produces it.
I suspect most people are unaware that the Hood River Valley High School Speech and Debate team is part of the OSAA (Oregon State Activities Association), which governs football, lacrosse, soccer, etc. Last year, I had the pleasure of participating in multiple Speech and Debate tournaments in Hood River, Clackamas and even Eugene.
In a time when bullying, school shootings and impolite social discourse take place on a daily basis, this group excels in leadership, compassion, dedication and excellence. DeLona Campos-Davis has been coaching the team for four years, providing the highest level of professionalism and guidance to an ever-changing group with diverse backgrounds and interests.
Last year, the team had 11 seniors who provided mentorship and support to many underclassmen, providing them enough knowledge to earn top places in tournaments throughout the year. Some of these seniors will be attending the OSU Honors College, Gonzaga and Utah State University in the fall.
A typical event starts at 5 a.m., as students get on a bus at the school and ends when they get back to Hood River around 11 p.m. Some students start competing before 9 a.m. with their last round starting after 6 p.m. Several events do this two consecutive days with an overnight stay.
Any parents with kids at HRVHS would do well to encourage them to participate on this exceptional team. The growth and maturity I observed in one year for many students, including my own, was a pleasure to witness.
The top “Washington Deceiver” is Trump; he even admits to being a liar. That is not okay for any public official. He has demonstrated that he cares nothing for the “little man,” making the rich richer and making everyone else poorer. He has made us less safe with his irrational foreign policy and by trying to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These are some of the reasons that people oppose and are upset with him. It is absurd to imagine that anyone would be upset by him (or any politician) making us “safer and more prosperous”.
Electric mountain bikes: Where can you ride them?
Recently, there appears to be a dramatic increase in the popularity, use and sales of e-bikes. The purpose of my letter is not to address the use of e-bikes on streets, but rather to address the use of electric mountain bikes on non-motorized trails.
The National Forest Service (NFS) has designated e-bikes as motorized vehicles. Therefore, in any National Forest they are not allowed on non-motorized trails. Basically, if you can’t use a motorcycle or other motorized vehicle on a trail, you cannot use an e-bike on that trail.
Some very popular trail networks in this area are located on land managed by the NFS and, therefore, e-bike use on these trails is currently prohibited. This would include the Route 44 trail system, Falls Creek, Lewis River, Timberline to Town, Pioneer Bridal Trail, etc.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages e-bikes similar to the U.S. Forest Service. E-bikes are not allowed on non-motorized trails on land managed by the BLM. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, e-bikes are not allowed on trails in the Sandy Ridge trail system.
Regarding other non-motorized (singletrack) trails in this area, for instance on land owned by Hood River County or privately owned land, whether e-bikes are allowed on non-motorized trails in those areas is a decision that the county or private land owner needs to make.
I am urging owners of electric mountain bikes and the merchants that sell them to make themselves and, in the case of merchants, their customers, aware of where they can and cannot legally ride e-bikes.
I have no doubt as to the sincerity of GW Clive’s letter of June 27: “Get on Board or Get Left Out."
But that old song of the South “Wait for the Wagon” stirs this memory of its words:
“Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band, We are going to fight the Yankees, and drive them from our land.
“Justice is our motto, and providence our guide, So jump into the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride!
“Wait for the wagon, the dissolution wagon!
“The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride!”
It goes on in this spirit for several more verses. Perhaps I see more hate in Trump than does Mr Clive. I certainly would reach an opposite conclusion to the letter’s assumption, “Anyone who looks at the results of what Trump has done cannot argue with those results."
Picket fence of process
I miss the space. The silent, elegant, deliberative doubt.
I lament the passing of that which occurs between the pickets; the trip, fall and picking themselves up again of words carefully selected or, equally important, discarded.
I miss the process.
Friends say: “Why don’t you text?” I smile. And as my lips part to articulate, their question genuflects to a tweet and, racing to catch up collapses breathless into a pew packed with like-fingered participants leaving me speechless.
Process. DUE process.
I think of vines, their leaves glistening with moisture and pushing gracefully different views between the rigid assertions of white paint.
The seemingly migratory have needs, too, perhaps they most of all; and so the doe, her neck at risk from fenced points, leans and stretches carefully to drink from the bird bath.
To fence or not to fence. Or, as our beloved Robert Frost, a farmer, in the midst of the uncertainty that is all gardening courageously shared:
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
I miss the doubt. Does that surprise? Again the poet (me):
Aids to Navigation
Unlike the pilings close inshore
that congregate about the wharf,
they seem to doubt.
To navigate safely, to govern safely, as we the people must, is to doubt. And so I do, as well should you. And thus, together, we may test all certainty that would wall without pickets, without space, without hesitation, without doubt, without concern for due process.
Look to future
When the last foreign members of my family immigrated to the U.S. 100 years ago from Norway, the difficulties that motivated them must be some of the same issues that motivate immigrants today: Yearning to live a better life for themselves and their families.
This conversation started before we were a country and will continue for many generations to come.
All people, regardless of where they come from or how they get here, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect during the immigration process. As decedents of immigrants, it is our collective responsibility to keep the torch of hope shining bright to those aspiring to live a better life.
This Independence Day, even with the day-to-day challenges in our country and disagreements over immigration, I’m proud to call myself an American and look forward to what our future holds as we change and shift in our society.