Joy and praise
This letter is not political nor is it a complaint … it is a letter of praise! I am so fortunate to be a member of the Hood River Valley Christian Church. We are a warm, accepting and loving church family. Today our service involved praise through music and prayer. We have many talented singers and musicians in our congregation. Our choir, led by Betty Osborne, was truly inspirational, with “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” accompanied by pianist Mary Ann Parrott and bass player Emily Krager; our guest violinist, Chari Harrington, played like an angel during the prelude, offertory and postlude; and we have four exceptionally talented pianists, Nancy Krieg, Thelma Warnock, Margaret Marshall and Mary Ann Parrott and Thelma, Margaret and May Ann performed a piano trio, which radiated a feeling of incredible joy and peace. All of these wonderful moments were tied together by our elders, Doug Massingill and Jennifer Stager in the absence of our Pastor, Alicia Speidel. Thank, you, Lord, for the sharing of your love and grace through these incredible people.
Conservative raffle rifles
Raffling off semi-automatic assault rifles to raise money is a double-edged sword. Money going to the needy appears noble, but who controls who gets those rifles? Those weapons will be kicking around in anyone’s hands 100 years from now. Can you guarantee they will remain in responsible hands? One bad incident will negate all the good bought with the raffle cash.
My take, as a conservative long-term hunter, is that a five-shot rifle will kill anything that walks this planet. Raffle me one of those. My observation is also that many persons who claim conservatism are very loosey-goosey about where they shoot, what they shoot at and the messes they leave behind. I am frankly appalled by the senseless waste and reckless endangerment generated by many of these irresponsible persons, some of whom may have acquired your raffle rifles. The BLM Grasslands outside of Madras just off of Lone Pine Road is loaded with wasted targets, litter and shell casings. Targets with no hillside backing, firing lines across trails and roads, or aimed toward distant farms. That kind of waste is not uncommon. It indicates that we have many irresponsible shooters in our country.
If you aren’t willing to police these people, you shouldn’t be handing out weapons that might fall into their hands. Conservative society has generally tried to protect the innocent from dangerous weapons that might be wielded accidentally or on purpose by stupid, careless, inebriated or angry humans. Let’s pray all the bragging about rubbing people’s noses in the dirt because they are concerned about public safety doesn’t come back to bite us in the form of a semi-automatic raffle rifle.
Strengthen voting rights
We are lucky to live in a state where voting is incredibly accessible to all citizens. We are given three weeks to study and discuss our choices before Election Day and we are one of the few states in the country that votes in this sensible way. In states dominated by Republicans like our Congressman Greg Walden, the voting laws are becoming more and more restrictive in an effort to keep minority, poor and young voters, who are more likely to be Democrats, from voting. This recent ruling by the Supreme Court allowing Ohio to purge the voting rolls of those who haven’t voted recently went straight down party lines, with the five justices placed by Republican presidents being in favor of voter repression. Do we want a democracy where we ALL have a say in our government, or do we want an oligarchy — a country run by a few privileged, white (mostly) men? I know where I stand and that is with what is fair and decent for all.
I stand with Jamie McLeod Skinner for Congress in 2018, a strong candidate who will work to strengthen, not weaken, voting rights for all people in America.
Immigration reform now
We are a nation of immigrants and our history should compel us to be generous in accepting people seeking freedom and a better life.
Nations also have a right and duty to maintain their borders, deciding who can enter, who is eligible for legal status and who is a citizen.
Those rights carry with them a moral obligation to deal humanely with refugees and asylum seekers, and especially with children.
America has over 11 million people undocumented people living here. A little more than half crossed illegally into the U.S. The rest are here after overstaying their visas. Most came for economic reasons. Many from Mexico as a result of NAFTA and trade policies that drove farmers off their lands. Many cross the border today to take jobs that farmers need to pick their crops and businesses need to fill jobs that Americans are reluctant to work at. While some workers have been hurt by competition with immigrants, the vast majority of households, farmers and businesses have greatly benefited. These immigrants are a vital part of our communities and economy.
As we have made it harder to come to the U.S. legally, illegally or as a refugee or asylum seeker, we see people taking increasingly dangerous and sometimes fatal measures to cross our borders. Today, we find the administration separating children from their parents to use as hostages to build a border wall and reduce legal immigration. We can and must do better than this.
We need comprehensive immigration reform. Reform that brings the 11 million out of the shadows and gives them legal status. Reform that allows farmers and businesses to hire guest workers freely able to legally cross borders. Reform with employment verification programs that reduce the incentives to cross illegally or overstay visas. Reforms that brings skilled workers and entrepreneurs we need to grow the economy.
Reforms that meet our moral obligations to legitimate refugees and asylum seekers. Reform that protects children and Dreamers.
We need reform that is true to our history and values!
Rights and responsibility
In the 1790s, the U.C. Constitution was ratified by the colonies. Along with it came slavery. It was probably necessary to get the southern colonies to pass it as rich plantation owners in the south were dependent on slavery to keep their plantations running and to maintain their way of life. We fought the civil war to eliminate slavery and passed an amendment in 1865 to codify it’s elimination. The stain of slavery still remains with us.
In 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified. It included the Second Amendment, often referred to as the right to bear arms. Recently, a member of our community has felt enabled to raffle off military grade rifles to citizens of our community, calling those who disagree with him names and appearing to take glee in the distribution of a firearm type that took the lives of 58 and wounded 489 at a concert in Las Vegas. That doesn’t include all the schools, theaters, clubs, churches and street shootings and murders that have also occurred in the last 25-30 years.
Yes, he has the right, but with rights come responsibilities. He doesn’t appear to care about the latter. Just as we eliminated slavery, we can eliminate or modify the Second Amendment, make it into something that allows those who enjoy shooting and hunting access to sporting rifles and pistols and keeps them and military grade weapons out of the hands and homes of those who might be tempted to use them to harm others.
Just for the heck of it, let us pretend that none of our systems are broken or out of control. Just for the sake of argument, let us say they are all doing just what they were designed to do. This would mean the primary goal of our economy is to make rich people richer. On the other (or is it the same) “magic” hand, the primary goal of our welfare system would be to trap generation after generation in bone deep poverty. Perhaps our conservative brethren are right to complain about this second one. If so, what should we do about it?
Am I missing something?
‘Do as I say’
Don’t you just love people who exclaim loudly their dislike for people who “tell everybody how to live their lives” (Cliff Mansfield, Our Readers Write, June 13) when they are doing exactly that — telling others how to live their lives. The best example I can think of is Cliff Mansfield. His donating AR-15s is telling everyone to just live with the threat of any of these weapons being used to kill people of any age at schools, churches, concerts, sports, etc.
He “doesn’t care what you think.” Is this hypocrisy or what?
Maybe I should be fair, maybe there are those of us who don’t care what he thinks, only what he does and the potential for the consequences.
‘Ate one too’
It appears that the Deep State in the deep swamp has a badly clogged drain. Meanwhile its occupants, The Washington Deceivers, continue to trash, tromp and trample Trump. You can almost hear them: “He’s not our kind! He has to go!” I would ask Plumber Flush Flanahan to try and drain said swamp … but last week he made a fountain out of a molehill. Anybody out here know how to turn a swamp into quicksand? If so, snail mail me at 8 1 2 Green Apple Ave., Hood River.