Letters to the Editor for June 23

Editor’s note: The “family separation” controversy dominates the letters submitted for this edition. Most of the letters were received prior to President Trump’s Wednesday Executive Order ending the policy of detaining children separately from parents. Unresolved issues, despite the president’s action, are the broader issues of where to house families and what federal officials will do about the thousands of separated children, as well as the politics behind “zero tolerance” and the practice of removing children from their parents.

Preference for cruelty

I look forward to hearing an explanation from the GOP, including our Representative, of their position on the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents while they seek asylum when entering the U.S. As immigration officials have indicated that they have no intention of reuniting these families, the policy can essentially be considered kidnapping.

This practice has been appropriately criticized by the United Nations, former First Lady Laura Bush and even the current First Lady. Yet, Republican officials have largely remained silent, affirming their support for barbaric behavior that does not belong in a civilized country.

Is there a point when the GOP decides they can no longer support the actions of a president who has demonstrated a clear preference for this cruelty? Is it asking too much of them to stand for those who are fleeing the violence of their home countries, only to be betrayed by the country that once offered respite to “huddled masses yearning to breathe free?”

Larry Jacoby

Hood River

Silence is deafening

What country would separate nursing children from their mothers? Attorney General Jeff Sessions says we’ll prosecute those who violate our borders — doesn’t he mean persecute? How do you prosecute toddlers? Apparently by locking them in dog pounds in Texas. My dog Bianca was a rescue dog and she was being cared for in better conditions than some of these children.

We have a federal official on site saying, “If we had a conductor, we’d have an orchestra,” referring to children crying for parents that they’ve been separated from.

Sleeping on cement floors, being fed burgers and fries — why, that’s as good as what the president feeds himself. I saw Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer all down in Texas protesting. Our Rep. Greg Walden is supposed to be a supporter of the administration. Does he believe in separating children from their parents? Have you heard anything from him?

The silence is deafening.

So, what’s next? Those of us who disagree with the administration get cage detention until we repent?

You’ll notice that almost none of the congressional Republicans have the courage to stand up and say enough — after all, you wouldn’t want to lose a race or be separated from all that lobbyist money.

The policy to abuse these children is nothing more than an executive order from the president, and it could be changed instantly.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

‘Try to love one another’

The individual who is supposed to lead our government said Americans should be quiet and stand still when he talks, like they do in North Korea.

We don’t do that. We talk and listen, walk and give and vote for justice, freedom, peace and truth.

As Oregonians, we can be proud that Senator Merkley has worked to bring to light the abuse our government is committing to the families and children of people trying to immigrate to our country. To separate children from their parents as they flee violence and oppression is against our American heritage and against the moral fiber of our human character.

To say, as Attorney General Sessions did, that Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Romans says that we have to do what the government says falsely represents the teaching of Paul and, more importantly, the message of Jesus. Paul says people living in society need an orderly and just government to protect the innocent, convict the guilty and promote good.

Paul writes the authority that governments have comes from God and is to provide an environment where people can live safe, healthy lives, in order to care, in love, for one another. Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence echoes this when he writes that governments exist to insure the rights of individuals to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Paul also is very willing to criticize and oppose government when it is corrupt and wrong. Read Acts 16 or Acts 23 and you will see Paul telling the government to do good instead of evil.

Even the devil can quote scripture. When you hear someone — even this writer — quoting scripture, look it up for yourself. Read the passages that precede and follow it, ask what the writer’s message is, and then decide if the quote is being used accurately.

The time has come for us as Americans, as human begins, to work and give and stand up for truth and justice and equality and the freedom to do works of compassion.

“Come on people, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.”

Rev. Steve Tyson

Hood River

Trust gone

This letter is directed to my current representative in congress, Greg Walden:

While I often disagree with your policies throughout the many years that you’ve served in congress, I know you personally to be a dedicated representative that clearly has a grasp of issues important to eastern Oregonians. I appreciate your efforts to promote economic growth and family- wage jobs for our local communities, and your work on behalf of veterans.

However, I absolutely no longer trust you, the president, his administration or other silent members of Congress to represent the mission and values of the United States as humanitarian country.

The current policy of separating children from parents at our southern border is cruel and unnecessary. The law does not require systematic separation of families entering the U.S. to flee persecution, crushing poverty, violence or danger in their home countries.

Not only does it traumatize young children, it forces federal prosecutors to arrest, detain and prosecute every single “illegal entry” misdemeanor defendant when they could be focusing on human trafficking, violent crime, financial fraud, drug cartels, etc.

Do you agree with Trump’s claim that Democrats actually want MS-13 gang members to “infest” our country because they “view gang members as potential voters”? This is not leadership. I’m dumbfounded that you apparently don’t recognize that this rhetoric and unnecessarily cruel policy won’t work towards finding a solution to deterring illegal immigration.

Are you afraid to publicly rebuke the heroic lack of integrity and leadership of the current administration because of a possible voter backlash, preventing you from re-election?

I’m disappointed in the United States abdication of global leadership in many areas, including humanitarian issues, climate change and trade policy. It’s especially disheartening to watch silent members of congress stand by and allow it.

Dee Holzman

Hood River

Letter to Walden

Dear Representative Walden: I’d like to hear from you on what your position is on what is tragically going on at our southern boarders, specifically pertaining to separating children from their parents and using a vague law that allows our president to manipulate it to meet his very vague agenda.

Are you just letting our president do whatever he pleases, with you and your colleagues staying the course by supporting this catastrophe?

You’re all looking like puppets, with our president pulling your strings once again.

I think we agree that there are “legal rights” that need to be enforced, but what about “human rights”? There’s nothing humane about what our (you) officials are doing to these families!

If this “vague law” has been in our books for so long, why hasn’t it been used to the degree it is now? It’s my hope that you have the courage to stand up against this vague law and to stand up against this president who is tearing up the morals and humanity of our great country.

I sincerely hope to hear back from you on this matter and perhaps that you’re planning a town meeting here in Hood River. I’m sure the residents here would love to hear from you in person vs. just a newsletter.

A grandson of Mexican immigrants,

Ed Medina

Hood River


Bring to mind your beloved son or daughter, your precious grandchild or niece or godchild whom you adore. Pull them into your lap, hold them in your arms, and feel their warm head snuggle into your chest. Close your eyes and breathe in their deliciousness. Feel your love.

Now imagine your child being dragged out of your arms, kicking and screaming and crying out for you in panic. Imagine your beloved and frantic child being taken away to some unknown place and being dumped among strangers. You cannot reach them, they are gone. They are taken away from their family, the people who love and care for them. You are gone.

No matter what your political beliefs are, no matter if you believe deterrence works or not, this is, in anyone’s definition, inhumane. It will scar these children for the rest of their lives. It is cruel and unusual punishment. There are laws against this.

As a friend said recently, if we allow this, as Americans we have lost our soul.

Pursue whatever political priorities you hold dear. Please speak out against this truly barbaric practice.

Pam Tindall

White Salmon

Not a solution

While I agree that illegal immigration needs to be fixed, the forced separation of families is not the way to do it. The argument of using harsh methods as a deterrence tactic is a superficial look at the larger problem of why these people are risking so much to leave their homes in the first place. I’m so sorry on behalf of my government to the voiceless people who are being subjected to such inhuman treatment.

Avery Hoyt

White Salmon

Offer helping hand

When you take your dog to be boarded, he feels very dejected, and you feel guilty. However, you go off on your trip and, when you return, your dog is overjoyed to see you, jumping around in excitement. He has completely forgotten that you are the one who put him in the kennel to begin with.

When Donald Trump decided to stop “killers and rapists” from “infesting” our country (his words, not mine), he declared that one way to deter immigrants from entering the United States illegally was to separate them from their children upon capture. This plan went into effect, with who knows how much long-term psychological and physical damage suffered already by distraught parents and terrified toddlers. I do know that one man committed suicide in his cell, having been torn from his wife and child. One child was too terrified to eat.

Most of these people are fleeing from the real killers and rapists in their own countries who are happy to stay there.

Now, after a worldwide outcry, during which Trump steadfastly refused to soften his stance, he has decided to rescind the order to separate children from families. The traveler has returned and we bet that all the dogs will now bow down in gratitude to our tweeting president for stopping an inhumane policy that should never have been enacted in the first place.

During the controversy heard one public official call illegal immigrants “criminals,” who should be treated as such. “We don’t let criminals take their families to jail, do we?” he asked an incredulous reporter.

Let’s be clear: most of these individuals are not criminals. They are hungry, desperate people who are fleeing unspeakable threats, gangs, war, terror, government persecution and starvation in their own homelands. This is happening worldwide. The right thing to do is to offer them a helping hand and share some of our great wealth with them.

Wendy and Dick Best


‘Certainly not this’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ behavior makes a mockery of the Bible and Christianity as a whole. His inappropriate reference to Bible verses is just as improper as Muslim extremists who cite the Quran as justification for murder.

I encourage all good Christians to speak out against Sessions’ lack of understanding of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus himself.

Compassion, love, and humility may be good places to start. WWJD, Mr. Sessions? Certainly not this.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

You’ve got to see ‘Chicago’

It’s across the bridge in Bingen. And it is not “windy.” It is sardonic, it is evil, it is topical to today’s news and political scene, yet it takes place in the “Roaring Twenties.” It is the Ebb-Fosse-Kander musical “Chicago,” whose list of awards, recognitions and long-running performances is a page long.

And it is all-singing, all-dancing!

Director Bruce Ludwig has brought this new production to the Columbia River Gorge through the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association with a cast of 22 singing and dancing actors, a stage band of 14 jazz musicians and a production crew of 32 who created new stage designs, lighting, costumes and choreography. And some thought he was crazy!

It all works! It is a close to a night on Broadway as we may see here and it is a dazzling delight. The full title of the musical is “Chicago: a Vaudeville.” And this production gets it!

The story, with its singing and dancing akin to the movies of the ‘30s with chorus boys and girls, fighting would-be stars making up fake headlines as they go along to dominate news cycles, a lying lawyer with the gift of gab and reporters hungry for the next shiny object are moved through the plot by a melodious MC.

Here’s the catch. The show has performances coming up on June 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. They are sold out! But an informed source leaked that there are some 16 tickets held for sale at the box office each of these nights. There have been lines.

Standing in your place at 5 p.m. is recommended!

Dick Swart

Hood River

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