Dangerous nationalism
In my previous letter (“Trump’s racism,” July 27), I laid out examples of Donald Trump’s racist behavior dating back decades. “But Ben,” you might be saying, “who cares? What does this have to do with policy?”
 
Let’s talk about what white nationalists, colloquially known as Nazis, want. This is often difficult to discern and will require you drill down through many layers of euphemism, through talk of the right of a state to secure its borders, to know who’s coming and going, about national sovereignty and national identity; they’ll bring up Japan and Israel as examples of functioning ethnostates, and if that isn’t convincing, they’ll draw an analogy between the genocide of Native Americans by Portuguese, Spanish, and English colonists, and imperialists, to the influx of Hispanic immigrants.
 
What they are trying to do is to get you to soften on the idea that European heritage is white heritage, that it is valuable and worth preserving, that America should be a homeland for those people and their culture, and finally, that anybody else should be deported or relegated to a non-citizen class with no protection from exploitation.
 
Let’s be painfully clear here: Religious and ethnic statism is bad. It is exclusionary and reliably leads to a great deal of suffering for a great number of people. Japan’s xenophobic immigration policies are hurting their people and their country, and Israel has committed numerous human rights violations against the Palestinian people. But because the existence of white nationalists necessitates a greater sensitivity to anti-Semitic rhetoric, I can’t criticize Israel without looking like the very racists I oppose with every fiber of my being.
 
So, what does this have to do with Trump? He has breathed oxygen into the fire of white nationalism, which constitutes the greatest threat to human happiness and wellbeing globally, second only to climate change, which will only exacerbate the former problem as more and more people are displaced from their homes.
 
As I write this, another white nationalist has committed a mass shooting, and far from condemning the movement, the administration is considering classifying anti-fascists as a terror organization.
 
Benjamin Sheppard
Hood River
 
Editor’s note: Benjamin Sheppard is a social worker.
 
Trump lies
Here is a quote from Trump during the signing of the 9/11 victims fund: “I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there with you.” Can you believe it? What will he lie about next? Maybe he was one of the coaches of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic team, or he was responsible for the Apollo 11 moon landing, or he built the Boulder Dam and Mexico paid for it. And he probably helped Sully Sullenberger land flight 1549 on the Hudson in 2009. And yet, the Trumpers believe in this president!
 
Ron Yamashita
Hood River
 
Thanks, Kirby
I want to take a moment to appreciate Kirby Neumann-Rea. We are lucky to have such a thoughtful and sensitive man bringing us news in the area.
We live in a time where our news providers are often under attack, and I can see how difficult a challenge it is to try to connect with people right now when we have such powerful division in our political and social lives. I think Kirby does an amazing job of making the news be about people.
 
I have seen first-hand how thoughtfully Kirby treats the young people in our community. He is engaged and empathetic and encouraging. He has a way of making people feel like their story is important.
 
I’ve also seen him be gentle and careful with vulnerable friends. I’ve seen him be sensitive with private information. I’ve seen him be reassuring, too.
I want to publicly thank Kirby for delicately dealing with the people of the Hood River Valley. Thanks, Kirby. You are doing wonderful work in a public space and also behind the scenes.
 
Gabriel Judah
The Dalles
 
Freedom of speech
In answer to Steve Kaplan’s letter to the editor of June 12, and other letters to the editor over these last few months: “Cancerous ideas” by Nathan Smith; “Faith in love” by Susan Sorenson; “Love” by Nancy Paul; “Speak Up” by Melanie Salisbury; “True history” by Steve Kaplan; “Immigration” by Beth Flake, and let us not forget that our retiring Mayor (Paul) Blackburn called me a bigot on Channel 2 news, having never met me, or talked to me, those that have torn up my reader board and called my God vulgar names, and all the other letters for the past two and a half years that have made derogatory, hateful, unloving remarks against me, Jesus, God’s church that I pastor, all the other Christian that stand for God’s word, our president and our country that I love so much.
 
Tolerance is one of the greatest ironies of our time. When LGBTQ+ makes fun of Christians, it’s called freedom of speech. When atheists make fun of Christians, it’s called freedom of speech. When the left insults, makes fun of the president, it’s called freedom of speech. But when a Christian shares the Gospel, proclaims that abortion is murder, that gender is not something you decide based on preference, to honor a president that is following Biblical principles, it’s called “hate speech.” Everybody’s opinion is respected unless you’re a Christian proclaiming God’s word, the Holy Bible (the only holy book).
 
Pastor Mike Harrington
Hood River
 
Editor’s note: While it is true that vandals have stolen and rearranged readerboard letters at his church, Belmont Avenue Missionary Church, some assertions need clarifying: None of the letters Pastor Harrington cited made negative comments about his church other than to question the readerboard statements against Islam and LGBTQ+. Only one of the letters makes any specific reference to the Belmont Church readerboard. Nor do any of the letters cited make any statement against Jesus, Christians or God. Several, but not all, were critical of President Trump. Several of the letters concern immigration policy and the observance of July 4 and make no reference to any faith, church, or individual.
 
‘Tidal wave of hatred’
With all of the Washington, D.C., and New York City media bombarding the president with fraudulent frame of mind reports about him … not to mention the litigational left in Congress attacking the oval office with baseless, politically motivated messages every minute of every day … I’m continuously amazed at Trump’s ability to remain standing as he successfully surfs the left’s tidal wave of hatred.
 
Bill Davis
Hood River
 
Silence and the rats
Last week, he made it crystal clear. Beneath that ridiculous combover is a Skinhead, a White Nationalist, a White Supremacist. He claimed that Elijah Cummings, a black Congressman from Baltimore and a civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death by police for walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., represents a “rat and rodent-infested mess” where “no human would want to live.” The Baltimore Congressional District is majority black. Trump made this claim despite his son-in-law Jared Kushner owning several properties in Baltimore, which were recently found to be rodent-infested, as was his Trump Tower Grill. Who is a rat-infested slumlord and who is responsible for any rodent investigation?
 
Along with his other taunts to female minority Congressional members to go back to where they came from and to stop telling how to govern the country, he has made it clear that he and his party represent only White Southern Christians and those who hold similar supremacist sentiments.
 
No Republican Congressperson has condemned these outrages, not even your own U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River. His silence tells us everything we need to know.
 
Lance S. Stryker
White Salmon
 
‘Not those’
As demonstrated by his recent interview with Hood River News, Sen. Chuck Thomsen didn’t heed economic reality when he joined the rest of the Senate Republican caucus in walking out on our state’s future. If he did, he would have known fleeing the state last month to derail the popular Clean Energy Jobs bill meant that he was walking out on the prospect of 50,000 new jobs for Oregonians across the state.
 
HB 2020 not only would have confronted the growing threat of climate change, which imperils the bottom line of our businesses and the wellbeing of our citizens, but it would have flipped the script to create an enormous economic opportunity for Oregon. As director of strategy and integration at Tofurky, one of Hood River County’s largest employers, I can tell you that passing the bill would have established Oregon as an international destination for clean energy investments (including in rural communities like ours). It also would have helped us diversify our economy and attract thousands of new jobs that couldn’t be outsourced, all while doing our part to ensure the stable climate we need to continue thriving. As a fruit farmer, Sen. Thomsen should know better than most how a destabilized climate threatens our livelihoods and wellbeing.
 
Clean energy technologies are the fastest growing job sectors across the entire economy, and I cannot fathom how Sen. Thomsen and his Republican colleagues thought running away from this chance to invest in Oregon’s clean energy economy would lead our state towards a more prosperous future. We need leaders with the courage to face our problems and the vision to transform them into opportunities. The lawmakers who turned tail and ran from HB 2020 are not those leaders.
 
Chris Dennett
Hood River 

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