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Letters to the Editor 2016-11-17

BRAVE COVER

I am a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in journalism, history and political science. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in determining today’s cover. Given the grim results of the presidential election this week and the protests that proceeded, today’s cover could not have been more appropriate. I appreciate your bravery and journalistic integrity. This made my day.

Nicole Bales, Eugene

 

KLCC CALL OUT

Thank you for your 11/10 cover. It was bleak (appropriately) but very powerful and supportive. Eugene certainly needs one newspaper willing to recognize our political situation for what it is and stand by its progressive outlook and cover local activism.

Thank you KWVA for continuing to air Democracy Now! every weekday morning at 7 am. And Anarchy Radio.

Thank you Jefferson Public Radio for airing the Diane Rehm show and the following call-in show.

Thank you KLCC for … for … for what? Eliminating local call-in radio?  Eliminating Alternative Radio? For devoting seven-and-a-half hours every day to National Pablum Radio news? For filling hours and repeated hours with game show news and shows where weird people tell weird stories about weird things? KLCC subscribers, it’s your call. Do you think that stuff is going to help you make it through the coming consolidation of the alt-right, the Koch brothers and the Donald? I think KLCC needs to do a lot better.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

DOOR IS OPEN

I got a good laugh when reading the Weekly and I found myself described by Marshall Wilde as “malevolent.” Surprising he had such an opinion since I have never even had a conversation with Mr. Wilde. I checked LinkedIn and found only one person in Eugene with that name. I would hope this Marshall is not the same as the former City Club president, especially since City Club’s goal was “dedicated to civil public discourse.” Most definitely could not be the same person whose LinkedIn profile stated that when in the military he “led civilian/military multinational team negotiating with the Afghan government” and “mediated policy disputes between international partners.” No, couldn’t be him, a brilliant legal mind wouldn’t be careless with words and then print them in a public newspaper. Marshall, if someone is surreptitiously signing your name to letters to the editor, perhaps you should ask them to stop and apologize for damaging your public image. If it was really you, Marshall, who wrote that letter, my door is open for a real conversation if you actually want to know what Our Money Our Transit is actually opposing. Perhaps we can find some common ground if you actually took the time to have a conversation.

Bob Macherione, Eugene

 

BIKE NOW

I appreciated Amy Klarup’s feature on bicycling in Eugene — but I hope people don’t take home the wrong message from it.

Certainly, Eugene has a long way to go before everyone will feel comfortable riding a bike everywhere, at any time — but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe to ride a bike here.

During much of every day, even our major streets with bike lanes have very light traffic. Meanwhile, almost anyone would feel comfortable pedaling through the quiet streets of most neighborhoods. And unlike many cities, you can ride Eugene’s off-street paths to reach important destinations.

Maybe you don’t want to ride to work or school, using the same streets you drive on. That’s fine. But could you get there riding on quieter streets, and maybe walking your bike across that one scary intersection? Or if you drive to work, could you use a bike for some other short trips that you do when traffic is lighter?

Don’t wait until Eugene looks like Copenhagen to try traveling by bike. Do it now, when you can and where you’re comfortable. Why should Denmark get all the clean air, healthy bodies and smiling faces?

Sue Wolling, Eugene

 

SILVER LININGS

Let’s not overlook some good news from last week’s election results: The upcoming nuclear winter (remember that one, fellow baby boomers?) precipitated by the impending global nuclear holocaust (aka World War Twee(t)) will bring a swift (albeit temporary) end to global warming.

Apparently, even mushroom clouds have silver linings. Cheers, everyone!

Brian McCall, Eugene

 

TOO SNARKY

I felt vindicated by the well-written criticisms of the Best of Eugene issue printed last week, but it was my beloved’s relating her reaction to reading about “The Skipper” that has me writing. You see, I have a couple of “Oregon Fisherman” caps made by Hat People, one of which I purchased at one of H.P.’s rare appearances at Saturday Market, but they are regulars at Holiday Market. I bought them because they are locally made and great for my outdoor life and work, not because I wanted to be marked a “predator.” 

Yeah — and I have a grey ponytail, which I grew back in Ronnie Raygun’s day after a member of a friend’s church was beaten to death by skinheads in my neighborhood in Portland (Mulageta Seraw was Ethiopian).

And I drive a 2005 Prius I inherited when my partner died of lung cancer in 2012. So I fit the type perfectly, enough that it has been commented on. Were y’all trying to out-snark the Portland Mercury or what? Our society has some hot buttons — like child abuse — that are easily pressed and can cause presumption of guilt. Am I a predator if I look like “skipper” or just an old longhair who likes a good wool hat because I work outdoors?

Rick Valley, Eugene

 

SAGE ADVICE

I was surprised and pleased to read EW’s call to listen to both the supporters and opponents of President-Elect Trump and to “move forward” (“Slant,” 11/10). Sage advice, and I commend EW for it, especially knowing the EW staff’s feelings about the election result.

Some advice to the college and high school students both locally and nationwide who are protesting the outcome of a democratic election: Peaceful protest is fine, but resorting to rioting and mayhem is exactly the kind of behavior that drove many voters to Trump. It’s what we’ve seen some on the left do repeatedly when they don’t get their way. You didn’t see conservative mobs taking to the streets when President Obama was elected.

In the real world — unlike the sheltered and coddled world in which you live — there are winners and losers. Not everybody gets a trophy. If you don’t recognize that now, you will eventually.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

REGRETTABLE MISTAKE

Professor Nancy Shurtz, clearly not a racist, is an ally of those most stridently calling for her resignation. She made a regrettable mistake for which she has apologized.

Constitutional First Amendment freedom of speech and academic freedom, the hearts and souls of a university, are being weakened nationwide by top-level administrators in misguided attempts to insure that students are protected from feeling uncomfortable or upset. Frankly, however, such policies are ludicrous.

The purposes of higher education are to make students think; to inspire them; to teach them how on a bedrock of humanistic values to employ rhetorical effectiveness, insightful vision, and factually-logically-scientifically-based evidence to solve gnarly, complex problems; to objectively and straightforwardly dissect extremely volatile issues — not to coddle and protect students from feeling offended. 

Lurching toward 80, I’ve paid heavy dues for my civil rights activities since I was a teen. Many have paid far heavier dues both before and since. Recognizing the vile effects of racism, we have long worked in numerous ways to counteract it. Racism’s poison, however, is strong and deeply rooted.

I urge those calling for Professor Shurtz’s resignation despite her 34 years of dedicated and distinguished service to read Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. I say to them that what you demand is not what the Civil Rights movement was about, is about or should be about. If my saying so makes me, too, a racist in your eyes, then so be it.

Jerome Garger, Yachats

 

BLACKFACE

I would like to offer some clarity about a white university professor dressing as a respected black writer on Halloween. She was not alone in becoming someone she is not. Some were Darth Vader, children became old witches, men were women, poor were rich, many gentle souls were pirates. The magic of Halloween is transformation, going into the dark of the year.

In more formalized venues like drag shows and theater, we also take great pains to become someone else. We change our gender, age, race, using wigs, makeup, putty, paint, costumes and altering our voices and gaits. This is great! Long live the theater! Also a shout-out of respect to our trans neighbors and friends who changed to become more themselves.

If we want to forbid white impersonating black because of the violence of whites against blacks, and because of hateful impersonations, we must also forbid men impersonating women, because of men’s violence against women, and the history of hateful impersonations, etc., etc.

More important is the quality of the impersonation. The main question being: Is there respect?

The professor impersonated a writer she respects.

Let’s be gentle with each other, amassing our criticism and active resistance for real struggle.

Kari Johnson, Eugene

 

HYPOCRITICAL REACTION

While I share the disgust reaction to a University of Oregon professor wearing a blackface costume, I find the calls for her resignation to be hypocritical, especially coming from attorneys trained to defend the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I have experienced a similar disgust reaction to misogynistic and homophobic portrayals of women and gay people as being dumb or limp-wristed queens, and have felt the urge to call for its censorship.

However, my grandfather taught me that censorship based on disgust can be dangerous, as he witnessed in 1933 at Berlin University where Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s research books on homosexuals were literally burned by Nazis disgusted by it.

I am old enough to have watched “Amos ‘n’ Andy” on network television — a show that was later censored for its virtual blackface racism.

Both blackface and drag queen camp performances are part of the rich history of the theater arts that should not be censored, but preserved in a proper context as lessons for future generations.

Free speech that disgusts or offends anyone, which is not libel or slander, should be countered only with more free speech instead of with punishment or censorship.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis

 

TAINTED POT

Wow, the big news is “tainted marijuana.” I wonder if the oregano I just bought is tainted?

Wise up, suckers, grow your own!

David Feinstein, Marcola

 

NOT IGNORED

Trump supporters complained in this election about how they have been “left behind” and “ignored.” They said their jobs are gone and they felt betrayed by a rigged system. This is what baffles me: Trump’s average supporters are predominantly white. They were the people who worked in the manufacturing industry before automation and global trade deals crept in and replaced them. Automation and trade deals are only going to increase. So, for Trump to promise them manufacturing jobs again is a bald face fantasy/lie. 

My question is, “Why exactly are you feeling left behind?” First, being white gives you innate privilege in the job market that people of color don’t have. Second, every state offers financial aid to help with education expenses. All one has to do is apply then take the initiative to re-educate yourself. 

There are also grants, work study, internships and scholarships that are there for those that take the time to compete for them. There is also SSI for the truly disabled and Medicaid for the low-income people who need health care. Not to mention welfare and food stamps. And there are people who will help you obtain any of these things. 

So, I don’t see the validity of the excuse that you are being ignored or left behind. Many of us have lost our jobs. We were faced with change and I know, personally, when I had to retrain myself in my 40s after my trade was replaced by a computer, I took advantage of all the educational offerings and ended up with a master’s degree with less than $6,500 in school loans to pay back. It wasn’t hard. What was the alternative? Waiting for a politician to  “make America great again?” Ha! 

This is a rough world and you have to hustle and live within your means to make it. If the government is offering a hand, take it, but don’t complain that you are being ignored or left behind. You aren’t.

Annie Kayner, Eugene

 

GLOATING LEERS

I wonder if a bar or coffeeshop would designate a corner, or an hour, for those of us who are terrified of what is coming after the Trump election. Maybe offer a “sad, miserable, wishing there were some way I could stay away from the news as he guts gay rights, women’s reproductive rights and stacked the Supreme Court” hour. You know, like happy hour, but the opposite. Trump hour … for non-Trumpies.

The next four years will be lonely making for many in our community, and sharing a beer or coffee with others could help … away from the gloating leers of the far right.

Hugh Massengill, Eugene

 

TRY FOR CHANGE

Upon seeing the results of this year’s election, there were many people with different reactions. Simply put, some were happy and some were not. In the overall view, neither options for presidency were very appealing. I heard many people say in conversation, “It’s just choosing the lesser of two evils.”

Neither Clinton nor Donald are evil people, but I do believe that they are the result of the system they work in. Politics, in this nation, is considered a corrupt sport. Trust in those that we elect is something that has not existed strongly among the people for a long time. There is a clear split between people due to a lack of understanding and consideration of different points of view.

Regardless of whether you are someone who voted for Trump or Clinton, I think this election has presented a problem, and the way to fix it, to move forward, is to become the change that we want to see. I want to see a government that I can trust, people who are honest within it, and a more optimistic attitude towards government affairs.

How do you start making this change? By trying. So I will try, and I encourage others to do the same.

Brooke Moriarty, Eugene

 

FLUSH THE TOILET

Kudos to our next CIC, POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

He pulled off the biggest con in history.

He played the fear card on the American sheeple like a Stradivarius (if Stradivarius had made dog whistles or bullhorns).

He exposed to the world the truth of the “Ugly American.”

After the party of “I hope he fails” managed to plug the toilet of our democracy, Trump as the biggest, greasiest, shiniest turd, was able to rise to the top.

America’s chicken hawk karma has come home to roost.

The next four years will be a test to see if love can really trump hate.

If not, I think Mother Earth will flush the toilet on her own.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Eugene

 

VOLCANIC EVENT

To witness a significant shift, a division of perception, can be hard to accept for some when it truly changes. For others, it’s just another event without significance or meaning in the nexus of life and death. My way of relating the recent event in our country to something tangible and meaningful in my life follows like this. 

Mount St. Helens’ eruption was violent, the energy release was felt throughout the world, just as this election has been. The mountain showed signs of an inevitable massive eruption years prior to the May 18 explosion. On Nov. 8, we witnessed something many will be shaken by for the rest of their lives. Significant events shape who we are or what we are or were becoming, so in that respect I am grateful. 

I have heard many state that if Trump was elected they would move to Canada or elsewhere. If that is your will, so be it. I support your choice to leave or stay. I wrestled with that very idea myself. My decision is to stay and let the air settle awhile. I expect that with such turmoil there will be interesting and horrific events not far in the future. We will witness and have active participation in those outcomes. That’s why I am staying. After Mount St. Helens erupted, many said it looked terrible, ugly and awful. 

Some living close to the mountain moved far away, far from what they perceived to be a dangerous violent destructive enemy. Others stayed and rebuilt their homes and continue to live with the mountain as their neighbor. They have accepted Loowit for what she is, a strato-volcano which will occasionally blow up as it did in 1980. If you go up to St. Helens now, it is just as beautiful to behold as any of its many sisters. The one difference is Loowit has a scar now, a tattoo on her north flank to indicate who she is within the Cascade system. The Cascades are a young family of mountains, volcanoes that are incredible to witness just as our country is. 

A volcanic eruption is like an election. Some are violent and include the destruction of parts of the main players (Lincoln, Kennedy and other assassinated candidates) while others go on rather uneventfully. Our recent election, I feel, has been rather ugly to behold and might be for some time. I have faith in knowing that following destruction, often, not always, comes a calm, a beauty, balance.

 Jonathan Guske, Eugene

 

 

THANKS, TRUMP

One thing The Donald has done for us throughout the long campaign is to broaden our vocabularies.

Think of it: Words like narcissist, misogynist, xenophobe and demagogue have slipped into common parlance right alongside racist, bully and pussy.

Mike Helm, Eugene

 

LOOKING BACK

Election 2016: Hindsight is 20SANDERS20.

Rick Blake, Springfield


RIGGED SYSTEM

I have refrained from commenting on Trump's victory/stealing of the 2016 election until I had something substantive to say, possibly backed up by some facts. So here goes:

Lee Camp on today's (Nov. 10) Redacted Tonight VIP on rt.com interviewed Greg Palast and one other guest who both agreed that the election was stolen from Hillary by a rigged system. Cross Check suppressed 1.1 million votes of minorities in swing states, the vote totals on electronic voting machines may have been “flipped” (Ohio's safe voting features and auto audit features on their machines were turned off) and to top it all off, in the states where exit polls were conducted at all, there were significant differences between the official vote totals and the raw data exit polls. The exit polls had Hillary winning. Hillary likely won Virginia because the Republican takeover of Virginia's election process was interrupted by a Dem counter-takeover.

John Thielking, Eugene


DON’T BE FOOLED

If you didn’t see National Geographic’s “Before the Flood” (aired on Nat Geo Oct. 30 Sunday night), you need to check it out on Netflix, YouTube, etc., for free. Leonardo DeCaprio reported on the dire state of the planet and global warming caused by excessive carbon pollution, continued fossil fuel development and methane releases. Satellite imagery, renown scientists’ research with fact-based conclusions expose the fossil fuel industry’s blatant denial and callous disregard for the future of humanity on this planet.

The scientific analysis was that we are hurtling towards an environmental Armageddon much sooner than anticipated and has documented events taking place right now. If you care for the future generations and livability of this planet, you need to check out this outstanding documentary so importantly relevant in this time of climate denial and partisanship.

Corporate lobbyists for the fossil fuels industry control Washington and will wage war on anybody that gets in their way. With the passing of Citizens United by the Supreme Court, it has allowed money to be freedom of speech with a huge corporate influx of money that does not have you and me or the planet’s health in mind.

Jon Tipple, Dunes City


OCT. 21 SETBACK

I don’t believe in blindly defending cops, but treating them as if they’re wrong in all situations is just as fooling as uncritically supporting them. Dogmatic, simplistic thinking doesn’t help us deal with complex problems. Blindly jumping onto bandwagons is for fools, not people seriously interested in tackling issues.

Regarding events downtown on Oct. 21, the person EPD attempted to peacefully detain is a convicted sex offender suspected of selling drugs downtown. I’m against the drug war, but cops are being pressured to crack down on bad behavior downtown, and drug dealing is frowned upon by most citizens.

EPD tried to cite and release its suspect, but he was belligerent. He resisted, and they responded by using reasonable force to gain compliance. That’s not police brutality. That’s cops doing their job.

The homeless population consists of many types: addicts, mentally ill, runaways, veterans, etc. It also contains sociopaths, exploiters, pimps and the main abusers of homeless people are the predators among them. Some cops involved in the Oct. 21 incident are in the Community Outreach Response Team (CORT) — a project focused on finding alternatives to jail for addicted and mentally ill people.

CORT cops are wonderful people truly committed to helping the disenfranchised. Sadly, I suspect cops who are skeptical of progressive approaches feel vindicated by events on Oct. 21, events likely to push a frustrated department in a conservative direction.

Oct. 21 was a setback for the homeless, mentally ill, addicted and their advocates.

Pat Coogan, Eugene


TAX RETURNS

Now that Trump is president, it is time for him to release his tax returns. Every president in modern history has released their tax return for transparency and to show that there is no conflict of interest with his appointments or his actions.

Trump is involved with many foreign projects. This leads to questions concerning his involvement in offshore tax shelters or other possible schemes.  I don’t know if this is true, but it might be. Why doesn’t he release his tax returns? Will his tax returns show his companies are receiving favorable treatment in return for favors? Is that why Putin helped Trump in his election efforts? Without Trump’s tax returns, who can tell?

In addition, the senate has to approve Trump’s nominations. Without transparency, who can be sure these nominations are based solely on merit. Trump needs to release his tax returns for sake of transparency.

Besides, Trump demanded President Obama show his birth certificate, the least Trump can do is release his tax returns.

 Frank Vignola, Eugene


OUR FIGHT

Some of my best friends and I are about to willingly become members of a very looked down upon class of Americans — the convicted. As I write, a good friend and kind decent man is looking at spending the next 10 years of his life behind bars.

At 64 years old, going into the “golden years” in jail is not much to look forward to. What can we say to his 8-year-old grandson?

“Grandpa loved you too much to let the planet be destroyed without a fight? That he so wanted you to have a livable home with clean air, water and food that he risked his freedom to be with you? That his ‘crime’ was trying to protect you by turning the valve in a pipeline that was bringing the black snake oil of Tar Sands oil from Canada that threatens and kills so many while enriching so few?”

Friends, it is time to stand up to the destructive extreme energy of fossil fuels. This is no more a “crime” than fighting to free the slaves or the 100-year struggle it was for women to get the vote! While I never thought I would be convicted of civil disobedience for blocking an oil train, the times are calling. The climate crisis is now. This is our fight! We have an opportunity to tell our elected officials that we oppose the Jordan Cove Pacific Connector gas export pipeline that is planned for southern Oregon. Join the statewide rally in Salem Nov. 14. See website world.350.org/eugene for details and carpool.

Debra E. McGee, Eugene


HISTORY LESSON

Here’s a recent little history lesson: Despite the fact that both the federal and state governments of these United States has seldom failed to bring the forcible extent of its military and police capacity against its own citizens, the yearning for equitable justice for all has not deterred those citizens from action. The long struggle for racial justice and the struggle against the war in Vietnam bear this assertion out. Just in the period January 1969 to April 1970, a Senate Investigations Subcommittee estimated that 862 incidents of bombings and attempted bombing against the government and corporations affiliated with the war occurred on and off college campuses, while the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms estimated some 5,000 bombings and attempts occurred during this same period. 

In May 1970, six students were killed and 21 injured by National Guard and police at Kent Sate and Jackson State (three more killed in July at the universities of Kansas and Wisconsin, and one 21-year-old activist in Houston), but students still went out on strike at 360 schools, and 536 colleges and universities shut down with more than 1,800 people arrested for demonstrating against the government just between May 1 and May 15 of 1970.

President Nixon successfully bought off student discontent when he ended the draft, but I wonder what will happen if President-elect Trump tries to enact the deportation policies he has espoused. How many of us might refuse to stand by while neighbors, friends and acquaintances are detained by immigration authorities? I also wonder how it feels to have voted for a candidate who, according to the National Law Journal (11/7/16) brings approximately 175 pending lawsuits against him to the White House, ranging from civil fraud to alleged sexual assault.

James W. Luzzi, Eugene