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Bentz's support of investigation is dangerous

I read with dismay Rep. Cliff Bentz’s decision to support an investigation of the 2020 presidential election.

I understand why he thinks this is a positive move for him, but it is a very dangerous, and I mean physically dangerous, act to signal to the people in his district.

Rep. Bentz and others in Congress who support this action know that the election was legitimate, as evidenced by the 60-odd rejected lawsuits President Trump filed in various states claiming vote irregularities. If Bentz believes the false narrative of voter fraud, stolen ballots, etc., he has no business being in the halls of Congress, and needs to educate himself about the elections process. If Biden were falsely elected, it would mean he, too, was falsely elected.

My husband and I spent much time in Nevada and Eastern Oregon this summer. There were Trump sign everywhere. We got out of our car at a rest stop at the same time two rough appearing individuals got out of their truck to use the restroom. They did not have masks on. My husband waited at the back of the restroom while those men were using the facilities. Another man walked in, and asked my husband why he was standing by the door. My husband told him that the other men didn’t have masks on, so he was waiting until they were through. One of the men turned around and said “If you say another word, I’m going to flatten you.”

Think about that for a minute. My husband wasn’t even talking to the angry men. He didn’t ask them to put masks on, and the man threatened my husband for simply saying in so many words that he wanted to protect himself while he waited for the men to leave.

This is what our country has come to. Is this the kind of behavior Bentz wants to encourage? The bullying, intimidating, take-no-prisoners approach that our president has used to intimidate others, which emboldens dangerous individuals in our society to physically threaten anyone who does not think like them? This in the middle of a pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people in our country! After that incident, we were not surprised to find, 10 miles down the road, a huge Trump rally underway.

I do not want to live in fear for my life simply by asking someone to put on a mask. A virus is not a political entity, but it has been manipulated into one, to the detriment of everyone. It is irrational.

These are the people that Bentz is appealing to in his action to keep the false belief alive about the election. That is not governance.

I ask Bentz to lead by putting to rest the idea that soon-to-be President Biden was illegitimately elected. Instead, I encourage him to make his legislative agenda about real issues that effect Oregonians: economic development for everyone, especially those barely hanging on due to the pandemic, protecting the resources that make our state great so future generations can enjoy them, shoring up our highway infrastructure. If he wants to assure his legacy as a consummate statesman, he should work with all members of the legislature to get things done. Compromise is not a weakness. It’s the only way legislation gets passed.

Fostering a false narrative will only lead to further division. I believe his actions and those of others are putting us on a road to civil war, which would completely destroy our country. I am very, very concerned about the future of Oregon and the United States. I am sure Rep. Bentz loves our country as much as I do. I am sure every Oregonian who voted for Trump loves our state as much as I do. I don’t think there are differences so vast that can not be successfully addressed by the hard work of bipartisan legislation.

Bentz, as our leader, has been elected to perform the difficult work to heal the chasm that exists between right and left, conservative and progressive, red and blue. It’s much harder to reach out to work together than it is to sit in the corner with nay-saying supporters keeping us at odds.

Please, for the good of the country and all Americans, I ask Rep. Bentz to rescind his support for an investigation of nonexistent election irregularities. I ask him to lead his constituents away from this empty effort. I ask him to do what needs to be done, and not be sidetracked by this dangerous effort. Letting citizens know he has their best interests at heart, he will be supported. Our democracy is at risk. He needs to be a part of keeping America intact, not further tearing it apart.

Cindy Harper lives in Talent.

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