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Letters: Feb. 4-5

Democracy at its best

Here we go again: a local arch-conservative rejecting socialism out of hand. I’m referring to Gordon DeVos’ recent letter, in which he wrote “we don’t want to be a socialist nation. That would only divide us more than we already are.”

Does he have any idea how many socialist programs already exist in this country (for example: Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance; the military; fire and police departments; public schools, libraries, water and sewer works; and agricultural and oil subsidies)?

Does he know how many of these programs are popular with most Americans (including conservatives)?

Does he know that Denmark, a democracy, is a far more socialist nation than ours and that Danes are measurably among the happiest people on Earth?

There are good reasons our country has democratically chosen to embrace certain socialist programs.

If only Mr. DeVos had expressed interest in a thoughtful debate based on evidence, rather than ideology, about what an appropriate and constructive balance between socialism and capitalism might look like, then liberals and centrists willing to do the same could join him and his compatriots in a collaborative search for unity, demonstrating democracy at its best.

Vicki Fox


Heroes to zeros

A white mob of Trump radicals, spurred on by their love object, had their greatest moment Jan. 6 when they toppled the first founding myth: America “ as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us”; a shining beacon of hope that proclaims our exceptionalism to the world.

But the world’s reactions to the riot on the Capitol building have made plain that nobody believes that chauvinism anymore.

Far from being an inspirational beacon on the world’s aspirational landscape, America is now seen as being nothing more than a gaudy, Trump-branded roadside attraction; just one more rest stop on the journey to manage human affairs through political means.

Biden wants us to reascend the hill and light the beacon again.

It may as well be the Bat Signal: the world now looks elsewhere when it wants to contemplate the potential for equitable, rational, democratic politics.

(Heck, even Luxembourg’s foreign minister has dissed us.) Others now correctly understand us as a deeply flawed, bizarrely constituted republic teetering on a fascism fueled by a rancid mixture of testosterone, anger, resentment and persecution fantasies.

From heroes to zeros in four short years.

John Gaffey


Anti-racism workshops

The conspicuous silence with which Aidan Ellison’s murder has been met is unconscionable. We must do more than offer “thoughts and prayers.” We must do more than talk about how wrong it is.

Let us rise together, in our grief and conviction, to prevent another senseless murder of a young Black boy. Let us make Ashland the shining example of how a community can transform, from the inside out, into the most anti-racist, safe and loving, celebratory town in Oregon. Let us do this together through actions, not words.

There is a coalition forming between local business, individuals, social justice groups and Ashland High School’s new “Truth to Power’’ club, all of whom are working toward a “Promise to Aidan.” A promise that his death will be the beginning of our journey to become allies together for decency, safety and a better future.

Join us for the next upcoming workshop, designed to help white people understand how we can change our practices to be better allies. 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7: Dear White Folks 2: How To Be Anti-Racist (Zoom link https://tinyurl.com/yyk4gky6)

Email: truthtopowerclub@gmail.com

Megan Sheer


Oppose SB254

I have been an educator in Oregon for over 20 years. I have four grown daughters who I homeschooled. They attended community learning programs and public school as well. As deeply religious people, my husband and I made judicious choices about which vaccines to give them and when.

For example, my daughters did not receive the HPV vaccine, because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease.

We taught them the importance of abstinence, so this disease was not a concern for them. To give them this vaccine would not have been appropriate for our family’s values.

It is very important to honor religious freedom and parental rights.

But there is a bill in front of the legislators, SB 254, that is trying to take away religious freedom by barring children like mine, who have been vaccinated according to our religious values, from attending public school, private school, and even extracurricular events.

Anyone who cares about religious freedom should oppose SB254. If this bill had been a law when my daughters were going to school, we would not have complied. We should be a state that honors religious differences, not one that discriminates against children because of their parents’ beliefs.

Angie Bowman


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