Letters to the editor: Dec. 11, 2020

Paying it forward

Every now and then, we hear stories of random acts of kindness. Maybe a customer leaves a big tip or pays the remaining balance on someone’s Christmas lay-away items.

These stories put a smile on our faces as we imagine the joy it brought to the receiver. Never do we think it could happen to us.

That changed for me on a Saturday afternoon grocery shopping trip when the cashier told me someone had paid for my items and wished me a happy holiday. I was in disbelief about this random act of kindness until she confirmed it.

When I asked who to thank, she said, after a slight pause, that she would let that person know the next time they come through her checkstand. I assumed it was the person in front of me, who had already slipped away.

This act touched my heart. It left me reflecting on the true reason for the season, especially considering all the extra challenges we are dealing with this year. If more people randomly touched others, our world would be in a better place.

My angel or Santa’s helper has inspired me to pay it forward, and for that I offer thanks. Happy Holidays!

Roxane Henderson



Mask up, people!

I'm grateful to have a job during the greatest catastrophe of our generation. Literally thousands of Americans are losing their livelihoods, health and lives every day.

I'm doing my part by donating to the food bank, supporting local businesses and wearing my mask whenever I'm near someone not in my household bubble.

Last Friday, I stopped to pick up dinner at a local restaurant. As several people waited in line, wearing masks and keeping their distance, I was dismayed to see the employee at the cash register with his bandanna pulled down below his mouth.

He occasionally made an attempt to pull it up, as he continued handling food bags and payments. No sanitizer or wash station was in sight. 

Seated at the table directly across was a young woman without a mask. She was engaged in a conversation with herself about how exasperated she was with her employees.

Huffing and puffing and making sure everyone knew how frustrated she was, she told one guy who appeared interested that she had just driven in from Spokane.

He proceeded to sit down with her and remove his mask. I calmly asked them three times to put on masks, but they never acknowledged me.

My family and friends will not be returning to this restaurant until everyone is vaccinated.

I work in skilled nursing long term care. I and my colleagues care for the elderly and sick.

We wear masks and face shields for most of our eight hours a day. When in contact with the residents, we also wear  gowns and gloves — hot, uncomfortable and annoying, but necessary. 

If you don't care about protecting yourself, at least wear a mask to protect the matriarchs and patriarchs of our communities. I don't want to kill yourgGrandma after being exposed to you.

Jane Harloff



Standard time best bet

I'm reasonably sure people want to abolish the semi-annual time-switching we endure in the spring and fall. The controversy is which time to adopt, standard or daylight savings.

The only argument I hear for keeping daylight savings time is, “It gets dark so early now.”

Has everyone forgotten that is normal? We would not know it any other way if daylight savings time never happened.

There are numerous reasons why staying on daylight time would be a mistake. Let me make you aware of one.

Until mid-January or so, pay attention to when it becomes light in the morning. If we were still on daylight savings time, that would be an hour later.

Yes, I am aware the Oregon Legislature voted during the 2019 session to stay on daylight savings time year-around. But a lot has to happen before that becomes reality: California has to get on board with Oregon and Washington, and then Congress has to approve.

Maybe our legislators will reconsider making daylight savings time permanent if enough people speak up to offer reasons why that might not be in our best interest.

Linda O’Hara



Yearning for 2024

Many letters lately have expressed joy that Trump is leaving. but he accomplished more in four years than Obama did in eight.

Obama let our jobs go to China. Trump negotiated two new trade agreements more favorable to the U.S. and bought some jobs back.

Obama sent pallets of U.S. dollars to Iran, were they used it to make rockets to kill Americans. Trump was hard on Iran and did something no one had done before — negotiated peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries.

Obama traded the five worst terrorists for an Army deserter. Trump returned four American citizens home from foreign countries and returned the bones of missing GI's from North Korea at no cost.

Under Obama, our Veterans hospitals were in bad shape. Trump cleaned them up so vets get the care they deserve.

Trump recognized the virus was coming from China and closed all travel from there, even though he called racist as a result. He helped fast track the new vaccine in a speed not seen before. And the list goes on.

The Dems elected a bumbling old man to be our next president.

But that was just to get their foot in the door. Within the next year, they will dump him and Harris will become our president.

That is the day democracy will die and socialism will take over. For me, 2024 can't come quick enough.

Don Bowie



Turning back on science

In 1955, students at my school received their first dose of the Salk polio vaccine.

There were no protesters outside Coolidge Elementary toting assault rifles and screaming about liberty. Nor were there any when the Sabin vaccine followed.

Dr. Salk, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and Dr. Sabin, a Polish immigrant, were considered national heroes. The entire country saw their vaccine as a triumph of progress, science and public health.

When SARS, MERS and Ebola threatened to go pandemic, the Obama administration assembled a fast-response unit of epidemiologists, public health scientists and infectious disease specialists. Because these teams were quickly deployed, U.S. citizens were never threatened.

Under Trump, we never got any national response. The public was told COVID was “fake,” and assured that, “like a miracle,” it would disappear.

Believers blindly followed, squawking about "freedom" while resisting even minimal public health measures. The more extreme grabbed guns and threatened to kill elected officials.

As a result, nearly 300,000 Americans have died and many more are going to die. 

We no longer suffer the scourges of polio, smallpox, cholera, diphtheria and other infectious diseases because scientists, doctors, nurses and public health officials dedicated their lives to keeping Americans healthy.

Today, these same science-based people are advising us to stay home and wear masks in order to save lives. In response, Mary Novak calls them terrorists.

I don’t know what bothers me the most, the ignorance of science, the denial of facts, the quackery, the conspiracy theories, the indifference to public health, the paranoia, the illogical claims, the threats and bullying, the belief that you and your family are exempt, or the incendiary use of words like terrorism.

Somewhere between 1955 and today conservatives turned their backs on reason and science. This has spawned cult-like belief systems, wild conspiracies, alternative facts and culture wars.

Margaret Cross



Criminal president

Claims of election fraud against President-elect Biden are simply wrong and serve to spread misinformation.

International observers have overseen our elections since 2002. Under agreement with 57 signatories to the Charter of Paris and 1990 Copenhagen Document, independent observers monitor elections in all member countries.

This year, the State Department invited 500 observers. They cited a number of problems, notably lack of access to voter registration, political polarization, disinformation on media platforms and lax campaign finance laws, but deemed our election fair and free, despite this year's special challenges.

Their gravest concern was the fact peaceful transition of power in the U.S. depends on the concession of the loser, making the sitting president the most egregious obstacle in this country and thus compromising a key aspect of our democracy. Events since they produced their report have, tellingly, confirmed their fears.

In calling Georgia’s governor and asking him to change tallies or throw out ballots, the president committed a crime. If I conspire to throw out ballots or to falsify the numbers, that is a crime — attempted electoral fraud.

There is no need for qualification or argument here. It simply is.

The international observers were relieved to see this year's U.S. election run as smoothly as it did, given the pandemic and tje potential for violence and voter suppression. With the gross exception of dictators such as Putin, the international community followed through by swiftly recognized Biden as president-elect.

We should take it as a point of pride that our republic held, at least for the moment, against a criminal president who dangerously threatens it.

Steve Rutledge



Names matter

I love that the fact the News-Register is celebrating local residents who grew up in other countries, as with Tuesday’s profile of Kate Miller, who grew up in Thailand.

But I was disappointed the article acknowledged Mrs. Miller “goes by ‘Kate’ because, she said, her birth name is too hard for Americans to pronounce”— and didn’t disclose that name. If the News-Register is sincere about celebrating diversity, it should not be complicit in forcing the shedding of something so fundamental as a name because “Americans” — the vast majority of whom are descended from immigrants — cannot be bothered to expose themselves to a new combination of sounds. As Linfield University’s Gerardo Ochoa said in his 2019 TEDxMcMinnville talk on this topic, “As our communities become more diversified and globalized, the likelihood we will meet someone whose name we can’t pronounce is going to increase. But what can we do to ensure that people feel valued, honored and respected with something so simple yet often so difficult as pronouncing someone’s name?”

Ochoa goes on to suggest helpful ways to recover when you’ve mispronounced someone’s name. But expressing curiosity about someone’s real name seems like a necessary and reasonable first step.

Christine Bader





I do enjoy reading the letters every week, they provide a diverse and illuminating perspective on life in our small but diverse and vibrant county.

What a nice way to begin today’s offerings – reflections on random acts of kindness. Our lives are greatly enriched by kindness……anywhere and everywhere. And paying it forward is a concept to live by.

The letter that asserts “Trump accomplishments” contains a list I have seen published (nearly verbatim) elsewhere. I do not doubt that many believe it to be true. Unfortunately, except for the credit Trump deserves for pushing development of the vaccine, the rest of the list is riddled with false and misleading information. Fortunately that letter is followed by others that appear to be more in line with the facts. We can all WISH the reign of Trump had been laudable but we can’t rewrite history. I sincerely hope this writer is wrong in his opinion of our new President-elect. It appears that Joe is off to a good start and I have seen no “bumbling” so far. Can we at least give the man a chance?

It is alarming to read about a local business that is not following the common sense protocols for preventing the spread of Covid-19. I hope the owner of the establishment in question will read the letter, recognize herself, and take the necessary precautions to protect her employees and customers. Masking up properly and maintaining a safe distance requires such small sacrifices. Failure to do so is costing lives and jobs and prolonging the pain for everyone.

And finally, the issue of time. Daylight savings time, standard time, I do not have a preference, just pick one and LEAVE IT THERE. I do not know anyone who appreciates having their lives and schedules manipulated twice a year for no rational reason. Seems like a no-brainer?

Thanks again to the N/R for providing this forum. How fortunate we are that you do so.


Well said, Margaret Cross. I was raised in a very staunch Republican family - both sides of my family, actually. But the political party of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and Senator Mark Hatfield is long gone. I can date the beginning of its demise with the administration of St. Ronald of Reagan who slyly (and sometimes not so slyly) denigrated Democrats, liberals, and progressives. That hostility to Democrats was placed on steroids by the very toxic Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, in the early 1990's. His open hatred of the left was quickly embraced by conservatives so that even today the Democratic Party is called the DemocRAT party by the far right. Thank you, Newt! My parents and grandparents are probably spinning in their graves as to what has become of their beloved GOP. If the Republican Party is to be saved, then the more moderate, rational, sane members of the GOP (if there are any left) must purge the party of the far right crazies in their midst and build a new political party that still embraces conservative values, believes in science, rejects insane conspiracy theories, and is determined to place our country and Constitution over nasty partisan politics.


I could relate to your comments, montag, I too was raised in a Republican family. While my own beliefs diverged once I became an adult, I continue to respect them and they continue to respect me. The Party of Lincoln used to be honorable. At the moment it is the “Trumplican” party, and as such, devoid of ethics or decency, lacking allegiance to the Constitution, or even common sense. It is not enough to disagree with fellow citizens, non-Republicans (and even non-obedient Republicans) must now be demonized. Aspersions must be cast upon their character. Thieves and fraudsters! Evil people who want to take away your guns and destroy your way of life! (I seem to recall a certain German fellow who used his power to convince his faithful of something similar?)

I continue to hope that, with Trump off his throne, the loyal sycophants in government will find themselves out of favor, and once they are not as terrified and threatened by “mean tweets”, the party will be able to re-establish honor and dignity. What a dark, destructive, and humiliating chapter in American history this has been.

On a brighter note, it has been a joy to watch the Electoral votes be cast today. We must not lose sight of the courageous upstanding civil servants (Democrat AND Republican) all over the country who refused to bend to corruption. The guardrails of democracy have been under assault but they held!


And what of the openly Marxist wing of the Democratic party?


Rob - and what indeed. There certainly are fringe extremists to be found lurking about but you may have noticed that there have been no Q-anon nutjobs proudly elected and praised by the Dems - so there's that.

Looks to me like Biden is aiming to govern from the center left, as opposed to the many Republicans who are working day and night to overthrow a free and fair election and otherwise undermine the Constitution. No more loyalty to America, or to their oaths of office, only blind slobbering devotion to their dear autocratic "leader" who owns them now. The extreme right has taken over the formerly honorable Republican party. It appears that you disagree, but that is how I see it.


I'm an Independent and not really enamored with either party though where many Democrats want to take us is rather scary. I am agreeing more with George Washington every day that political parties can be dangerous. Notice his first government - he purposely picked two members with profoundly different views (see 1st link) and of course his farewell address where he warns of hyper-partisanship, excessive debt, and foreign influence in our elections. Was his address in the 1700s or the 21st century? How prescient.



Yeah, as previously revealed, I am actually an independent too. I do not share your idea that the Dem agenda is scary though. After four years of corruption and scandal and the destruction of our institutions and the deterioration of morals and values, I have to wonder what could POSSIBLY be scarier than that?

I do hope that the few remaining honorable Republicans will reclaim and rebuild their party. We are such a diverse nation, I believe we need at least a two-party system to maintain a healthy representative balance. If the Rs can purge the malignant influence of their false god, we will all be better for it.

Happy Solstice!

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