Letters to the editor March 17

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Tea Party, 10 years later

In 2008, Obama declared that we are going to have to fundamentally transform America ­— our conversation and our history. Political correctness was rapidly being presented as quickly as social justice warriors were popping up everywhere. Our media, Hollywood, our institutions of learning, and some large corporations, were going to “correct” what they felt were the true crimes of our past and present. They believe our nation was founded by imperialists and racists. These same groups never mention that our founders helped establish the greatest nation of freedom for the individual man the world has ever seen.

On Sept. 12, 2009 my husband and I found ourselves at a rally at the Capitol in Washington DC with over 1 million fellow Americans. The silent majority from every state in the union came, peacefully, in reaction to what President Obama was presenting. Unlike what Google, the media and oftentimes, the Republican Party liked to say, the Tea Party was so much more grassroots and on purpose ­— leaderless. We were parents, grandparents and American citizens who grew up respecting our nation, raising families, working hard teaching our children to be decent citizens. Our protest against government spending was aimed at both parties for selling out our principles and values.

The founders warned repeatedly that if we were not watching our newly formed Republic, individual freedoms would diminish and even become extinguished. In America, anyone has the opportunity to make something of themselves due to free markets, the protections of private property rights and the rule of law. These are upheld by the greatest documents ever put forward: The U.S. Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.

Our free speech, the hallmark of American liberty, is now under severe attack. Freedom cannot endure when it hinges on one group being allowed to demand that their beliefs and ideals should only prevail. In most fallen Republics, Socialism always led to oppression and then Communism. I pray that we will not take that dark turn, rather fight it, like our forefathers so valiantly did.

—Linda Johnson, Kalispell

Medicaid expansion costly

If money grew on trees, government involvement improved health care, and fraud and abuse was minimal — I could support Medicaid expansion. Our nation grows deeper in debt and even the most frugal lifestyle is costly.

Government involvement has driven up the cost of medical care, and the honest hardworking tax payer is paying for care of many who could be paying for their own.

I have seen many of the following patients: Patient A works hard, gives honest account, cannot afford needed tests and procedure. Patient B knows how to work the system, gets the tests and procedures basically for free. It is easy to scam this system, and attempts were halted to require closer tracking Medicaid requirements.

When Obamacare passed in 2010, there was a lot of physician resistance. Now, most main physician groups support Medicaid expansion. Why the difference? Is it because physicians are happy with government-controlled health care? No. It is because after Obamacare passed, costly regulations and taxes soared while payments dropped, forcing most physicians to work for organizations like hospitals. When this happened, they lost their autonomy, could no longer speak for themselves or practice medicine as they deem appropriate as they are forced to tow their employer’s line.

Meanwhile, physician shortages grow and physician burnout is at an all-time high. Decisions for and against medical testing and treatment are decided more and more by insurance and government bureaucracies rather than patient-physician joint decision. Rationing has become commonplace, especially among the elderly whose care is often delayed or denied.

Medicaid expansion is costly to our pocketbooks and our liberties, is rife with fraud. Quality of medical care diminishes proportional to government involvement. Furthermore, it is NOT compassionate toward hard-working, tax paying Montanans nor toward those whose care is rationed because of it.

—Dr. Annie Bukacek, Kalispell

East Coast solution

I am sending the following message to Sens. Daines and Tester, and Rep. Gianforte. I suggest that other interested parties do the same.

Once again, because U.S. 2 is 100 percent federally funded, we are having an East Coast solution crammed down our throats. The roundabouts on the south end of U.S. 93 bypass are widely hated as will be the proposed one on U.S. 2 West.

Obviously, the safety of the intersection in question needs to be addressed. Surely our engineers can figure out a simpler and less expensive overpass that would be acceptable.

Those of us who use U.S. 2 regularly do not want a roundabout. Please try to stop this fiasco.

— Gerry Hurst, Marion

A good time to travel to Iran

In this bizarre moment we find the Trump Administration, led by John Bolton, beating the drums for war with Iran. Recently the Trump administration has reapplied sanctions on Iran designed to cripple its economy and which will produce substantial harm to ordinary Iranian people. Under these conditions one might expect that American tourists would find hostility upon arriving in that country; in fact the U.S. State Department advises Iran travelers to have funeral plans ready before they depart.

This seems inconsistent with our own experience, leading two groups of American tourists through several Iranian cities in 2008 and 2009.

We felt comfortable and safe from the outset. As well as encountering the sights and accomplishments of a 5,000–year-old civilization, we made friends with many who were truly interested in us and in our country, and very seldom did we encounter criticism. All of us felt comfortable in a country that, in terms of the official messages we receive, we should consider our enemy.

Since our experiences seemed at odds with State Department directives, I wondered if they were out of the ordinary. I searched the internet under the directive “Iran is dangerous to visit.” Here are two typical responses:

Robert Tulberg “I think I felt safer there than in most other countries I visited… It is a wonderful country but pictured unfairly by the western media. There is government suppression but as a tourist you don’t feel it. The Iranian people love all foreigners, including Americans.”

Kit Argulla: “We quickly relaxed into total comfort as we walked the streets of many cities. Frankly, we felt as safe in Iran as in any other country we have visited … We loved Iran, we loved the people. The history, antiquities, ruins, mosques and culture are endlessly fascinating. We highly recommend the trip to our American friends.”

After reading dozens of similar testimonials (and practically none that were critical) I am convinced that our safe and enlightening trips to Iran were typical.

So now is a good time to travel to Iran. It is a good time to make friends with people presented to us as enemies. It is a good time to realize that living in peace and friendship with others in this world is far better than the alternative.

—Sam Neff, Whitefish

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