Monday, July 13, 2020

Letters to the editor June 21

| June 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Often times I skip reading the letters to the editor because it makes my heart race to read the entries. To see some of what is actually written down by community members that I live near and have likely interacted with is startling, even more so when I consider what is spoken and not written and what is thought and not said by similar individuals.

Montana has a unique history as a split-ticket state in which residents don’t buy into party lines but rather choose for themselves the best individual on the ballot. Lately, however, the letters to the editor seem more and more partisan and use fear mongering to scare people into agreement. Instead of rejecting the narrative that left and right cannot possibly see eye to eye many writers are engaging with such inflammatory rhetoric.

It’s up to Montanans to see beyond divisive partisan tactics and to recognize that the people they claim as their so-called “enemy” is often their neighbor or barista or garage owner. The very people they vilify are the same people that prepare their taxes or maintain their public lands or teach their school children. America is going through an unprecedented crisis that has put a strain on all citizens in different ways and Montana has emerged as a leader in the response to that crisis. Division and bile undermines Montana’s successes that have been guided by split state leadership. What encourages me is knowing that some of what is also unwritten is the thoughts and feelings of most individuals who think for themselves and recognize that party affiliation doesn’t determine a persons character and is but one small aspect of who they are. I only hope this sentiment wins the day, the week, and the future as we continue to confront this pandemic that needs all hands on deck.

Take care of yourself and each other.

—Teigan Avery, Kalispell

Montana people have the right to protest peacefully. Montana people have the right to carry their firearms in town. And on occasion, we’ve been known to ride our horses through the Blue Moon. Where are you from?

—Mark Schwager, Kalispell

The Bahai’s of Kalispell and Flathead County share the sorrow at the death of George Floyd and other racist persecutions. Montana has its own history of prejudice against African-Americans, Native Americans, Jewish, Muslims, and immigrants, many forgetting unless you are Native American, we all are immigrants to Montana.

Bahai’s view racism as a disease that eats at the soul of society and its inhabitants. Racism originates not in the skin but in the human mind. Remedies to racial prejudice, fear of “others” and intolerance gives rise to false concepts of superiority and inferiority among populations.

All forms of discrimination and intolerance come from the false idea that humans are composed of separate and distinct races, and that those sub-groups possess varying intellectual, moral, and/or physical capacities that justifies different treatment. Protests can be effective, but proactive action is required to treat the disease of racism. Any law or tradition that grants superior rights or privileges to one group over another is morally wrong.

Encourage leaders, educators, and jurists to purge discrimination based on race, nationality or ethnic origin. Justice should be the ruling principle of social organization requiring governments, their agencies, and civil society to address economic injustice at all levels.

The cure is to reshape society based on principles of love, inclusiveness and compassion. Challenge approaches that divide people into groups and instead raise consciousness to bring them together in the earnest and honest search for solutions. The language we use and the attitudes we take, while not ignoring the harsh realities that exist in the world, should focus on positive and proactive remedies. Language and actions should recognize that the vast majority of us sincerely desire justice and must be unifying rather than divisive.

Let prejudice and racism end now — starting with each of us.

—Carole Jorgensen, Kalispell

“Law Roundup,” June 17, 2020 DIL: “A man in a Hawaiian shirt was allegedly yelling at protesters on Main street and ‘getting in their faces.’”

I was pleased to see over 100 community members appear at Kalispell City Council meeting to express support for our community’s law enforcement. The motivation was a false rumor that some group was going to descend on our council to demand that the police be defunded. Of course it is simply absurd that this community would allow our law enforcement to be defunded, except by budget constraints arising from those who don’t like their tax bill. A REAL concern exists however, and it is time we come together as a community to assure protection for our police.

Unfortunately, there are radicals who, in a twisted perversion of the right to bear arms, believe that militia groups may bully the rest of our community and threaten law and order. From the elusive leader of this county’s “project 7” to the like-minded outsiders who came to the Black Lives Matter event to displace and usurp our law enforcement’s control over the peaceful way our community conducts protests, there is a real threat to our law enforcement. They need us to step up.

Recent news illustrates the outcomes that we must avoid. In Albuquerque, self-appointed armed guards opened fire and wounded a protester; closer to home, armed vigilantes with paranoid suspicions in Missoula chased down and tackled a protester in utter disregard of civil authority and civil rights; last month in San Francisco, members of the “boogaloo” and “Big Luau” movement seriously wounded one law enforcement officer and murdered another. Members of these radical groups dress in Hawaiian shirts, others attempt to blend in by slinking around our local patriot groups. They come to protests to take advantage when police are occupied by maintaining order of large crowds interspersed with law-abiding citizens with guns.

Our police need our support. We need to come together as a community and identify policies and permitting procedures that allow the police to be safely in full control of public protests. Fortunately, our mayor and other responsible citizens, business leaders, and members of our local patriot groups are taking leadership to bring our valley together on this issue. I ask each member of our community who trusts our police to give this leadership our vocal support.

—Allan McGarvey, Kalispell

Help change the $500 maximum fine law.

Please call or write Sens. Tester and Daines and demand they change the federal law that only allows a maximum fine of $500 for landing your helicopter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This is probably barely more than what they pay to fuel it.

—Dugan Reber, Whitefish