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Letters to the editor May 21

| May 21, 2020 1:00 AM

May is Mental Health Month. It is a month where we honor those who live with mental illnesses, their families and friends.

We thank those serving those folks with brain illnesses: Pathways, Sunburst, Western Montana Mental Health, Youth Dynamics, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, therapists, peer support specialists and others.

We know that Crisis Intervention Training is so valuable in helping first responders and law enforcement when dealing with those with special needs. This training is in its fourth year in the Flathead.

We strive for more housing, more community based mental health care, new medications with less side effects, humane incarceration, early intervention, and greater support and compassion for those living with mental illness and their families and friends

—Julie Doyle, of Marion, if president of National Alliance on Mental Illness in the Flathead

Our governor has made an error in judgment with his decision to force Montana landlords into canceling evictions and extending rental payments. What Mr. Bullock fails to realize is that although most tenants will eventually pay the rents that are owed, some will stay in the rental as long as they can before sneaking out. This does not take into account those late charges the Landlord might still have to pay on related loans. Because of the fact that the governor is not willing to cover these expenses that he has forced onto landlords, they have no choice other than to pass those cost on to good tenants in the form of higher rents.

The role of government should be to protect our citizens. The greatest of these protections should be education and information, hopefully unbiased. Properly informed citizens contribute to protecting the public through their individual efforts, by personal service or electing representatives.

Government should never control an individual’s rights as long as those rights do not infringe on the rights of others. Citizens make up a free government therefore; as long as we follow the laws, no bureaucrats, not even elected representatives have the right to dictate how you run your lives or your business.

Taxes pay for government inspections of goods and services but businesses not government are held liable by the public. This contributes to the prices we pay for more goods and services, but we still pay for government inspections.

Government should leave business alone, as long as good judgment is demonstrated by the business and the government has fulfilled their obligation in educating the public. This is especially true when that government entity is not willing to fully compensate financial losses as a result of their interference.

—John Rice, of Missoula, is past chairman of Montanans for Better Government

It took me 20 minutes to convince my 8-year-old granddaughter that wearing a mask was the right thing for her to do for her family, her friends, and her community. She gets it.

How long do you think it would take to convince Donald Trump of the same truth?

—Joan Driscoll, Kalispell

I read Maria Arrington’s letter of April 30 to the Daily Inter Lake (“Face Masks”) with interest. Like Maria, I have noticed that few people are wearing face masks at the Bigfork Post Office or at the grocery, despite signage encouraging that practice.

I admit that wearing a face mask seems strange and awkward and uncomfortable. At first, it may feel hard to breathe, and now that the weather is warmer, the mask can be hot. It can make one’s glasses get foggy, although a bit of adjustment usually clears that. Talking through the mask is a new experience. I find myself smiling at people with my mouth covered and hope they can see the smile in my eyes.

I read that a group of doctors said that if ALL PEOPLE in this country would wear a mask whenever they are in public, the COVID-19 virus might be eliminated in America in a few weeks. While we Montanans are noted for our independence, the “you can’t make me” argument seems juvenile in the light of the significant impact universal face mask wearing could make upon the spread of this virus. Although I was born at the end of World War II, I have heard tales of the sacrifices Americans made with rationing to support our war efforts. Wearing face masks seems a small price for supporting our health care heroes and halting the spread of this tragic disease.

I wish our leaders would wear face masks as a sign of teamwork and to set an example. However, we can do this anyway - in solidarity and commitment to the health of all. My response is simply, “Why NOT wear a face mask?”

—Jeanne Welty Southwood, Bigfork

We, the below signed members of the State-Tribal Relations Committee, the Montana Legislature’s liaison with tribal governments, write to encourage the public, residents and nonresidents alike, to comply with restrictions tribal governments adopt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although public highways and gas stations remain open across reservations, some tribal governments restrict access to their communities through signage, check points, and road blocks to buffer vulnerable, tightly knit populations where access to health care and other resources is limited.

Tribal governments may ask travelers to take other routes and to limit stops within reservation boundaries. Many beloved recreational opportunities are closed.

While some areas of the state reopen, tribal governments continue to take preventive measures to protect their members from COVID-19, especially elders who guard sacred traditions and oral histories.

Please respect the rights of the sovereign nations in Montana to do so, and help protect our tribal communities.

—Sen. Jason Small, Chair; Rep. Rae Peppers, Vice Chair; Sen. Jen Gross; Sen, Dan Salomon; Sen. Frank Smith; Rep. Jade Bahr; Rep. Joe Read; Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy

In light of the political, economic, and health issues in our country today, I am reminded of the proverb about the frog that is put in a pot of cold water and as the water is heated to boiling it is unaware of its demise. Our country has been blessed with two centuries of a remarkably successful democracy. A period of time that has created a complacency or even overconfidence in the stability of our government.

Democracies such as ours do not crumble overnight — they end as a result of the collapse of the rule of law, the system of checks and balances, the independent authority of the judiciary, the freedom of the press, the unacceptability of purposeful lying, putting a political leader’s private interests before the public interest, or threatening political rivals with harm or imprisonment.

All of these have been done before our eyes, with the sycophantic help from the Republican Party, including our very own Sen. Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte, since Donald Trump has become president. The proverbial pot is near boiling and our democracy is at stake. Change is required in November.

—David R. James, Eureka

It is time to put people back to work. According to WebMD 97-99.75% of people survive Covid-19. To be sure, we fear the unknown of Covid-19, but shutting down the country is not the answer. Before the mid-60s, measles, chickenpox, mumps,(viral skin diseases) one or the other occurred every few years. Afterward, all who had suffered through one were considered immune. Eventually, the MMBV changed that.

Why isn’t the country reopened? Thus far, our public officials and medical experts dominate the news media. Our elected officials feel qualified to tell us what to do, including to wash our hands. Decisions are made without any pro and con discussion. The time is way overdue to consider the emotional and financial consequences of the current totally one-sided and unrepresentative process.

Look at us now. We are confined to our homes, unable to attend church, public meetings, visit our friends and neighbors. We are not allowed to be with our children or parents during physician visits, celebrations, funerals. Small business owners are devastated financially. People want to be working and support themselves, but our country is “helping” is by printing money and devaluing our currency.

Yes, we should do everything possible to protect all people as best we can, but we cannot protect everybody from all disasters all the time. I am wearing a mask as a courtesy to my fellow citizens. After a trip to the store I wipe the car and all door hardware in my house with a disinfectant and I wash all produce. Not everybody will do that, but it is time to put people back to work and take responsibility for their actions.

—Elsa Putzier, Bigfork