Letters for the week of January 13, 2021

Culture wars

Donald Trump will be remembered for corruption, incompetence, mass death and a failed coup, but it didn’t start in 2016. Culture war has been cultivated by the Republican Party for decades to gain and maintain power. It’s waged on a local, state and national scale.
The original goal was consolidation of wealth. When Obama ran for President it shifted to the consolidation of white power. Their tools are voter suppression, dark money, media propaganda and social network platforms.
Their foot soldiers have been armed with assault weapons for “sport” and told they have the right to dominate the rest of us. Their goal is not freedom, it’s the creation of a one-party state with an authoritarian leader at the top.
Many of Trump’s political enablers are now disavowing him, not because he tried to overturn a fair election but because he was clumsy and made them look bad. Remember who they are and don’t let them become the new leader of his zombies.
Remember the companies that peddled propaganda, financed operations and helped them organize: Fox, Koch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. They all need to be held accountable for the coup that was attempted on Jan. 6, 2021. If we don’t, this will happen again.

—Mark Ashworth, Bellingham

Civil discourse

The hostility and name-calling that I have seen recently on various social media platforms is a perfect example of why our country had become so divided. It is like batting away mosquitos when there are bombers overhead.
Yes, we are frustrated with the destruction of our lives and the personal trauma that COVID-19 has brought to so many of us.
Yes, we are frustrated with the political climate and vitriol in Washington DC that is tearing this country apart.
Yes, we are appalled at the lawlessness that happened at the Capitol last week and in so many of our town and cities last summer.
Yes, we are concerned that our right to free speech is being controlled by the social media giants.
Yes, we are frustrated over many things over which we seem to have no control.We have lost the ability to argue about our frustrations in a civil manner and this is part of what is destroying our neighborhoods and our country.
We may not agree with what someone else has said or written and we have every right not to agree, just like the other person may not agree with us and has every right not to. We each have the right to our own opinions.
Calling each other names, belittling each other’s views and beliefs is not only likely to elicit an angry response (not to mention setting a poor example to our children) but it also adds to the division that our so-called leaders are fomenting on both sides of the isle. They are certainly not leading us toward reconciliation.
If we, at the grassroots level, are not able to disagree respectfully and civilly with each other; if we cannot first listen and then perhaps agree to disagree; then it is small wonder that our elected representatives in the House and Senate are unable to do so.
Rather than waiting for our “leaders” to set a civil example, why not “lead” from here where we live. Let’s put aside the rhetoric and argue respectfully.

—Helen Cooper Sumas

We must speak for compassion

We did it. With a little help from our friends and our local legislators, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, and Maria Cantwell we recently got the Global Child Thrive Act passed through the House and Senate. It was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act as “must pass” legislation. President Trump vetoed it, but on New Year’s Day the veto was overturned and so, as a rider, the GCTA was passed and became law.
You may recall several letters last April and May asking for your support for this bill. You may also remember last year when here in Bellingham a major childcare center was in danger of closing.
There was a realization of the need to have good, safe stimulating childcare for young Bellinghamsters, especially once the virus hit and essential workers could not continue to go to work unless their children were well taken care of.
The Global Child Thrive Act will provide quality health and early childhood education programs to our youngest world citizens in places of greatest need with the aid of Catholic Relief Services.
We are proud of our advocacy work with Catholic Relief Services and ask you to celebrate with our local CRS Chapter by also thanking our three supportive legislators who co-sponsored and championed the Global Child Thrive Act and participated in this hopeful bi-partisan effort.
CRS supports more than 55 Chapters throughout the U.S., providing tools and training to aid this work of democracy in action.
Sometimes we must be the voice speaking for compassion, the hands that help feed, clothe and shelter those most in need and be the ears listening to the cry of the poor.

—Annie Welch, Bellingham

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