Resolve to improve debate
I was pleasantly surprised with Mary Sanchez’s op-ed (“Of tornadoes, changing science and twisted politics,” Jan.3) that stood in for Leonard Pitts’ column. It was nice that Ms. Sanchez did not advance a political viewpoint – she instead called for goodwill and humanity after the nonpartisan tornadoes last week.
Her article gave me breathing space to remember that I have been wanting for some time to write with my concern at the direction of The Spokesman-Review’s opinion section. Mr. Pitts’ vacation has been a needed reprieve from the corrosive tone of his articles, which usually present very few actual facts to help me evaluate complex issues.
I hope The S-R can be more deliberate in 2022 to refocus and encourage meaningful issue debate in its Opinion section. As a fierce independent, I do not advocate that you filter content or stop carrying Pitts (or Shawn Vestal, who tends to similarly fixate). Instead, my ask is only that you operate with a truly journalistic mindset, assuming that there MUST BE more than one viewpoint for every issue, and that you then give your readers one or more alternative articles on topics or issues (remember CNN’s “Crossfire”?).
You can find opposite viewpoints to Mr. Pitts or Mr. Vestal (or even Sue Lani Madsen, although her tone is not such an issue), you just need to force yourself to do it. After all, the best ideas and arguments should win on their own strength and worthiness, not because they are the only ones presented for readers’ consumption.
Representatives on the side of treachery
It’s been a year since the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021. The passing of time does not blunt the horror. Lives were lost. We can also never forget how close we came to losing our democracy during those days.
Nor can we ignore how many representatives stood on the side of treachery that day, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
In the days leading up to the riot, Rodgers announced her intent to NOT certify the presidential election results, even as Sen. McConnell implored his colleagues to do their Constitutional duty.
Rodgers acted like she was above the fray but in reality, her actions amplified baseless conspiracy theories and internet trolls, and dangerously upheld Trump’s Big Lie.
Only AFTER the mob became violent and deadly did she reverse course. Even then, Cathy equivocated by saying she didn’t believe Biden had actually won by 7 million votes. (Spoiler alert: He did.)
Last month, a PowerPoint presentation came to light that is frankly the stuff of banana republics. Trump’s team planned to present this material to members of Congress on the evening of Jan. 5 and coordinate an effort to reject the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
The most fragile moments of our democracy happen when power changes hands, which is why Congress has a constitutional responsibility to certify the election results and uphold the will of the people. Cathy McMorris Rodgers violated her oath, and she cannot be allowed to stay.
Ann Marie Danimus
What’s in a word?
What’s in a word? Think tanks have been very successful in directing our thoughts to the way they want us to act. George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” suggests that the words we use have consequences. Words often become popular and may be used to our detriment.
For example, tax burden brings to mind something very unpleasant, maybe unfair. Yet, we all need to pay for the benefit of government provisions, such as roads, schools, libraries and disaster relief. Every American benefits from roads, for example.
For years, the use of oil spill has always been irritating. What comes to mind with oil spill? A picture of a little tea spilled from a teacup, not a huge uncontrolled leak with millions of gallons spewing from broken pipes.
Consider the phrases the undocumented instead of illegal immigrants or unfree instead of slave?
The latest is insurrection. The most searched word in 2021 was vaccine followed by insurrection, which is revolting against the authority of an established government, and is commonly used to describe events of Jan. 6, 2021. So, insurrection obviously is not well-known and could even include protests.
However, failed coup appears to conjecture a greater danger. A coup, short for coup d’etat is a sudden exercise of force in politics, and particularly a violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group.
Which is more accurate: failed coup or insurrection when referring to Jan. 6?
Where are the leaders?
In 1960, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy for a four-year tour. I remember basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, clearly, including shot day. We recruits lined up as ordered and walked the shot line. No one would have ever thought about refusing the shots.
After over 30 years of active and reserve duty I still have my shot record, including yellow fever, typhus, hepatitis A, and others.
I cannot understand the military of today, allowing personnel to opt out of the COVID-19 vaccine and giving a general discharge to those who refuse. A discharge given in this manner should not be under honorable conditions. George Washington, during the Revolutionary War is quoted as saying, “Necessity not only authorizes me to do this, it compels me to do what I am doing … enforcing inoculation of troops against smallpox. If the smallpox rages, it will be worse than the sword of the enemy.”
With recruitment levels down, the nation can ill afford to lose valuable military personnel that they have spent many millions to train. I never refused my parents when it was time to get the polio, rubella and other shots, and when requiring a shot prior to deployment with the Navy, I offered my arm. Where are the military leaders like George Washington today?
Bernie Korth, CDR (ret), USN