ALL BLACK LIVES
I read with great interest the recent cover story [“Black Lives Matter,” 7/14], particularly the article by Camilla Mortensen in which she described an unspoken but implied fourth word: “Black lives matter, too.” That is certainly the way I have always heard the slogan.
It seems to me that right-wing critics hear a much different fourth word, an unspoken but inferred “Only black lives matter.” That they hear this word is probably not related to cochlear function, but instead is related to the cognitive processing that occurs in their brains. I believe that type of cerebral pathology is termed “racism.”
As for me, the original three-word slogan is perfectly obvious, concise and entirely reasonable. But if someone insists upon a four-word slogan, might I suggest:
“All Black Lives Matter.”
Ronald Blanton, Eugene
Third party person, me (Green Party), says to my third party pals and all others who might hope that “voting against Hillary will be sending a good message.” Think again; that is so last century.
In the first place, no one really cares how anyone feels about Hillary. No one. The question is not about emotional bias, it is: Can she do the job and can she help?
Yes, she can. Even Sanders now says that she is qualified, will do a good job and that we all have a chance with her. It is understood that with a Trump-led administration, we have no chance to solve problems, as he is a problem-maker and self-obsessed immature guy. Obviously this is the time to support Hillary and at the same time make sure that she hears us when she is in office. Be smart. Don’t waste your vote.
Deb Huntley, Eugene
Tom Giesen [Letters, 7/14] is so right! All those upbeat articles reducing a climate disaster are not giving us the action we need! A carbon fee has proven successful in British Columbia and now they are hoping for a national policy in Canada. Where are we? I’m afraid nowhere!
Ruth Duemler, Eugene
HAPPENING MARTIAL ARTS
I enjoyed reading about the Moore (taekwondo black belt) family in your 7/21 Happening People article.
However, the article erroneously states that taekwondo will be the only martial art to be contested in next month’s Rio Olympics. If you mean Asian martial arts — Judo athletes will also be representing the U.S.
Judo has been contested by men in the Olympics since 1964, and by women since 1992. Compare this to taekwondo, which only joined the Olympic fold as a demonstration sport in 1988, and as an “official” sport in 2000.
Fencing, a Western martial art, will also be at Rio, and the sport has been contested in every modern Olympics (since 1896 for men and 1924 for women). For those looking to cheer on an Oregonian, Mariel Zagunis, a Beaverton native, is a three-time Olympic medalist and two-time champion (gold in Athens and Beijing) in women’s saber, and the most decorated fencer in U.S. Olympic history.
Natalie Whitson, Eugene
SUICIDE & DEPRESSION
In the last couple of weeks, two people in my wider circle attempted suicide. One succeeded. The other is getting out of the ICU, saved, just barely, by community and by grace.
I feel compelled to write this, not only to honor these women, but also because I have direct experience with suicidal depression. I’ve also watched others walk this path — even warm-hearted, spiritually centered people: Their sadness slopes into depression, and depression eventually leads them into believing their negative thoughts.
Wisdom and logic can’t easily reach this dark place, and as joy disappears, so does normal attachment to life. Suicide seems like an accessible way out.
I am not a professional in psychotherapy, but I have a sense of what people can do to be of help. Even if the depressed person doesn’t reach out (s/he probably can’t), I suggest:
Get close. Stay close. Visit or send someone. Don’t just watch the depressed person from afar.
Let the loved one know you want them here.
Let her or him know that they matter, and that their life has value.
Tell the person that you are available for an emergency call — it might prevent an attempt to end her/his life.
Help them get to a counselor; like friends or family, a counselor can be a lifeline.
We are all in this together.
K. Bragg, Eugene
OIL TRAIN DISASTER PREVENTION
So, what legislation pending or who/what persons are accountable for future oil train disasters?
This article [News, 7/21] sounds as if the problem is solved or is it really “just passing the buck?” Sounds like there is no real legislation in place to solve the problem once and for all!
Who or what persons or organizations are in place to prevent similar accidents? Stand by for similar accidents and there may be human fatalities in the next accident! Will they be investigated? Why not investigate before there are any fatalities?
Stace Webb, Eugene
I learned some troubling things while attending the Titus Fotso trial this past week (July 20-22).
The first three officers at the scene arrived in two cars, which they parked about a block away from the house with no line of sight for their dashboard cameras. I thought that their action was a tactic to prevent a video recording from being made of the interaction.
The internal affairs officer who questioned me outside of the courtroom assured me that parking away from the scene is a standard procedure of the Eugene Police Department. If so, that procedure should be changed immediately.
The lack of a video record made it possible for the three officers to initiate a violent confrontation and turn what should have been a peaceful encounter into “pandemonium.” I wonder if that action was a try to get Mr. Fotso to enter the fray and try to protect his housemates so they would have reason to beat him up (or worse)?
The fact that Mr. Fotso is a black man added to my suspicion.
What may be even more troubling is the revelation that the EPD Blue Team, which is supposed to investigate and report on officer interactions that involve force, has systematically been withholding evidence pertaining to criminal trials. That could affect not only this trial, but many previous trials involving the questionable use of force by the EPD.
Is it time for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Police Chief Pete Kerns and the EPD?
Steve Hiatt, Eugene
INITIATIVE RIGHTS STILL IN PERIL
Lane County Commissioners have delayed consideration of their unconstitutional draft ordinance to seize control of the people’s initiative power until mid-September. Commissioners Jay Bozievich and Faye Stewart must feel that this delay will assure them of having adequate time to throw out the three initiatives approved for circulation before they are duly qualified for the ballot. Their loyalty to the timber industry is strong and their maneuvers are calculated.
But what of Commissioners Pat Farr and Sid Leiken, strategically quiet and innocuously neutral? Are they keeping voters guessing until they can once again leave Pete Sorenson as the solitary moral compass?
Commissioners Farr and Leiken, you owe voters an answer: How will you vote when this proposed ordinance comes to the floor? Will you change the goal posts in the middle of the game, snatching three approved initiatives from the hands of residents engaged in the circulation of those petitions right now? Does it bother you to violate the people’s constitutional right to pass laws without government interference? How about our First Amendment right to circulate petitions?
Lane County voters, let’s demand some answers. Let’s shine some light on the behind-the-curtain wizardry. Call, write and meet your commissioners!
Rita Fiedler, Eugene
Theocracy. “What is wrong with a theocracy?” one might ask. It necessarily limits free speech. It does not allow for discussion outside of the dogma. Fortunately, there are ideas stronger than dogma, but those on the bleeding edge suffer, to wit: Isaac Newton, Copernicus, Wallace, et. al.
I read in the Activist Alert [7/21] about the vandalism of the CALC office. This was an inexcusable barbaric act. There are better ways to present your perspective (this [letters] forum).
I am writing to correct an inaccuracy. Anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitic. The photo printed is anti-Zionism in its content (though not in its presentation). It equates Zionism to fascism. Nazism is, among other bad things, a theocracy in that it believes in an Aryan race to the exclusion of all others. Fortunately, that bad idea was dispelled through many sacrifices.
When we realize the subtle difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitic we get a new perspective on the issues facing Palestine and Israel. We take away the highly emotionally charged aspect of religion and get down to the brass tacks of creating an environment conducive to peace between two peoples.
We, in the United States, are fortunate that we have the First Amendment; that we can practice our faith and, at the same time, present our perspectives without fear of retaliation or intimidation.
People that contemplate barbaric acts have already failed. There are more peaceful and productive ways to present their perspective. Any cause is hurt with violence.
Gregg Ferry, Corvallis
I’M FOR STEIN
Burned by the Bern’s burnout? Angry enough to bust? At the end of your rope dangling between the Hillary option, aka no-Trump, or not voting at all? Well hang in there because there is a better choice, in fact a super one:
Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated physician, is the Green Party candidate for president. She shares the progressive values championed by Bernie Sanders: an economy that works for everyday people, living wages, union rights, health care as a human right and more. Jill wants to cut the military budget and end our endless wars, cancel student debt and — as the Green Party name suggests — create a society in harmony with nature.
While Hillary may be “likable enough” as a person, her political persona is hard to embrace. At best she represents business and politics as usual. We need something more to change this time around than just the nameplate on the White House door. Grudging incrementalism and a don’t-rock-the-boat policy approach are simply not sufficient to turn our foundering Ship of State around.
Bernie Sanders’ name won’t appear on the Oregon ballot in November, but Jill Stein’s will. Let’s cast our votes for this Superwoman who stands for truth, justice and the NEW American way. Let’s choose hope over fear and change over more of the same. Let’s show strong support for true progressive values. Let’s stand with Jill and be counted!
Benton Elliott, Eugene
The current political reality is that we are hampered by two regressive parties: the we-won’t-do-it Republicans and the we-can’t-do-it Democrats.
John Adams, our second president, said:
“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
Our first president, George Washington, agreed, stating “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
Democrat officials have insisted we must live under a cloud of fear for far too long, always asking us to accept their corporate candidate in the face of the dreaded Republican candidate. Republicans now operate from the bottom of the political barrel. Bernie Sanders has shown us that millions are tired of this dead-end approach. The major parties have nothing to offer us by way of any exit out of the current national and global chaos. We the people must think way past the next election and challenge politics as usual. Let’s work to end Citizens United and consider a third party or an electoral system whereby voters rank candidates in order of preference (instant runoff voting). Voting under the current system changes next to nothing.
Christopher Michaels, Eugene