The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Letters to the Editor

 


Editor's Note: Our correspondence is growing! Beginning next week, extended commentary and columns directed at individual readers, columnists and/or staff will be included in a separate "Commentary" section reserved for discussion.

"Fire Truck Clarification"

I just wanted to make sure that people understood the ballot in regards to the new proposed fire truck. A “YES” vote means that you are not in favor of the assessment (you are protesting it). A “NO” vote means you are in favor of the assessment and the city can move forward in purchasing a truck. If people have already sent in their ballot and marked it incorrectly, they can come down to the City Office and make the change. Please remember that there will be a public hearing on September 8th at 5:30 in the Council Chambers in the Civic Center. They can get any of their questions answered there in regards to this matter.

Thanks,

Rod Karst - City Council

"To VV"

I’m passing on some mildly non-mainstream publications that may be of interest. I don’t have any friends/acquaintances here who I expect would even take the time to read them. I suppose that is understandable, as none of them are near my age, so likely have been “brainwashed” since first grade.

I subscribe to three weekly papers in Northeast Montana, but I’ve got to tell you your column makes the Courier Number One!

Sincerely,

Darrell Nordhagen

Billings

"Pippen, Peterson, Pandora & Polarization"

On Heidi Pippen: (the parent of a minority who took a stand against hate in the August 5 Courier). You are brave, and should be proud. And, I empathized when you asked of the Courier, “Why would I want to support anything that Mr. Vaupel is involved in?” But consider this. The paper is our community voice, and only a medium. Freedom of speech trumps (pun intended) our temptation to retaliate against the messenger. Whether it be Mr. Vaupel’s followers who threatened to cancel their subscriptions because the Courier allows points of view like mine to be published, or ourselves because it allows Mr. Vaupel’s points of view to be published. I feel it’s more important that we rise above emotion in support of reason . . . out of respect for those veterans of wars, and protesters, who stepped up (like you have) to protect freedom and equality for ALL!

On Mr. Peterson (who chastised the Courier for allowing my commentaries on Mr. Vaupel to be published under a pen name): In a previous letter you were so fervent a fan that you put meeting, and shaking Mr. Vaupel’s hand, “high” on your bucket list. I’d much rather be free of anonymity, but obviously you, along with his other followers who threatened to cancel their subscriptions, are evidence that retaliation by his faithful against anyone who questions him . . . is highly likely! As I’ve already pointed out to you, small community businessmen cannot afford the loss of income from any one of Mr. Vaupel’s disgruntled fans, and do not have the same luxury of freedom of speech as a farmer, employee, etc. Rather than the identity of the author, what you should have found “distressing,” as you put it, is when the content of what someone writes is spinning you! Since you were too infatuated to bother fact-checking Mr. Vaupel’s assertions on race yourself, I’ll do it for you one more time in the commentary below . . . and then rest my case. If you, and/or he, still choose polarization over unity . . . then any further effort on my part would likely be a waste of time anyway! Keep in mind that I respect Mr. Vaupel’s right to bring up race, as long as you and he respect a reader’s right to disagree . . . regardless of who it may be. I do enjoy Virgil’s columns, consider him an asset to the Courier, and hope he has the intestinal fortitude to continue contributing.

On Mr. Vaupel: In your response to my commentary regarding the flawed facts you put forth to Ms. Yang in support of your negative opinion of Mexican immigrants, you said you “will strive to do better” in the future. Then your column “Opening Pandora’s Box” revealed you were paying only lip service to that commitment. You also claimed to be neither “a racist” nor “an incitant” while obviously planting yet another seed of racial discontent by questioning/speculating about whether our government will next have us taxpayers subsidizing black family’s vacations to our National Parks in the name of pushing diversity on us! Really?

You were spinning, yet chided Mr. Walling and Ms. Honrud for “nitpicking” when they challenged your statement that there aren’t “any” black players in the NHL when you could have just as easily stated there aren’t “many.” You are an award-winning wordsmith and knew better. And, the spin didn’t end there. I read the article you referred to by Glen Nelson in the NY Times, “Why Are Our Parks So White?”

Contrary to what you stated, the author is not a “white guy living in North Carolina” . . . he’s bi-racial and lives close to where he grew up in Seattle in view of Mount Rainier, the son of a Japanese mother. His oldest friend who he met in Boy Scouts is African-American and his family frequented the parks, like Mr. Nelson’s. So, as you had to have read, the focus of the article was his concern for the future of our National Parks since only 22 percent of the visitors are minorities and by 2044 the majority of Americans will be non-white. He fears that the retail and non-profit ecosystem that surrounds and supports our parks will be in trouble from lack of visitation. You ridiculed him for stating, “The National Park Service is the logical leader to blaze a trail to racial diversity,” while conveniently leaving off the last four words: “in the natural world.” It could not have been more obvious that the author was encouraging the National Park Service to promote racial diversity in its upcoming Centennial promotions, NOT for the sake of special treatment for African-Americans, and NOT for the sake of pushing diversity as you unfairly made it sound, but exactly the opposite . . . diversity for the sake of our parks! Also, it was not “similar” to the NAACP pushing diversity, which they do for the sake of racial equality, a completely different intent.

Objective open-minded readers see through spin and veiled humor that undermines minorities and diversity. It’s time to re-think your resistance to change. Promoting balance may not be as titillating as pandering to your readers’ prejudices, but doing so would at least be an ethical step leading them away from polarization, and toward the compromise and unity sorely needed between all Americans today. Diversity is no more up to you or any of us to debate than globalization. It’s a done deal! The American voters elected our first African-American President . . . twice! Among our next candidates are two women, two Cuban-Americans, an African-American, an Indian-American, and the son and brother of two former Presidents, who is married to a Mexican-American!

As a moderate, I view the conservative’s resistance to being politically correct as intellectual laziness, and on the opposite side, I AGREE THAT THE LIBERAL’S PUSH FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS RUN AMOK! But as real patriots, if we want this very diverse nation of ours to succeed we cannot allow our frustration with political correctness to become a rationalization for being hurtful, or alienating our fellow Americans who happen to be minorities. It was not for you to pretend that you were leaving it up to us to decide whether racial parity and/or diversity is a “bad thing or a good thing.” That decision was already made when our founding fathers created this great nation based upon the strength of diversity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”

Few bigots even realize they are bigots. Truth be told, I doubt you are as much of a bigot as your opinions give the appearance of . . . rather a well-intentioned worrier concerned with protecting our country, and who is operating not on hatred, but fear, like so many other patriots these days. While I too am tempted by fear, I refuse to succumb to it. I recognize that we cannot allow demagogues to manipulate our fears into paranoia.

After all, we have a history of letting them play on our insecurities. Demagogues convinced us to target German-American citizens in WWI. They had us force over 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps in WWII. We once persecuted and lynched Chinese-Americans. Say nothing of the movements against the Italians and Irish. Our Jewish-Americans were accused of plotting to destroy America. Mormons have been targeted. And screeds against our Catholics in the 19th century stoked the same fears we harbor today of our moderate Muslim citizens who are no more plotting to implement Sharia in Dearborn, Mich., than the Pope was plotting to snatch the Mississippi Valley, and secretly conspiring to overthrow American democracy! Whispering campaigns back then even had him conspiring through Presidents Van Buren and McKinley . . . sound familiar? It just seems that not repeating the same old mistakes over and over, should be plain old horse sense.

On the side of reason,

Horace Sence

 

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