Letters to the editor for Aug. 2, 2018

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Frost had it right about walls

It’s somewhat easy for us Montanans to grow complacent in the debate over border walls. Shucks ... we have our lovely screen of mountains and a sparse population to diminish the urgency and relevance of the matter. Yes, the “handshake agreement” based on homespun eye contact and seasoned character recognition is giving way to trust based on lawyers, paperwork, and second, third, and even fourth-party representation. Yet a thin vestige of flesh and blood interaction still exists, and keeps our unique country corridor connected to values our beloved predecessors cherished.

Little wonder that locust clouds of transplanted coastal folk resettle here to bask in our postcard vistas as transients filter deeper into their former state to snap up weary chunks of the American Dream. Some via legal means, and many via dark channels freighting crime and violence across the border. If sanctuary cities are to be honored as a sacred refuge granted by the humane among us — ultra-broadminded globalists — then why their own concurrent exodus to the outback? “It’s the charitable thing to do. Just don’t move into MY backyard!”

The same double-standard flows in the gun-control frenzy, with the gaping orifice of Glittertown shouting behind the spiked walls of gated communities. Or the Gores among us, disdaining the factory vapors far below as their Lear jet, fueled by recycled compost, carves doughnuts in the clouds. Or the innocent voices of traumatized teens, victims of random murder, spurred on as pawns by a liberal adult population bent on seeding votes for a later harvest. Hidden agendas. Sleight of Hand. Smoke and mirrors. All the makings for Carney Row at the fair. “Step right up! Trust me! I have your best interests in mind.”

The immortal lines of Emma Lazarus’ timeless poem truly grace Lady Liberty. The heartache and irony of their intent is found in the fabric of its origin opposed to the reality of today. “Tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” exist now and forever will. The freedom, however, must be earned, legally gained, not merely granted. It’s a vastly different global community out there than when the “Golden Door” first opened.

It may seem harsh and cold to express, but Robert Frost DID have it right in “Mending Wall” when he scribed “Good fences make good neighbors.”

How many among us are willing to uproot the posts and boards that border property in our land? Open range? A time of the past. —Gary Vinson, Kalispell

Is Trump an avatar of Big Brother?

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” Winston Smith’s job in the country of Oceania was to put stories that disagreed with Big Brother down the memory hole, never to be viewed again. His research on the streets to find out about history was frustrated to find that no one remembered the way things used to be. Big Brother had so stifled the rights and freedoms of individuals that over time no one knew how to get them back. Facts didn’t matter.

As Big Brother explained: 2+2=5, because no one could prove otherwise. There were no mathematical or scientific principles. There was no record of the way it was supposed to be. History was irrelevant. Facts and truth went down the memory hole.

Today facts and truth are being challenged. Russians attacked the United States by hacking the election systems in seven states, organizing thousands of fake stories and fake demonstrations in social media, turning thousands of electronic bots to influence users of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat,and hacking into our electrical grid; yet Trump has repeatedly claimed this story is a witch hunt, a hoax. Consequently, 50 percent of his supporters believe the Russian investigation is a Democratic scam. Worse yet, 75 percent Republicans support Trump in spite of his potential involvement and repeated lies. (According to Washington Post, on average Trump lies four times a day) The president has attacked the press as “enemy of the people.” Trump has attacked the FBI because they are investigating the Russian attack, fact. Trump and associates have threatened physical threats or arrest of political opponents, fact. He has claimed climate change is a fake story; whereas, climate change is a scientific fact. He has claimed he would have won the popular vote were it not for prevalent voter fraud — his claim is a fact, his assertion a myth. He claims Americans pay the most in taxes and that the tax reform law would cost him a fortune — false and false. The dishonesty goes on and on while the truth disappears.

When facts don’t matter, 2+2=5. If 2+2=4, everything will follow because facts and truth do matter. They are essential in a republican form of government. It is why we study history because sometimes the simple act of remembrance is an act of resistance to a tyrant. When truth stops, tyranny begins. It is why the institutions of law and order, the press, the freedom to protest or to petition our leaders, must be respected and maintained. It is why we have a Constitution that outlines the historical objectives of this country. By examining the dystopia of Oceania in “1984,” we learn that when facts and truth become irrelevant, there can be no republic. When the people of the United States decide truth doesn’t matter, the United States will no longer be the leader of the free world. We will take our place amongst the many authoritarian states that chose the cult of personality over country and join those countries in the dustbin of failed states of world history. In light of what is transpiring in America, Orwell must be rolling in his grave. —David R. James, Eureka

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