Letters to the Editor for July 5, 2018

Carolyn Long for Congress

As a society, we have been spiraling down into this abyss of insanity, on both sides of the spectrum. We throw the word polarization around, but what we really mean is that we have stopped listening to each other, or caring to understand why people disagree with us. Our empathy is worn thin, and with it our ability to collaborate or influence one another.

This is how Dr. Carolyn Long stands out; in the midst of a collective conversation that has devolved into reactionary epithets and ridiculousness, hers is a voice of calm reason so relatable and clear-headed that it rises above the din with ease. She is progressive, and in this she shares the same end goals of all Democrats and Progressives, but she will tell you that she also shares the same end goals of every Libertarian and Republican. In her own words, we all want the same thing — we all love America, we all want to have enough money to take care of our family, we want to see our children live a better life than we have, and we want to retire with enough money and security to stop worrying. We disagree on the fine nuances of what must go into the equation in order to achieve that end, and Carolyn understands this.

I was bowled over when I attended her first Town Hall meeting in Camas. She looks younger than she is, and her smile is infectious. She has charm in spades, combining the charismatic personality that energizes the audience with an adept gift for candid humor born of authenticity. As she spoke about her journey, it was apparent that a small piece of her represents nearly every faction of our society; she’s the fiercely loving mother of a strong-willed teen, the wife of a Republican, a brilliant academic with a PhD, and a child of rural America, born and bred in the Pacific Northwest. She has spent her adult career enmeshed in the fine nuances that determine policy outcomes. She is known for her ability to work with difficult personalities and bring together strong differing opinions.

She’s not polarizing because she stays far away from the assumption that she is always right and that anyone who disagrees with her is therefore always wrong, or worse somehow fundamentally bad. She believes in listening to understand, and as she addressed the myriad of passion-fueled questions fired at her by a room full of frustrated voters, she brought this point home.

Too many well-intentioned progressive voices are using a failed methodology to try to realize their agenda. The obstinate all or nothing approach (the same used by many Republicans in office today as well) is simply not going to succeed, whether it feels justifiable or not. Carolyn exemplifies what it means to be an effective negotiator; she supports the progressive agenda, but also lays out the necessary incremental steps to make actual progress toward it.

She lives wholly in reality, and knows because of this that the only absolute is that there is no absolute, and that everything exists in the gray areas. She is strong, and in hearing her speak you know that she doesn’t care what anyone labels her, whether they call her a progressive or centrist, a Republican or Democrat.

What she is doing is unimaginably difficult, and she is up against a multitude of competitors in her own party all vying for the Democratic nomination to face the Republican incumbent. She has a comfortable life for which she has worked hard, and she never wanted to do this. In the end, she was compelled because she saw the need and knew, just as anyone who listens to her speak knows, that she is the very best person for this job. I haven’t felt excited about a candidate in a very long time, but this woman makes me believe wholeheartedly that she can do anything.

She will quickly rise to a position of power and influence in Congress to drive meaningful policy changes that directly impact the entire Pacific Northwest.

I strongly encourage everyone on either side of the Columbia to research Dr. Carolyn Long, visit her website, watch videos of her speaking or attend one of her many campaign engagements to experience this in person. Wherever you live, you can donate to her campaign and help make a difference in our region. If you live within the 3rd Congressional District in Southwest Washington, you can vote, and you can encourage everyone you know to vote with you. This district is on the chopping block for the Republican majority in the House, but we all need to work together to show Jamie Herrera Beutler the door. We absolutely can flip the House, and Carolyn Long is the one to do it.

Marie Treadway, Camas

Future depends on support for arts in schools

I had the honor of attending the June 15 Washougal High School (WHS) “Blue Note Caf? — Jen Mahorney Memorial.” This was a school community effort to honor a woman who made a difference in so many students’ lives. These students from years past (class of 1999 was the oldest I recall being mentioned) got together to perform as Ms. Mahorney had taught them. Some recalled how her encouragement got them out on the stage. The quality of music and performance brought to mind the pain felt when a school or community cuts an arts program because they have to focus on STEM-type education to meet state standards. These former students have moved on — some into music/drama/performing arts teaching positions.

These artists shared their memories of choir adventures at WHS. There is a large photo collection of the various choirs and their achievements at state and national performances at WHS. The cohesion seen in the “students” and felt by the audience prove that the arts are here to stay.

Camas and Washougal schools have vibrant band, choir and drama groups. Every community should make an extra effort to support and promote the performances because these are the things the future depends on. We need a little peace in our lives. Copied from the program: “Rest in peace Jennifer Mahorney. We love you and will never forget your sacrifices, hard work and love for your choirs.”

A special thanks to Jessie Larson (class of 2018) who managed the Blue Note this year with encouragement from Gordon Washburn, who did much of the accompaniment. Also thanks to all the former students: Alex Isackson (piano), Bre Johnson, Jamie Campbell, Leah Niicheson, Alumni X-Tet, James Maguire, Jodie Ellis, Zachary Nelson, Rose York, Kyle Henick, Paris Mitchell, Holly Erickson, Tracy Martin, Nick Stevens, Dr. Jennifer Snapp, Kailey Dayton, River Pike, Anne Maguire, T Walker Anderson, Lauren Tofell, Emma Bartos, Ellis Tauscher and Traci Williams.

Renee Martin, Washougal

Open letter to Congresswoman Herrera Beutler regarding family separations

We are writing to urge you to do all you can to stop the grotesque and immoral family separation policy of President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and the rest of the executive branch.

The actions of the administration are a willful policy choice — the president can stop this hideous spectacle tomorrow.

Not only is the policy inhumane, it is a shocking affront to our ideals as a country and a people. The strength of America is the promise of a multiracial democracy based on the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is written in our founding documents, and in the hearts of our founding mothers and fathers.

We are a nation of immigrants — the families arriving at our doorstep are in themselves an embodiment of the Hope of America. By far, they will be an asset to our country — contributing to our economy and enriching our culture.

The language of the president and attorney general to describe those seeking refuge is beyond appalling — redolent of the basest authoritarian regimes: “animals” and “criminals” who are coming to “infest” our country.

If the aim of the president is to make the the prospect of entering the United States more horrific than staying in a country run by juntas and drug cartels — he will only “win” by destroying every decent value we hold. Every orphan’s cry will be an indictment of our moral corruption.

If the president’s position is to incarcerate these families in order to gain negotiating leverage for a new immigration bill — he is playing a shameful game of hostage-taking.

We ask you to do all you can to end this monstrous policy — for the welfare of the families, for what is right and for the sake of our nation’s soul.

Kathleen Dering and Richard Beck, Washougal