Letters to the Editor for Feb. 28, 2019

Thankful for Patriot Prayer coverage

Thank you for your recent coverage of the controversial right-wing groups who will be converging in Washougal on Sunday. Without your work I would have had no idea this was happening. While I am saddened and disappointed that some members of our community found it necessary to harass and bully you, I am incredibly proud to have such dedicated and professional reporters working for our local paper. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Peter Kelly, Washougal

‘Disgusted’ by Patriot Prayer coverage

The article I read today in the Post-Record regarding gun owners and the laws that have passed in Washington concerns me.

I am disgusted how you chose to portray this subject and it is clear that the Post-Record is no longer worth reading.

Jayson R. Cottle, Kodiak, Alaska

Why punish politicians for wearing black face?

I want to thank Ellen Sward for her invigorating three-paragraph letter to the editor (Camas-Washougal Post-Record, Feb. 14, 2019) because it encouraged me to speak up about topics that I have puzzled over for some time.

First, why must politicians or anyone else be punished for dressing up in black face, or in white face for that matter? My understanding of our First Amendment is that it guarantees our right to express ourselves, but it does not protect any right not to be offended.

As an example, consider the unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in “Hustler Magazine and Larry C. Flynt, Petitioners v. Jerry Falwell Feb. 24, 1988,” where Justice Rehnquist held that “The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty — and thus a good unto itself — but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.” Thus, no matter how awful and hurtful Hustler magazine articles seemed to Reverend Falwell and many others at the time, they were protected speech under the First Amendment.

Second, in the same vein, Steve King’s own question, “White nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization: how did that language become offensive?” may be considered offensive to even ask, but is it unlawful or unconstitutional? Or is it simply an example of someone speaking his mind? Surely Rep. King has the same First Amendment right as everyone else to express his bewilderment and not be punished for it.

Ms. Sward’s third statement is quite enigmatic. She seems to suggest that voter identification requirements suppress minority votes. Interestingly, a recent study by Vincent Pons at Harvard Business School and Enrico Cantoni at University Bologna shows that strict voting requirements don’t significantly affect voter turnout, don’t keep voters from being able to vote and don’t prevent voters from registering. In addition, in their study, strict voting requirements don’t show any clear effect in stopping voter fraud either. Surprising all around, I’d say.

Lee Howard, Washougal

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