Thanks to The Dalles

It has been 10 years since have been to The Dalles. I am a Catholic priest, a Redemptorist Missionary.  For 13 years, from 1998-2010, I spent four weeks each summer in the cherry orchards of The Dalles. I always told my friends that I worked 10 months each year so that I could spend a month in The Dalles for the cherry harvest. My Redemptorist Superior asked me what I hoped to do in my "senior years of ministry."  It is a gentle way of talking about retirement. I told him, "During the cherry harvest, I will be in The Dalles."

I have worked all over the U.S., offering ministry in agricultural communities. I did not grow up on a farm or in a rural community.  Thirty years ago, I began working in Hispanic ministry and have been blessed to live and work in rural communities most of those years. I have the privilege of knowing many wonderful people putting food on our tables throughout this country.  I wish to tell you that there is no place like The Dalles.  

My work involves advocacy and spiritual support for those who put food on tables of the world. I am grateful for the voices of those calling attention to the "essential" work of agriculture. It appears to take a pandemic for many to recognize the work that so many people of The Dalles have recognized for generations. I have worked in more than 15 states to offer religious services for farmers and farm workers, and I have not experienced better care for migrant farm workers and their families than in The Dalles. 

The relationship of growers and workers in The Dalles is not the same in communities where the farms are run by giant corporations.  The programs of OCDC effectively reach more children than efforts seen in other communities. Health care available to the workers has always been good, but is even more impressive in responding to COVID-19. The education and preparation of the orchards for addressing COVID-19 appears to be more effective than reports from other states.  

Thank you growers, OCDC, health care community and all who work so hard to make this a place of welcome for the people working in agriculture. This year is difficult in so many ways because of a pandemic and other divisions that we see around us. It simply is important to me to point out the good that may be overlooked in difficult times.  

Most important, thank you to all the migrant workers who welcomed me back for the harvest. I was only able to offer Masses in some of the camps and visited others. The highlight for me was one morning passing workers as in an orchard where I was going to celebrate Mass that evening. It was 5:30 a.m., and workers were close to the road. I heard from the trees a man crying out to about 50 workers. He said, "We have Mass in our camp tonight."  It was the next phrase that got me. "Nuestro Padre Miguel ha regresado" (Our Father Miguel has returned). On hearing that, I walked into the orchard. Many still recognized me after 10 years away. 

The Dalles is the easiest migrant ministry mission in America. In all my work in migrant ministry, there is no place where I have received a greater welcome by workers, growers and the community. And a great perk is eating the sweetest cherries on earth.  

Rev. Michael McAndrew, C.SS.R.

 

‘No religious test’

Mr. Goodpaster, in his second paragraph, July 1 letter to the editor, refers to “individual liberties.” The Declaration of Independence addresses “certain unalienable RIGHTS," three of which are mentioned, but are not further elaborated upon. Other rights, such as voting rights, same sex marriage, LGBTQ and free public education, have been defined by succeeding generations.

The next sentence of The Declaration states that the “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …” The preamble of The Constitution begins and ends with the words “WE THE PEOPLE ... do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”  Compare these words to Romans 13:1 (KJV), “For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained by God.”

Taken together, these quotes show that there is no third party in our governance; only the people and the government(s) they establish.

To my reading, Mr. Goodpaster’s letter has very religious overtones.  Our founding fathers, being aware of the dangers of mixing religion and government far more than we are now, wrote in the Constitution that all officers, whether federal or state, “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED AS A QUALIFICATION to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” I emphasized this last clause because it has no precedence in European and American history or jurisprudence. The words “shall ever be required” are found nowhere else in today’s Constitution.

Michael D. Morneault

White Salmon

 

Fully fund police

The call by liberal protesters and politicians to defund our police departments is one of the most insane things I’ve heard in a long time. What’s going to happen when the bad guys assault your wife and daughters, break into your house, and steal your stuff? Who is going to protect you? Will it be the protesters and left-wing politicians calling for the abolishment of police? I doubt it. They’re not interested in putting their life on the line like our police officers do each day.

Out of about 80,000 police officers in our nation, I’m sure there’s a few bad apples, and they need to be weeded out. Some reform and retraining from police department leadership might be in order in some cases. There should be no tolerance for racism and police brutality. But for the most part, our officers are good men and women who have pledged to serve and protect our citizens and communities. They put their life in jeopardy every time they put on a uniform and step into the public. They’re dealing with the worst element of society on a daily basis — hardened and repeat criminals and rebels who hate anyone who represent authority. It’s hard to imagine what it would feel like to pull someone over and wonder if the window will roll down with a .44 Magnum pointed in your direction. They have to make split-second life and death decisions. 

Our officers have families who are never sure if their spouse or parent will return home from work on any given day. They’re underpaid, and underappreciated, and they have a thankless and stressful job. I wonder if any of the misguided people who are crying for defunding would have the guts to strap on a gun and badge and face what our officers face each day.

I for one am thankful for our police officers. They are brave men and women who deserve our gratitude and honor. I support The Dalles Police Department and Wasco County Sheriff Department 100 percent! Let’s keep our police departments fully funded, and let’s show some gratitude and honor where it is due. 

David Clear

The Dalles

 

Examine motive

What does the “Black Lives Matter" movement mean to me? It is not a denigration of any other race; it is not a comparative statement; it is a declaration. 

In the words of the great Frederick Douglass, “To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers.”

Go ahead and re-read that last sentence. Read it as many times as it takes for the full weight of that statement to bear down on your heart. 

If your response to the statement, "Black lives matter" is to say that "all lives matter," perhaps you should examine your motives. What is your intent? Because if you truly believe that all lives matter, and that all people deserve to be treated fairly and justly, then you should have no problem declaring that black lives matter. 

Or is your intent to turn the volume down on the historical and continuing struggle of Black, and non-white Americans, in general? It’s almost as though you think that if those Black folk get out of line and start making demands, then what next? Are Mexicans going to want to be seen as equal? Are Native Americans going to want their land back? And then how will you preserve what little privilege you have in society? You should be grateful that what non-white people want is equality and not revenge.

Examine your motives.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

 

In it together

I believe that the quality of a society is best viewed on how well we are all taken care of. There are marginalized people in our communities today and it’s a mistake to think that their quality of life doesn’t have an affect on the rest of us. As a white man, I don’t often see race as an issue around me, so I find it difficult to comprehend what it’s like to experience racism because of my skin color. 

I hope that during the coming months, we as a society can look at all the commonalities people have and use those as building blocks to create a better situation for all. We are not so different you and I, but the political dance unfolding in front of us makes it hard to remember. Keep your eyes on the prize, “we are all in this together!”

Avery Hoyt

White Salmon

 

Expect big impact 

Under Canvas, Inc. is a nationally held resort level corporation, not a small campground. Their other holdings are situated next to National Parks, and if you’ve ever visited a NP, you understand the crowd level that they draw.

One question with this proposed location is its appropriateness. It could bring NP level crowds. Perhaps there may be a more appropriate location in the mid-Columbia area that can handle the traffic and influx. Under Canvas, Inc. resorts offer the same capacity and impact as a hotel, which is typically located in a commercial zone. There’s a reason that other communities have taken a stand against this entity choosing inappropriate sites.

By employing 60-plus people, it may generate some seasonal employment, but their model isn’t geared towards that, and it has little potential to offset the housing situation. The housing market will most likely get tighter. Few stand to benefit financially, but most will be negatively impacted.

Another concern is the precedence set by an aggressive, sophisticated petitioner. A large number of parcels in our area may see pressure to convert to alternate uses.

The question is not how cool or eco-friendly the business model is. It’s about this location, the impact and better planning for growth. The impact from Under Canvas, Inc. starts long before arrival at the resort. Under Canvas, Inc. has no connection with the area other than a corporate revenue generating opportunity.

No one likes to be told how to use their property, including the folks who will have to be neighbors of this. Fire danger is a huge concern, as well a demand on the water aquifer. The increase in trips per day on Highway 141 and Oak Ridge Road will be painfully felt.

Opinions vary when it comes to change, but if it is literally in your backyard and will materially affect your quality of life it’s important that you know about it.

Planning is how communities shape their future. Under Canvas, Inc. has not genuinely engaged the community, they’ve sought allies.

Nancy Filippino

White Salmon

 

Lawsuit against Inslee 

Rep. Chris Cory’s June 24 report is a telling example of how state governments are assuming powers not granted by their office. That a state representative must sue a state governor to halt misappropriation of emergency powers is a strong indication of governmental malfeasance. “Emergency” means a set of unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the agency.” The circumstance of the virus are known and agency measures are in place. No longer do we need to be placed under the absolute control of one government official. 

This COVID virus is but one example where Gov. Inslee has disregarded State and Federal Laws and overstepped his authority. Recently, Inslee asked the Klickitat County Sheriff to enforce (fine/arrest) people for non-compliance with social distancing laws. Laws that Inslee knows, or should know, violate constitutionally provided civil rights and hence cannot be enforced by the sheriff. Inslee also requested the sheriff to enforce I-1639, which contradicts the Second Amendment and also prevents enforcement by the sheriff. Most recently, Inslee spearheaded HB-1493, permitting the use of facial recognition surveillance (spy) cameras in retail stores and public places for use by the State. 

Gov. Inslee’s authoritative misconception of his powers where the ends seemingly justifies the means is disrespectful and undemocratic.

Wayne Petersen

White Salmon

 

Violence path

The evidence of history reveals that socialism, by whatever name it goes by, is at the same time both suicidal as well as homicidal. Upwards of 150 million people have been exterminated over the past century and billions more impoverished and subjugated in pursuit of this fatal conceit. Socialism is war by all against all. 

Today, the left pretends to offer a race solution by advancing the same remedy which animated the original problem to begin with. We’re expected to believe that every single individual within a common racial group is guilty of racism while each person within a different group is automatically exempt due solely to this subjective qualifier. Then and now, this is the lethal nature of group identity.

Hitler was arguably the leading racialist of the past 100 years. Yet he was also a preeminent Man of the Left and the quintessential socialist of the past century. Progressive liberals like to recall his first characteristic and forget the rest because they share the common socialist pedigree.

From the atheist inspired French Revolution onward to Lenin and Stalin and forward to today, revolutionary leftist violence is not only condoned but is accepted as an essential ingredient to hasten the stages of the subversion process by employing fear and terror. 

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are Marxist-Leninist in orientation both in philosophy and practical application. It is well said that the communist is the socialist in a hurry. As we witness, revolutionary socialism, whether Marxist or fascist, becomes feral when directed against a targeted society.

Mike Goodpaster

Goldendale

 

Egg-cellence?

We live in the self-proclaimed “Greatest Country in the World.” Yet many people believe that a two-week-old fertilized egg deserves more compassion and protection than a talking, walking, breathing human being who happens to have the wrong skin color, ethnic background, or religious beliefs.

That is simply nonsense. It also goes against every word in the First Amendment as well as Judeo-Christian values.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

 

‘We must defend’

Religion (as apposed to spirituality) owes its continued existence to its success at muddying the waters the concept “absolute” and “infinite” swims in. Because we are finite, this concept is quite literally beyond our imagination. Accordingly, everything we say about God is projection, and no more reasonable than anything a rival religion says. Yet we have killed each other for tens of thousands of years over these imaginary differences. 

The oligarchs who own the trademark/copyright on their particular/peculiar God have always made it so because their existence depends on it. Consider the word “unique.” Its definition is unbearably precise because it is absolute. It means “there is only one.” The phrase “very unique” is nonsensical. It means “very only one.” Our intuitive uneasiness with precision, and the absolute, combine to form a subtle campaign to corrupt this wonderful word out of existence. It is unique. We must defend.

David Warnock

Hood River

 

Country of hope

Inspiring to see all the volunteer effort to help feed those in need with the food bank garden. ("FISH Food Bank garden grows, with help, during COVID-19" by Trish Walker (July 8). With all of the unemployment, hunger has increased drastically in America. The House passed a bill to increase SNAP (food stamp) benefits, along with rent relief to prevent millions of foreclosures, but the Senate has not responded. 

Time to help by calling and writing those who represent us and tell them it is time to end hunger and homelessness in America. The more we speak up, the better chance America will become a country of hope for all.

Willie Dickerson

Snohomish, Wash.

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