Letters to the Editor: What is the meaning of patriotism?

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RG Letters to the Editor icon

A symbol of liberty and justice?

Before voting in November, think carefully about how candidates use our sacred words and symbols: the flag, patriotism, liberty, freedom and Christianity.

Is the flag a symbol of liberty and justice for all as stated in the Pledge of Allegiance or only an excuse to exclude those who don’t look or think like I do? Does patriotism mean love of this country, which gave immigrants like my grandfather a chance to start a new life, or is it an excuse to keep immigrants out by building a wall and putting immigrant children in cages? Are freedom and liberty an opportunity to make responsible choices for the common good or an excuse to horde assault rifles in my basement? Is Christianity about loving one another or about using the cross to shame and coerce women into having a baby and to criminalize doctors who perform abortions?

False prophets and charlatans use sacred words to make voters angry and afraid. What kind of world do we want for our children? America’s greatness lies in reinventing itself for the future not in seeking greatness in the past. Trying to turn back the clock results in stagnation, failure and Jan. 6 style chaos.

Donald M. Brasted-Maki, Eugene 

Skateboard parking needed

On Sept. 12 I was waiting behind a young gentleman to go through the security screening process at the Lane County Courthouse, when he was told by one of the security guards that he could not bring “that” in the building. He looked confused, and the security guard reiterated “you can’t bring ‘that’ into the building.”

I stepped up and asked the guard if he was referring to the man’s skateboard, and he said that he was. I asked the young man if he was afraid his skateboard would get stolen if he left it outside, and he said “yes.”

I then asked the guard if he could keep the skateboard behind their desk area, and he said “no,” which meant this young man had a Sophie’s Choice: leave his skateboard unattended outside, where it would undoubtedly get stolen, or miss court, which could have long-lasting repercussions.

I was angry and saddened that the guard, or the county, wouldn’t allow this man to stash his property in a safe place. The county provides parking for cars and bicycles. Skateboards are a common form of transportation, so the county needs to build parking for skateboards within the county building. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the near future.

Loree Holmes, Eugene 

Bring extra batteries

For some strange reason Sam Porter equates the development of the Pacific Northwest with destroying the planet (Guest View, Sept. 18). It has been said that the pioneers came west “with the smell of smoke in their nostrils.” Areas that have dry seasons tend to have conifer forests and fires, most started by lightning. Areas with less dry seasons have deciduous hardwood forests and fewer fires.

In 1895 the population of California, a semi-arid region, was 1.3 million. Today it is 40 million. Electric utilities run lines where people want to live.

Porter decries Uncle Ed’s Imperial and our standard of living, blaming Trump, of course, for every ill. No electric vehicle or alternative energy device can be built without fossil fuels. Solar and wind will never produce the needs of 8 billion people.

Porter asks who will show us the right way to change our lifestyle. Why doesn’t he turn off his heat and air conditioning and divest himself of every single product produced in any way with fossil fuels? Does anyone believe Greta Thunberg is going to lower her cushy standard of living one iota? In the meantime, if you’re visiting relatives in California be sure and bring extra flashlight batteries.

Greg Williams, Noti 

No more horns

Sunday morning. Five a.m. A distant low rumble. It grows louder.  Then the ear-piercing blast of a train horn. It goes on and on as the train passes through each of the 10 vehicle crossings. By the time the rumble fades I'm wide awake.

Maybe I'm seeing this situation too simply but what's wrong with a simple bell, red flashing lights and a diagonally striped black and white gate coming down?

I grew up in a Midwestern town with several parallel train tracks cutting right through the center of town. No blaring horns. In all of my 18 years before I moved away to college, I never heard of one single person run over by a train.

What if a new law was passed where, whenever a vehicle passes through an intersection on a green light, the driver was required to blast his horn? Three times! Don't most pedestrians stop at the don't walk/red light signal? Besides that, the bell has a prettier sound. Whether you're a pedestrian or a driver, it's ultimately your responsibility to protect yourself.  No other person or law is likely to do it for you.

David B. Craig, Eugene 

An airborne aerosol

The CDC and WHO still do not acknowledge that COVID-19 is an airborne aerosol rather than a droplet transmission. This means that ventilating and filtering our indoor air, the most common sense and effective response to the pandemic, is still neglected. It's a scandal, born of investment in droplet theory and the desire of powerful interests, to avoid liability. It's time to equip our indoor spaces with air filters and with CO2 monitors to help make strategic choices about when to mask, where to sit and when to enter or leave an indoor space.  It's an airborne pandemic. Visualize it like cigarette smoke — the virus gathers in the air for a time before it disperses. Thinking this way as a habit will help us manage our collective risk. Repeat infection leading to long COVID is the scenario we want to prevent. Wear filter masks like N95 rather than cloth or surgical, get the omicron booster and ventilate as much as weather permits. A Corsi Rosenthal box is a do-it-yourself air filter that's inexpensive and easy to assemble.  Thomas Arnold, Eugene 

Why stop at dead tree snags?

Melvin Thornton worries about dead tree snags as potential fire hazards without mentioning that recently the U.S. Forest Service has put out an advisory that falling green trees weakened by drought and other factors have become a significant cause of deaths of firefighters, including this year in the state (Guest View, Sept. 21). Does he feel we should therefore cut down all the green trees, too, since they are potential hazards? 

Even a hot fire will lay down when it reaches an old burn, because there is less fuel. That’s not where the danger is. But, if trees are that dangerous, I guess we should remove all of them in Oregon, so the loggers will be nice and rich and maybe, for once, stop complaining until they realize there is nothing left to cut, and then they will blame the environmentalists and the Democrats for the lack of forests.  Michael S. Smith, Eugene 

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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Letters to the Editor: What is the meaning of patriotism?