Thoughts from readers on how we elect our president and on the myths and misconceptions around Freemasonry.

Time to retire nonsense of electoral college

Let's cut to the chase. The Democratic candidate won by over 300,000 individual votes. It was the obsolete "electoral college" system that put Trump into office. The Russians didn't influence the individual voter as much as it did the so-called intellectual electoral voter, who was bamboozled by the Russians into installing what the history books will record as the worst president in history.

Two hundred years ago, it was a different world with 13 states along the East Coast. The areas west of the Allegheny Mountains, still a wilderness of virgin forests and hostile Indians who didn't take kindly to the English invaders. The mode of transportation being horse, between settlements on dirt roads about five miles apart. The average settler trying to clear enough of the virgin forest to grow. few vegetables among the huge stumps, going to town (seldom) to get a few staples like sugar, coffee or tea and gunpowder for their flintlock muzzle-loaded guns. In that environment, it made sense to have a representative "electoral college" system.

In today's world of communication (and transportation), it is time to put it into the dust bin of history. What the electoral college has given us is the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney Iraq disaster with thousands of people killed, cities destroyed and a multitude of displaced refugees. A total disaster. Here again, receiving more individual votes was Al Gore.

Consider, too, with all the parsing of the words of the Second Amendment, why is no one talking about the one-shot, flintlock, muzzle-loading guns that were the promise of guarantee to have? Why is not the environment relative to what was stated in the amendment?

How about a dose of reality. Is not the face that guns limited to one shot were the subject of the Second Amendment? That was the case for almost 100 years. It wasn't until 1879 that a blacksmith, Johnathan Browning, produced a multi-shot repeating rifle.

The authors of the Constitution would be horrified at the proliferation of multiple-shot guns designed for warfare.

Jerry Logan, Lake Oswego

The Freemasons walk among us

When I was a child, I asked my dad about a building in town with a Square & Compasses emblem on it. I was told that it was where the Freemasons met, and that they are a secret organization and one needs to be a blood relative to become a member.

My dad was totally misinformed. The Freemasons are not a secret organization, they wear the Square & Compasses emblem on jewelry and clothing, proudly put it on their automobiles, and of course it identifies the buildings where they meet. Usually, the names and phone numbers of the lodge officers are posted in the window of the lodge hall. Obviously, it's not a very secret organization. Membership is not restricted to relationship with existing members. The only requirements to become a member are be an 18-year-old man (it is a fraternity; women may join the Eastern Star, a concordant organization), he must ask of his own free will, he must hold a true belief in deity/God, and not currently be a felon on probation.

Freemasons support many philanthropies and believe that education is key to the future for all of us. In our area, some of the lodges provide the Child Identity Program (ChIP), where we use a computer to take a child's photo and thumb prints. Then a paper is printed with the information and given to the parents, so that they may have information available for authorities should the child ever go missing.

Another program is called Bikes for Books, to encourage elementary school students to read. They read grade-level books and submit their name for a drawing. At the end of the year, a drawing is held and the Masons provide a free bicycle to one girl and one boy in each of the participating schools.

The lodges encourage scholastic excellence by recognizing students who achieve 3.5 GPA or better. We also award several scholarships, some to graduating seniors, some to continuing education students and some to students in nursing programs. Freemasons support a local Boy Scout troop, the food banks and womens' shelters.

Freemasons are quietly working in our community, supporting education and helping the needy. Yes, they walk among us. To be one, ask one.

Cleve Rolfe, Newberg

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