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Our weekly mailbag includes competing viewpoints on partisan politics and essential vaccinations.

We can't lionize the past while ignoring the present

When reading Kerry Tymchuk's My View column ("National politics: stepping back from madness"), I appreciated how he wrote that "while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. Facts matter. The truth matters."

While he touched upon the bipartisanship shown by Sens. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, and held up Sen. Mark Hatfield as an example as well, I had hoped he would also reference the recent poor examples shown by certain current Republican state lawmakers.

Read Kerry Tymchuk's column from earlier in January 2021.

Mr. Tymchuk surely must have seen the full-length editorial column in this paper a few weeks ago regarding how 13 Republican lawmakers, including the Republican candidate for Oregon secretary of state, signed onto a letter last month wanting Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join Trump's multi-state U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit, in which millions of votes would have been invalidated, thus overturning the election. This candidate, after stating during the campaign that she found no issues with Oregon's mail-in voting system, essentially turned around and joined an effort to upend all those votes.

Read our Dec. 14, 2020, editorial on lawmakers who supported an attempt to invalidate the 2020 presidential election.

Days after these lawmakers sent this letter, another Republican lawmaker was found to have allowed the white supremacist group, the Proud Boys, to gain entrance into the state Capitol building during the special session. He has since been stripped of his committee assignments, but I hope he faces more repercussions.

It is all very well and good to hold up those who exemplify the best in national politics, but we have a crisis right here in Oregon as well. No healing can happen without full accountability and recognition of what has been happening in this state.

Brian McGahren, Tigard

Media decries corruption but covers for President Biden

The Jan. 14 issue of the paper was an excellent reminder of the importance of local news. The Times does an outstanding job of covering local events.

However, one of the captions on the front page mentioned corruption. During the past four years-plus, you had President Donald Trump in the news quite a few times, and I don't remember any positive articles about him, but plenty of negatives.

According to the media and the Democrats (what's the difference?) President Trump colluded with Russia, was a traitor, etc.

The first impeachment was also a sham. But the corruption of the Biden family's financial ties to the Ukraine and China was not deemed worthy of letting the American people know.

Joe Biden bragged about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into the Burisma corruption fired. This was a fact. Yet President Trump was impeached for the same thing.

The major news outlets totally suppressed any of the financial ties of the Biden family to foreign countries, and Joe Biden lied about his knowledge of it. This was probably how he was elected president — the general public knew nothing. You suppressed the news.

This latest incident, the storming of the Capitol, is now being used as an excuse to demonize Trump supporters. Over 70 million people who need to be "cleansed" of those positive feelings for President Trump.

The media should be a champion of the First Amendment but sadly not so.

Troy Smith, Beaverton

Don't tighten vaccine requirements for schoolchildren

I am a registered nurse and a strong patient advocate. The Oregon Senate has introduced Senate Bill 254 that would once again medically discriminate against students who have not received all recommended vaccines.

This bill would create significant educational discrimination — like none ever seen in Oregon. I cannot imagine the impact on families and children and the inequalities this would create. This bill would discriminate even against families who choose not to give their children the hepatitis B vaccine, a vaccine for an illness that is spread by blood and body fluids, not typically communicable in a school setting!

As a nurse, I believe that SB 254 disregards patient autonomy and self-determination which are ethical tenets of the nursing profession. Every single medical procedure has risks and benefits — vaccines are no exception. In one of my work settings, I personally witnessed and cared for an adult patient who had an instant, severe vaccine reaction. Beyond this, four of my friends have watched their children have serious vaccine reactions. These instances have alerted me to the current insufficiency of medical screenings prior to giving vaccinations. We do not know how to identify who is at risk for reactions and who is not.

We must continue to support choice in any medical procedure. We must also make sure no student is excluded from public education. We must urge our legislators to vote no on SB 254.

Ashley Corey, Metzger

Governor is right to prioritize educators for vaccine

I am 75 years old and am vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. I have fought off cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I am anxious to receive the vaccine. Yet, I strongly support Gov. Kate Brown's decision to give the limited supply of vaccine Oregon has obtained first to schoolteachers before providing it to those over 65.

We senior citizens have had the chance to live full lives, to obtain education, pursue careers, hold jobs, to form relationships and raise children.

The big difference between us and today's schoolchildren is that the schools were always open for us. There was no rampant pandemic that endangered us, our families and our teachers, that forced us out of the classroom, that confined us at home away from our friends and instructors and coaches. The consistency of our schooling was a major feature in our academic development and social maturation.

Today's students have already missed much of the enjoyment we had of growing up with our schoolmates, the excitement of learning we had in our classes with our teachers and fellow students. Consequently, the level of student achievement has fallen in Oregon and elsewhere. The quality of their education has fallen below what we had.

Inoculation bottlenecks, new fears about whether the vaccines will forestall all virus variants, and the continued failure of so many to comply with simple rules for prevention suggest life will not return to normal for a long time. So, for many students, the damage will continue and the loss will never be fully recovered.

We will all get the vaccine. But reopening the schools quickly is critical to the children's lives, to Oregon's future. Extending the lives of the retired, not so much.

Richard Botteri, Raleigh Hills


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