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Letters to the editor: Moderate Republicans: Save the Republican Party; Feeding the fish

Moderate Republicans: Save the Republican Party


Politically, I am a proud Independent. From liberal to conservative, I believe we need diverse perspectives for the healthiest government possible.

Our success has been due to our ability to find common ground in solving our nation's challenges with different people working together. Traditionally, we have done this through our political parties. Political parties can be good things but they can also do lots of damage through self-inflicted wounds.

Right now, I see the Republican party on the verge of collapsing/splintering through such a wound! The party seems to have devolved into the "Cult of Trump," no longer a platform of political thought but a slavish following of a leader who's not held to a high standard nor criticized for questionable behavior. In a democracy, we have a right and duty to question. But Republicans seem afraid to speak out.

Now, I have met Christian politicians (not Christianists, who use religion and the Bible for their own amoral or immoral purposes), whose love of their neighbors allow them to extend compassion and cooperation across the aisle. However, their ethical conscience had a VOICE. And those voices had no problem joining other voices, left, right or center, for the good of the PEOPLE. Where are those voices now? Today, it seems the "Cult of Trump" is addicted to wealth, bigotry,power and "its base." Like any addict, the party will eventually lose its mind, increasingly do more and more outrageous things to feed its addiction, including throwing moderate conservatives who want to work with Democrats "under the bus" and "out of the party."

Good government does not function well when extremists of any kind are in power, especially when reasonable members say and do nothing. Good elected officials know "we all do better when we all do better." Please, don't blind yourselves to what is happening in your party or society. Do NOT STAY SILENT! Speak out now! Moderate Republicans, save yourselves and the Republican Party! "Cult worship" is not the same as "democratic political process." We need you, too!

Linda Alvarez

River Falls

A nation on its knees


When we look up the word "terrorism" we find the following definition: "The use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims." That definition may feel uncomfortable to read these days. Aren't we the ones supposed to be fighting "terrorists?" Remember, "terrorism" is not a reference to an ideology or a specific political or religious doctrine. It is a word which defines a method of action.

In the past weeks we, in the United States, have learned that our government has decided to take children away from parents applying for asylum at our borders, in a strategy specifically intended to discourage families from engaging in such activities. We are talking about infants here. There is no reference to decency or standards meant to avoid trauma or cruelty to even the most vulnerable children in this new doctrine. That is because cruelty and emotional trauma is precisely our government's intention. So that's where we're at. Our government has decided to be a terrorist organization. Shocking? It better be.

I did intentionally leave out the word "unlawful" from the definition of terrorism. As I listen to Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions try to duck behind the fact "we are only enforcing the law" (a lie), once again I come face-to-face with the mentality of the bigoted racists who try to justify their failings by citing the law.

Terrorism is independent of "the law." It is about targeting civilians (and yes, infants) using violence and intimidation. There is no humanity or morality or slightest bit of decency present In this policy. It is hateful and depraved.

Some may point to our history and say this is who we are. No. We are what we aspire to be. This terrorism must stop. Enough is way past enough. This is shameful.

Paul White

River Falls

Feeding the fish


A high school teacher in California years ago began his annual Holocaust unit with an experiment at the front of the classroom. He outfitted an aquarium with water, shells, plants, and a bubbler but no fish. Each day he shook a little fish food into the water while launching into his lesson for the day.

After several days of this, he began to hand the food to one of his students, and the student would jump up and do the feeding. Eventually, students began volunteering at the start of class. Everyone knew there were no fish, but most were willing to act as though there were, the point being that it is possible through repeated iterations of a lie to make people act as though it is the truth, particularly when others are doing so.

There isn't much in life that is more important than being willing to do the right thing at a crucial time. Hitler proved that he could actually manufacture fear and rage by "scapegoating" the Jews for Germany's weakened condition following WWI. In the wake of the Holocaust, tens of thousands of Germans spent the remainder of their lives hoping their grandchildren would somehow understand and forgive how quietly most had watched their leader feed the fish, nurturing the blame and hatred of minorities in their country.

I can only believe that the Trump years will one day be looked back upon as the time when an American president actually lied, threatened, bribed, bullied, persuaded citizens to mistrust the free press and our own judicial system, abused and demeaned women, endangered the health and stability of our only planet, disgusted our allies, coddled inhumane and tyrannical leaders, and stirred up a fear of "the other" that victimized multiple minorities.

Each of us will then have to remember where we were, how we were responding, when all this was occurring.

The immigration policy of this administration has now brought us to a new low, as thousands of Central American parents have been forcibly separated from their children after fleeing to the United States of America for protection from violence. This is only possible under an administration that thrives on the scapegoating of entire immigrant groups. Feed the fear. Feed the hatred. Feed the fish.

Vickie Cobian

River Falls