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Better together

I have a broken heart as I see the needless, and tragic deaths of African-Americans, the riots, and the divisiveness that has come to a boiling point across our nation. Our hearts are filled with pain, and a fierce desire for change with the loss of George Floyd and the many who have preceded him. At the Y, we know that Black Lives Matter, and extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of all whose lives have been tragically cut short.

As we battle the coronavirus and ensuing economic crisis, the widening gaps in health, education, and employment equity for people of color and other marginalized communities have never been more clear. Institutionalized racism, prejudicial stereotyping, and discrimination have long existed in our country for decades. Embracing diversity has long been ingrained in YMCA program objectives, but recent events serve as a resounding message demanding that we increase emphasis on becoming a more inclusive and diverse YMCA.

We have the responsibility to influence and change society through the work that we do every day inside our walls and our programs. One of the most impactful paths to sustained change is nurturing and role modeling the change we want to see in the world. “The Y is a force for building bridges among all people regardless of ability, age, birthplace, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, race, or sexual orientation.” We celebrate and value the differences between us, but it is our sameness, as humans, that must determine our actions toward one another. The Y works to facilitate friendship among all, and advocates for YMCA values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Compassion and inclusion are the embodiment of our collective strength. What unites us will always be stronger than what divides us.

We are Better Together.

David Duro, Eagle

Balance

Dear Jim,

We have known each other for over thirty-five years going back to your days as Idaho Attorney General and my days as a reporter for KIDK-TV. Whenever you were coming to Idaho Falls, I looked forward to interviewing you.

Idaho Press readers have been subjected to your numerous commentaries highly critical of Trump.

As a former New Yorker who lived in Queens just three miles east of Jamaica Estates where Trump grew up, I can attest to the fact that he has a big mouth. I can further state from experience that many other New Yorkers are also robust extroverts.

Your description of Donald Trump as a “showman” is correct. However, let’s be fair by stripping away Trump’s outer crust. Underneath his shell is a man of great substance with numerous accomplishments.

There were peaceful demonstrations by the White House as you stated. There were also violent protesters. Secret Service Agents were hurt from bricks hurled at them. Meanwhile, historic St. John’s Episcopal Church was tragically set ablaze by pyromaniacs.

Trump has come under heavy criticism from you and progressives for ordering National Guard troops to our nation’s capital. He should be credited for using them as an insurance policy to protect our precious national monuments from unruly mobs and individual thugs. Also, innocent human lives had to be safeguarded. The loss of billions of dollars with thefts of merchandise and vandalism of businesses could have been avoided with stronger initial law enforcement from the National Guard.

We both know that such lawlessness would not be tolerated here in Idaho.

How about balancing your commentaries by criticizing weak governors and mayors who are giving in to disruptive revolutionaries and anarchists?

Thank you, Jim.

Bob Ziel, Rigby

Cowardice

To the author of a May 31 letter to this newspaper: I see you. I see that in a letter that was otherwise correct in following the conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you did not capitalize the name of George Floyd. In fact, you wrote his name in all lowercase letters three times. I checked with the newspaper to see if it was a mistake. It was not.

I see your attempt to be clever, covert, or cute. By using lowercase letters to demean this man after he already suffered so greatly, you have only made yourself smaller. So small, in fact, that I won’t state your name. But I will call out your tiny, cowardly, racist gesture and take away its power.

To do that, I turn my back on you and speak to those who have suffered for untold generations. To all of these men and women and their parents and children who suffer needlessly, I affirm what you already know: George Floyd did nothing to deserve a lowercase life. YOU do not deserve a lowercase life. You are valued. You deserve dignity and autonomy. You belong here, inside the margins, telling your life stories in all caps with underlines, italics, and unlimited question marks and exclamation points.

For those of us who have not attended protests or vigils, there is still great power and potential in the name of George Floyd. Write George Floyd. Say George Floyd. Invoke his name over and over and over in a sea of words that washes the cowardice away.

Amy Siedenstrang, Boise

Hypocricy

The U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act bill; Senators, Crapo and Risch, voted against it. The newspaper reported that Senator Crapo voted against it because the “…funding is mandatory and that would “remove Congress’ oversight ability…” . Senator Risch also stated his opposition to the bill is due to concerns about “…creating a permanent program and no ability for oversight…”. Very noble grounds to refuse to vote for a bill. We all agree that congressional oversight for spending taxpayer dollars is important and necessary.

So, if oversight is so important to Senators Risch and Crapo, where are their voices to require oversight of the billions of dollars in spending for the Cares Act? Taxpayer money is being used to help businesses through the Covid 19 crisis, yet the Administration is fighting congressional attempts to conduct oversight and has failed to produce records of where the money is going.

Please Senators Risch and Crapo: Demand oversight for the billions of dollars that has been provided and is still being provided to assist businesses. It is your congressional responsibility to conduct oversight. Where has the money gone? Your silence is deafening and the hypocrisy is glaring.

Chris Stokes, Eagle

The flag

I disagree with comments made in the U.S. Flag story. I disagree with kneeling to the flag to protest anything.

The U.S Flag doesn’t represent white supremacy. The Confederate Rebel Flag and Nazi Flag represent white supremacy, and privilege. They say, “I’m better than you!”

The U.S. Flag represents an ideal. It says, “I’m just as good as you and you’re just as good as me!”

That ideal of a better country Americans will make is in the Declaration and Constitution. They call for a more perfect Union. One of unity and equality. The country isn’t perfect. Look at our history. It looks like one step forward, two steps back a lot. When we’re good, we take two steps forward and none back.

The US Flag become the best national symbol at Fort McHenry. Our anthem sums up the hope of the past and future. It says, “GIVE US YOUR WORST, WE’RE STILL HERE!”

Don’t give the privileged our flag! If you kneel to the flag you’re giving it to the privileged.

Don’t kneel to that flag. Never kneel. Stand UP!You want to raise a fist in the air, I don’t care. You want to wear a glove, I don’t care. I don’t even care what color it is. All I want to see is the U.S. Flag in that fist!

It says, “GIVE US YOUR WORST, WE’RE STILL HERE!”

Don Williams, Nampa

Care

On May 19th, my husband had a stroke and first responders took him to the closest hospital. COVID-19 restrictions restricted me from being there. I am appreciative of their due diligence. Later that day, a doctor called to let me know he was being transported to their downtown Boise Medical Center.

Four days later I was informed that he was being discharged and transported to their rehab hospital across the street. In less than two weeks, a caseworker called to inform me that they are a short-term rehab facility and that it is going to take some time for my husband to recover. I perused their web site which makes no mention of them being a short-term rehab facility. Although the medical center’s name is a part of the rehab facility’s name, another company is running it.

My objective is not to bad-mouth the medical center or the rehab hospital. My husband has gotten attached to those caring for/treating him. He will need to be transported to yet another facility. I am submitting this to alert anyone who has a loved one requiring care in this pandemic environment. I have a couple of links to share:

https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ltc/

https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Medical/LicensingCertification/FacilityStandards/LTCSurveyResults/tabid/315/Default.aspx

Shirley Kellogg, Nampa

Together

We forget “We the people of the United States.....” so what about No Black lifes matter, ALL LIfes Matter. Lets work together.

Lorraine Wright, Caldwell

Questions

Bravo Boise, for having peaceful protests! I do have a few question though, for the leaders and politicians in the black community, specifically, where are you? When a calm, rational voice is needed to come up with good solutions, all I’m hearing is crickets! I’m also wondering why BLM and ANTIFA are supporting Democrats, with their money and their actions? What have Democrats done for the black community? Well, they did start the KKK...NOT GOOD!, but then Democrat LBJ gave them the “War on Poverty”...GOOD!, or was it? Judging by results, a better name for it would have been the “War on Black Families”, for they were harmed by this program far more than any other race!

Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington pointed out the biggest tragedy caused by WOP, which is a lack of fathers in black families (70+% before, 20% after). Black youth are now being raised/mentored by the streets, making them 7-10x more likely to commit violent crimes, than any other race, 90% chance of killing, or being killed by another black, and, unfortunately, far more likely to have interactions with police.

Possible solutions. Give police better training, but will the police unions allow firings of bad police? Stop giving “hand outs”, and give “hand ups”, starting with “school choice” (with vouchers to pay for it), so black kids can get the same education as the politician’s kids, but also, unions stop protecting bad teachers! Politicians (and the media) have gotten us to this ugly point in our history, Democrats by their actions, Republicans by their inaction, so do your research, and vote! In closing, it’s sad that the black community finally has a president that’s helped them, but he is being blamed for the lack of leadership, resolve and solutions of those before him!

Robert McLean, Meridian

What comes after

An Open Letter to America

As a young man who just got my right to vote I’ve got questions and thoughts about where America is today. At eighteen years old I haven’t had the life experience of say my father who saw things I can only read about. And so when the history of our country comes under question I can’t offer the same perspective. So I’m asking those in leadership and the generations guiding the world questions.

The coronavirus is not the only thing challenging this country as we are experiencing the Black Lives Matter movement as well. The killing of George Floyd sparked protests from LA to New York. With cities that have millions of people in protest to towns with a few thousand doing the same. This, to me, seems to resemble the 1960’s Civil Rights movement. So with protesters demanding change when do we say we’ve ended systematic racism? Should we have a less militarized police force? While I believe we should take down statues of confederate generals, what about more controversial figures in American history? Should we not memorialize leaders such as George Washington because he was a slave owner? And lastly, what comes after?

Eric Rigby, Boise

Numbers

I was pleased to see more transparency about the COVID-19 numbers. People need to know the truth and it’s about time that we were told how many of the constant tally of infected people have actually recovered and don’t have COVID-19 anymore. It’s good to know that approximately 75% of people have recovered from the overall tally and that most of the remaining people who have tested positive are in the 29 or younger age categories with practically no risk of serious experiences requiring hospitalization.

A couple of questions. Why have we not been told how many people are actually hospitalized? Why are the new reported numbers also being labeled as “presumed”? Are some people not being tested and just being told they’re positive without an actual test? Is that honest? If we have increased testing and more people are out and about because of stage III and IV of the reopening plan then why is Governor Little rolling us back even though he knew and talked about it months ago that there would be an increase in positives?

I wonder if it’s too much for the Idaho press to explain to the readers how many hospital beds are taken up in the state or at least locally by people with COVID-19? That would shed some more light and transparency on something so important. We’re supposed to trust our leaders and the media but if we aren’t given all pertinent information then it’s hard to want to place any trust in our political leaders or the media.

How many are currently sick? How many are currently hospitalized for observation or in the ICU? How many tests are coming back positive versus negative?

Allan Oney, Meridian

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