Letters to the editor July 29

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Defining America

I’ve been contemplating the recently revived slogan “America, Love it or Leave It” and would like to share what it means to me.

How do you define America? Is America the Redwood forests, and Gulf Stream waters? Or is it a set of documents written in the 18th century (before cell phones)? Or is it the people who live here?

To me, America is the people who live here. To love America means loving my fellow citizens. Therefore, if I denigrate citizens who are different than I am, I am not demonstrating love for my country. Do I love everyone? No, but I like the idea.

—Steve Eckels, Kalispell

Coyotes and critters

I have been trapping coyotes off and on for more than 50 years. I can put out a nummy bait, and a coyote will think about it a long time and may pass on a free meal. However, that little critter with stripes down his back will never pass up a free meal.

Now, which one is a Democrat?

— Mike Day, Missoula

Deeper problems

Marianne Williamson’s run for the White House continues to give me hope for America. Consider this comment during one of her events: “We are stuck in a ditch of issues. All the issues are symptoms of deeper problems.”

That is so true. Just listen to the constant media discussions and interviews with relentless opinions on our “ditch of issues.” When will we hear a question like this to a panel of people: “On the issue of the discussions about the personal flaws in President Trump’s character and behavior, what’s behind this and how did he get elected?”

This panel question was prompted by something else Williamson said at her event. She said, “Those who hate, hate with a great and obvious conviction.” So, taking this statement and applying it to the panel question, here is how we get to the deeper problem from the symptom of Donald Trump getting elected.

In 2016 we had a general election. Trump preached hate in many forms such as fear, anger and attack. Those who were turned on through Trump’s hate messages were energized with “great and obvious conviction.” They rallied. They yelled. They got people to follow them. And they voted in droves!

The rest of Americans, the majority, went about their voting business in the usual way with embarrassingly low turnouts for a system of government “Of The People, By The People, and For The People.”

Can the “deeper problem” behind the symptom be more clear?

—Bob McClellan, Missoula

Teaching Health Centers

Tara needed a sports physical and vaccination in August. In February, her dad scheduled a preventive visit and her mother had her mammogram. In March, her brother developed an ear infection. The following August, her grandmother was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

All of them went to the same doctor, a family physician, who trained in a Teaching Health Center — a physician community-based training program — an essential tool for increasing access to primary care physicians in rural/underserved areas.

Since their inception in 2010, Teaching Health Centers have been highly successful in recruiting medical students to residency programs in primary care. Currently, 56 Teaching Health Centers residencies are training 728 residents in 23 states. In Montana, we have one Teaching Health Center, in Billings. Research shows that more than nine out of 10 Teaching Health Center graduates remain in primary care practice, and more than three out of four plan to work in underserved communities.

This is critical because we know that an increase of one primary care physician per 10,000 people reduces deaths by more than 5%. In contrast, those without an usual source of care have more problems and delays accessing health services.

Teaching Health Centers’ continued success depends on Congressional action. Unless Congress reauthorizes funding, federal support ends Oct. 1.

Consider sending a note of thanks to Senators Tester and Daines for their co-sponsorship of the bill. Please also email Rep. Gianforte to encourage him to sign on to HR 2815, as he has not yet done so. Write to tell him how important access to well-trained physicians is to Montana.

We are privileged to live in Big Sky Country. Let’s be sure we are all healthy enough to enjoy it.

—Marjorie Albers, Kalispell

Bigfoot awareness

Many Montanans have recently grown suspicious of Bigfoot reports in the Whitefish area, even though the tourist trade and local politicians deny they exist. Their motives are obviously to protect Whitefish income from the tourists arriving from Hollywood and New York City. I assume they don’t care about endangering Montana.

The Environmental Protection Agency refuses to protect these animals even though they have multiplied as far down south as Kalispell. But the EPA answers the public by sending sarcastic remarks like, “Is this you, again?” This is irresponsible for a government agency when clearly it the danger is at the expense of our habitat.

I find it offensive, careless, and typical of much of the Trump government and their moronic supporters. Last Saturday night my friend’s mother-in-law, Alice Largely, was found stuck in her bathtub, hyperventilating when these reports first came out over her radio. Firemen in the Whitefish vicinity had to tell her children not to worry, that they would have Mrs. Largely set free by the end of the week. This is plainly another victim!

Few people in our local governments have listened to the outcry of progressive Montanans about Bigfoot attacks on sheep, goat, and Swiss hikers that occasionally get captured by these animals while vacationing in our Whitefish area.

With the exception of some presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, few if any reply to my letters, or pay attention to a clear and present danger to our community. I’m now asking Montanans to force media outlets to get their priorities straight.

America is a country inhabited by much more than humans! We need awareness for Bigfoot attacks! So, write, vote, cogitate and agitate! You never know when the next victim might be you!

—Mike Donohue, Kalispell

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