My Nickel's Worth

Help the people in need

Given the extreme partisan politics displayed by Trump and McConnell in the past four-plus years, it is amusing to now hear Republicans complain about the lack of bipartisanship by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But, let’s set right-wing hypocrisy aside and focus on what really matters to American people who are suffering from Trump’s COVID malfeasance and economic wreckage.

People desperately need and want help. I don’t think they care if that relief comes from a partisan vote in Congress. They could care less if it is the result of “reconciliation.” That’s because the result will be bipartisan relief for everyone — Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Negotiating a compromise with those who supported Trump’s ruinous policies, practiced extreme partisan politics, and now want to provide less help to suffering people is not the solution. If Republicans in Congress don’t want to help people in need, that’s on them.

If Trump supporters are all that concerned that Biden rejects compromise, they are welcome to decline the money, decline the unemployment benefits, and decline everything else that is in President Biden’s much-needed COVID relief package.

— Michael Funke, Bend

Three questions for Bentz

After watching the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, I am hoping that my newly elected Oregon Republican congressman, Cliff Bentz, has had second thoughts about his Jan. 13 vote to exonerate Donald Trump's Jan. 6 actions to incite a crowd to sack the Capitol and ignore congresspersons' pleas to call off the rioters. Even Mitch McConnell has acknowledged that Donald Trump's actions were inexcusable.

In remarks to the media, Bentz said the Jan. 13 'rush-to-judgment' impeachment would only divide the nation more and undercut efforts to get both parties working on key issues, such as COVID-19.

"I voted against impeachment because our focus should be on unifying our nation, ensuring a peaceful transition to the Biden administration,” Bentz said.

Even though Congressman Bentz is a conservative Republican, I would expect him to denounce a tyrannical Republican president who acted to overthrow American democracy.

My questions to Representative Bentz now:

1. Do you believe the 2020 election might actually have been stolen from Donald Trump? If so, why?

2. Assuming time constraints would not preclude a fair investigation and trial, and knowing what you now know, would you still vote “no” against Trump's impeachment ?

3. Do you support Donald Trump as a leader of the Republican Party?

— Brad Raffle, Bend

Control immigration

Last year, 185,884 illegal immigrants were deported and 64% had pending charges, or criminal convictions. This included 1,900 homicides, 3,800 robberies and 37,000 assaults; 4,276 were gang members.

I don't want my children, grandchildren or the country subjected to the illegal activities of criminal immigrants, which the Biden administration seems willing to do. How many people know that over 10% of inmates in Oregon's prisons are in the U.S. illegally?

Yes, most immigrants are honest, hardworking individuals, but how can people believe it is OK for thousands of immigrants to pour across the border illegally, ahead of many others who are working hard to come here legally?

— John Williams, Bend

Holding officials accountable

I wish to comment on the latest attempt by the legislative branch of these United States to address the will of the people.

To my admittedly limited viewpoint it is not about the history of impeachment, it should not be about retribution and ought not to be about gamesmanship, but needs to be about accountability. If the impeachment process does not work to address that, then how else (besides the democratic election process) do the citizens of the United States hold its elected officials accountable? And given that the democratic election process is held in such contempt by such a large segment of the population, what other avenue(s) do the regular citizens of this country have? And even though I am an eternal optimist, in this I despair.

 — Neil Erickson, Powell Butte

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