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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 23, 2017)
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Business Office Manager
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Yes, Virginia, there
is a Santa Claus
Editor’s note: Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the
editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned
editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus
Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial,
appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and
other editorials, and on posters and stamps. It is reprinted here courtesy of
the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the
skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think
that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All
minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great
universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with
the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of
grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and
generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your
life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there
were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS.
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable
this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The
eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You
might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve
to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down,
what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there
is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither
children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of
course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or
imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but
there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even
the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.
Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view
and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA,
in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand
years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will
continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
B2H line will be obsolete
by the time it is completed
BLM approval of the Boardman to
Hemingway Transmission line is only
one step among many before Idaho
Power hopes to begin construction of
the B2H line.
The company has permission to
cross BLM land. That is less than half
the length of the line. Next they face
the U.S. Forest Service, Public Utility
Commissions in both Idaho and Oregon,
the Oregon Facilities Siting Council
and, if all those bureaucratic hurdles
are cleared, then likely lawsuits by the
Oregon California Trail Association,
the STOP B2H Coalition, agricultural
interests and residential property
owners. That is why completion of the
B2H, initially planned in 2006, has
continuously been pushed back and
why many transmission line projects are
fraught with cost overruns or canceled
before construction ever begins.
The projected line will gouge a
250-foot-wide clear-cut across 300
miles of Eastern Oregon and southwest
Idaho. BLM has made no provision to
protect views from the Oregon Trail
Interpretive Center. There will be
180-foot transmission towers marring
the view, and the line will cross the
ruts of the Oregon Trail in at least eight
locations. This is Oregon’s history. We
can’t see it sacrificed for an unnecessary
More than 100 pages of substantial
comments have already been filed with
the Oregon PUC, highlighting Idaho
Power’s flawed risk analysis structure,
and projections of energy needs biased
towards greater consumption, even
though across the nation and in Idaho
energy consumption has decreased for
the past ten years.
The Stop B2H Coalition maintains
that Idaho Power has not adequately
addressed the uncertainty of future
coal, gas, and renewable energy prices
and transmission costs. Data has
been selected to support building a
transmission line. That’s how utilities
make money — building things.
A guaranteed 6.7 percent profit
based on the company’s share of the
$1.2 billion B2H will benefit Idaho Power
shareholders at the expense of Oregon
and Idaho ratepayers. The line will be
obsolete before it’s completed. It must be
stopped before construction begins.
Federal one-party rule more
dangerous than Oregon’s
This is my response your editorial on
one-party rule in Oregon government.
Sounds like you have a strong opinion
against a one-sided party for our state,
but I would rather hear your opinion on
our one-sided party that is in control of
our government in Washington, DC.
Let’s get real here. Sure it’s not healthy
on the state level, but it’s absolutely
dangerous on the national level.
Somehow the people have to
take back common sense into our
government instead of this one-sided
insanity. Governor Kate Brown isn’t
perfect. That’s an unreal expectation
to have on anyone who runs for office.
But I do expect them to be educated
and work for the best solutions for the
people. Mostly for those that need it
most: children, disabled, elderly, vets,
and the hopeless.
And it’s up to us regular people to
try and keep things on the right track.
Our responsibility doesn’t stop when we
cast our vote. It continues with staying
involved with what’s happening.
Do your own research and come
up with your own opinions and ideas.
Read the news but think for yourself.
Join a committee or a group that wants
to work on solutions. Stay involved,
speak your mind, talk, share, do
whatever you are able to do, no matter
how big or how small.
We are a country united by states,
united by counties, united by towns,
united by neighborhoods, united by
people, united by you and me. Will we
agree on everything? I hope not! But we
can talk and when we agree to disagree
we can respect that and go our separate
ways. Maybe this is what “Oregon is
for, its improbable moment.”
Comeback words for 2018
ou can call a slimehead by the
Alabama Senate race, Trump wrote: ‘I
better-known name of orange
also predicted “I” would win.’ Oh, I,
roughy, but it’s still an ugly
fish. The same goes for President
Now let’s look at the words the
Donald Trump’s attempt to euphemize
public uses for him. When Americans
a first year in office that was historic
were asked in a recent survey by
for all the wrong reasons.
Quinnipiac to describe, without
A regime that gave the world
prodding, the first word that comes
“alternative facts” has been working
Timothy to mind when thinking of Trump,
overtime at year’s end to banish words
the most common reply was “idiot.”
it doesn’t like or believe in, and to take
That was followed closely by “liar,”
credit for, or reframe, good things that
“incompetent” and “moron.” That
it had very little to do with.
last word, of course, is the one that
Our 71-year-old president is a slow learner
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson uttered
and creature of bad habits. But he does seem
to describe his boss, and he employed an
to understand the authoritarian axiom that
unprintable modifier in front of it.
repetitive political language can make “lies
“Liar,” as applied to Trump, is something
sound truthful,” as George Orwell wrote in the that can be quantifiably proven. A mere 4
definitive essay on the
percent of the president’s
public statements — 4
in 100! — have been
change” is forbidden
rated true by PolitiFact.
for the American public
His first year may also
servants working to
be evidence enough to
protect the natural world
verify the description
from a changing climate.
from Nicholas Soames,
Law enforcement, under
a British member
the special counsel
of Parliament and a
Robert Mueller, is now
grandson of Winston
“a coup,” in the favored
Churchill. He called the
word of state-run television, Fox News. And a president a “daft twerp.”
“so-called judge” is the president’s term for a
The National Park Service, the good
real federal authority with years of courtroom
soldiers of our best places, has come in for
experience, not the monumentally ill-qualified more than its share of lashing from Trump’s
people he’s been stuffing into said positions.
thought police. It started with the inauguration,
But guess who’s going to prevail when
when Trump was enraged by a Park Service
the White House word police go up against
photo comparing the size of the crowd at his
the real police? The so-called law. And what
swearing-in with that at President Barack
happens when a disgusted majority finally gets Obama’s.
a chance to exercise the most powerful tool in
Now Trump is trying to scrub “climate
a democracy? A so-called election.
change” from ranger tweets about the threat
That’s why I’m optimistic, as we crawl
of biological death in some of our most loved
out of the darkest days of the year, that the
parks. This, after he took away 2 million acres
words Trump has tried to erase, or change
of national monument designation — the
the meaning of, will come roaring back to
largest rollback of federal land protection in
haunt him next year. You can ridicule “the
the nation’s history — and described it as a
resistance,” as Trump did while urging people win for the people.
to vote for an alleged child predator this
The words of the year, as put forth by
month. But that only makes it stronger.
various dictionaries, are reactions to Trump’s
You can suggest, as a Trump-inspired
awful effect on the culture. “Complicit”
bureaucrat at the Centers for Disease
was the favored expression from dictionary.
Control and Prevention did in a recent
com, and also the perfume used in a
memo, that words such as “science-based”
terrific “Saturday Night Live” sendup of
and “vulnerable” not be used. But it won’t
Ivanka Trump. “Youthquake” was Oxford
make the Trump enablers in Congress any
Dictionaries’ nominee. Merriam-Webster
less vulnerable when voters get their say in
The popularity of these vigorous
As president, Trump employs the same
expressions would seem to disprove the
charlatan’s gibberish that served him well as
great line (and title of a coming film) from
the owner of a failed casino and a fraudulent
the Republican strategist Rick Wilson:
“university.” He says “terrific,” “phenomenal” “Everything Trump touches dies.” For in
and “incredible” to describe a routine meeting, 2018, the youthquake, aided by the roused
or someone he just met. His favorite words for forces of feminism, are going to have a
those who cross him are “loser,” “moron” and reckoning at the ballot box for those who are
“lightweight.” As he explained last year, “I
complicit with the tyranny of this president.
know words — I have the best words.”
All the best words, deployed.
Of late, Trump is down to a single best
word to describe himself — “I.”
Timothy Egan worked for 18 years as a
He puts it in quotes, just like that. From a
writer for The New York Times, first as the
tweet in which he was trying to make down
Pacific Northwest correspondent, then as a
into up, on the loss he suffered with the
national enterprise reporter.
Guess who’s going
to prevail when the
White House word
police go up against
the real police?
Domestic violence too often a holiday tradition
The Valdosta (Georgia) Times
adly, during the holidays law
enforcement typically responds to the
most incidents of domestic violence.
This should be a joyous time, when people
spend special days and create memories with
family and friends.
In many cases, however, the memories will
not be pleasant ones.
According to the National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence:
• Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted
or beaten in the United States.
• An average of 20 people are physically
abused by intimate partners every minute in
• There are more than 10 million abuse
victims across the U.S. annually.
• One in three women and one in four men
have been physically abused by an intimate
• One in seven women and one in 18 men
have been stalked. Stalking causes targets to
fear they or someone close to them will be
harmed or killed.
• On a typical day, domestic-violence
hotlines nationwide receive approximately
• The presence of a gun in a domestic
violence situation increases the risk of
homicide by 500 percent.
• Domestic violence accounts for 15
percent of all violent crime.
• Domestic violence is most common
among women between the ages of 18-24.
• Nineteen percent of domestic violence
involves a weapon.
• Domestic victimization is correlated
with a higher rate of depression and suicidal
• Only 34 percent of people who are injured
by intimate partners receive medical care for
Domestic violence knows no socio-
economic, racial or geographical boundaries.
It exists among all social groups and in every
We encourage more public dialogue and
more conversations among families, especially
children, to make it clear that violence is not
a solution to problems in relationships and is
never the right way to express frustrations or
Finally, we urge all of our readers to protect
women and children and err on the side of
caution by reporting suspected violence and
abuse to law enforcement.