Suppose the Oregon Freedom Alliance (OFA) had waited to make its accusations public until after its board members were ready to release their names. Suppose the Wallowa County Commissioners, whose job it is to represent all the people of the county, had waited until Mr. Nitz's accusers made their names known before holding a closed hearing on his fitness to serve. Suppose they had held an open hearing instead of a closed hearing. Maybe much of the acrimony we are witnessing now could have been avoided.

Suppose the Chieftain hadn't used the term "community terrorism" to describe the tactics of the OFA in its editorial. Although it may have been used to describe a group willing to work in the dark, in today's climate of horrific world events, terrorism is associated with physical violence.

Now, suppose we can all agree to be open, to be respectful, and to operate under the spirit of this nation's constitution. If we can, we will be a better community, and we will be better neighbors.

Catherine Matthias


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