To the Editor:

I can understand how a conservative might have voted for G. W. Bush in 2000. It was important to get someone into the Presidency who claimed to stand for conservative values.

Wallowa County is home to a wonderful grounded conservatism that comes from earning a living off the land.

The values associated with this conservatism are part of what makes Wallowa County such a good place to live. Our work ethic, our honesty, neighbors pulling together, our tolerance of others, our caring for our youth, and our love of the land and its resources are all part of these values.

However, the Bush Administration has moved farther and farther to the right until its policies bear little resemblance to Wallowa County's grounded conservatism.

In the Bush/Rove way of doing things, the Healthy Forests Act becomes a gutless political statement. It gives Bush the right to say, "look what I've done"; however, since there is no money for implementation, Wallowa County continues to starve in the midst of a forest of plenty.

Or, how does a political party pledged to less government demand access to the medical records of women who have had abortions?

Or, work to place into OUR constitution an amendment prohibiting two people who love each other from becoming married? Or, intrude into the authority of local school boards via the "No Child Left Behind Act."

The Bush administration has become a parody of what real conservatism should be. They have reduced conservatism to an opportunistic political tool.

While, as a conservative, you may not be able to bring yourself to vote for John Kerry, you don't have to vote for G. W. Bush. Think about it. If Bush has gone too far invading your privacy and intruding government into your life, do not vote for him. Leave your ballot blank. You will still be voting for what you believe in.

Harold Black

Lostine

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