An open letter of thanks to Tim Sumner and Reed Olson:

My wife and I want to thank you both for your brave and principled vote against the appalling ban on potential refugees coming to Beltrami County. The political and moral integrity which you exhibited is a positive example for us all. It is hard to believe that the county has tarnished itself in the eyes of the country by virtue of its hateful and bigoted stance with regard to those who are afflicted and in need. White supremacy, coming from the top down in this nation -- that is to say, from Trump and the GOP -- has now infected our fellow citizens inasmuch as they have turned into a xenophobic mob mindlessly following the whistle of poisonous right wing demagogues.

It is, moreover, singularly and sadly ironic that descendants of immigrants (as we all our) should wish to forestall refugees from finding asylum in this country, while the only real indigenous American among the Beltrami commissioners should show the generosity of spirit conspicuously lacking in three of his white counterparts. His magnanimity puts the rest of us to shame -- a magnanimity all the more impressive given the brutalization of Native Americans by official government policy.

What happened at the commissioners' meeting is certainly symptomatic of what is happening in the nation (and its educational system) at large. Civics and history are rarely taught, and the humanities -- which might sensitize us to our relational ties with others -- have been virtually jettisoned from grade school through college. As the real threat to this country is overlooked -- namely Trump's and the GOP's war on the environment, health care, our own intelligence and diplomatic communities, and NATO allies -- we turn against our own most vulnerable citizens forgetting the blunders and belligerence of Trump's policies and the attempt by the Republican Senate to subvert an impeachment trial which alone may save us from further degradation and decline.

Given all this bad news, the witness of Tim Sumner and Reed Olson to authentic humane values is a much needed counterpoise to the insensate, callous, and proto-facsist attitudes and policies emanating from the White House, Mitch McConnell and the GOP Senate -- and sadly, from some of our neighbors in Beltrami County.