I am chair of Park County Democrats and Tim Peterson (no relation) is chair of Park County Republicans.

I think leadership matters and I was disappointed but not surprised to see the “Republican Perspective” in The Flume edition of Dec. 25. The article is full of false claims and conspiracy theories that shouldn’t even be printed in a respectable newspaper without a caveat.

Unfortunately, Trump is the ultimate leader of the Republican Party and spews these lies daily, and they get repeated by officers and elected officials all the way down to County Chair.

But truth matters. What happened to “Thou shalt not bear false witness”? Isn’t the Republican Party proud of its support of Christianity? How do members justify a presidential leader who, according to The Washington Post on Oct. 22, has told more than 26,000 lies over 1,372 days in office?

I am not a believer in any religion, but if anyone is to be judged at the end of their life I think I will fare much better than a lot of Republicans.

As a leader of Park County Democrats, I feel obligated to respond to Tim Peterson’s statements because I think truth matters.

Regarding Peterson’s claim of scientists disagreeing about climate change, he quotes studies from the 1970s and 80s. The scientist who wrote the 1975 article “Cooling World,” Peter Gywnne, writes “Now, as the author of that story, after decades of scientific advances, let me say this: while the hypotheses described in that original story seemed right at the time, climate scientists now know that they were seriously incomplete. Our climate is warming – not cooling, as the original story suggested.” (Inside Science, 2014).

Scientific conclusions change as new evidence emerges. My husband is an astrophysicist and reads Science, where new findings in numerous fields fill 1500 pages every week. The vast majority of climate scientists (more than 97%) agree that global warming and climate change are caused by human activity. Why would you believe the 3% and take chances on the future of your children and grandchildren?

We do need to be alarmists. If we don’t make major changes now, it will soon be too late.

I understand the concerns about jobs in the fossil fuel industry, but with a good plan at the federal level, new training and jobs will be created in the renewable energy sector. Change may be scary but it is necessary to survive. The world is evolving and we have to adapt to survive.

The next point Peterson made was about “well respected scientists and professionals on both sides of the [Covid] problem.” No, there aren’t.

Scott Atlas, who was advising the president, is a radiologist, not an epidemiologist. He is not well-respected for his views on controlling the pandemic.

Yes, Peterson is more susceptible to contracting the virus if he sits in a bar or a restaurant with other people not wearing masks for the time it takes to eat and drink than he is going to a grocery store where people wear masks and pass each other briefly. This is just common sense. Obviously leaving it up to people to decide on their own does not work.

Turning to the recent election, Peterson continues to promote voter fraud even though every state has certified its electors. Even William Barr has said that there is no voter fraud and Mitch McConnell has congratulated Joe Biden on his winning the election.

Some Republican leaders are saying it’s time to recognize the reality, but because 106 members of the house signed a letter supporting the Texas lawsuit, Peterson thinks that validates it. My point exactly: leadership matters.

Peterson questions whether all the witnesses of voter fraud are lying, saying that would be fraud in a legal document. Yes, it would be. That is why the courts have rejected 60 out of 61 of Trump’s lawsuits seeking to invalidate the American vote.

There is no penalty to lie to the public, but if someone lies in a courtroom that is another matter. The lawyers took Trump’s claims to a federal judge who asks witnesses, “Is that what you’re saying?” When the answer is “no” the case is dismissed.

Trump will not accept defeat, and his false claims serve to raise money off of his supporters; they are falling for it.

Finally, Peterson says: “When people are allowed to make their own choices and strive for their own improvement, the vast majority do the right things.” I like to believe in the basic goodness of people, but if they can’t even tell the difference between truth and fiction how can they make informed decisions?

The consequences of lies regarding the pandemic are deadly, with hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. When is enough enough? When are Republican leaders going to take a stand against Trump and stop lying to the American people?

Visit www.ParkDems.org. .Democracy is not a spectator sport.

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