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Freedom of speech is key when talking irrigation

Letter to the editor by Bruce Topham,  Sprague River

     As I sit here in my line stack at 3 a.m. waiting for a cow to calve, I’m pondering a question you might help my answer. How important do you consider the right of freedom of the press that is secured for you by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

   Is it not invaluable, since without this protection your right to publish could be jeopardized by any tyranny that happens along. You could be constrained by the “party line” and your readers would be denied unbiased reporting and full access to the truth as you see it.

   I would expect you would agree that this right is one of the cornerstones of American freedom. Similarly, is freedom of speech also as priceless for individual citizens in our society? In fact, aren’t we defined as Americans by the God-given rights protected for us by our Constitution? Were we to lose or surrender these rights wouldn’t we in fact cease to be Americans?

   This is what is currently being demanded of those of us who are ranchers in the north half of Klamath County.

   A foreign sovereign government (aka the Klamath Tribes) is requiring that for any water settlement to be met for irrigation or drinking water for our livestock we must surrender our right as Americans to express any opinions contrary to those advocated by the Klamath Tribes.

   The Tribes consider our freedom of speech so important that they make surrendering of this right a prerequisite to any agreement with them. Are these fundamental American freedoms, which are our birthright, so trivial they can be bartered for material gain, or are they truly the national treasure we’ve been taught since childhood?

   My question to you is this: What is your editorial policy regarding our First Amendment rights?


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