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In a recent letter to the editor (June 9), I stated that President Trump still wishes to destroy the irreplaceable bonds between members of refugee families, with separation, and with imprisonment. I based that comment on the president's statement that ending family separation was a "disaster."

The version of my letter printed in The Gazette unintentionally left out "President" in my only reference to him. Seemingly minor, it is an important distinction. To me, in that context, acknowledging his title represents the difference between respect and disrespect — between civility and implied hate.

Do I deeply oppose routine family separation, and more recently, racist tweets or Russia being allowed, even encouraged, to hack our elections yet again? Absolutely! Each of these erode freedom and democracy itself, and may rob people of their peace of mind, safety, and even lives.

It is necessary to speak truth to power. But here is the great challenge — how to call officials on flawed or dangerous policies and rhetoric, but to do so out of compassion for those being harmed and love for the values being threatened, not out of hate for opponents. I do the former — imperfectly.

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My wish for myself, and for all of us, whichever opinions we hold, is to stand up for the values we believe in, and to do so out of love for those values, and with respect and compassion for people with other ideas.

Bill Walker

Billings

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