Tuesday letters: Response to personal attack, leadership traits, Rankin, and widespread testing
America of our fathers’ and grandfathers’ sacrifices is gone
Thanks for your history lesson on WWII, Mr. Meyers (“Respect those that gave us our freedoms,” Post Independent, May 29). Allow me to respond to your oddly mean-spirited personal attack.
I’ve “talked to plenty of people that served their country” including two of my great-uncles who were both on Omaha beach, my father who was a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, and the commanding officer of HHS Battery 34th Infantry who signed my Honorable Discharge. My uncles, the original “Antifa,” protected the free world from fascist Nazi Germany. I owe no apology to anyone, but I will gladly accept yours. (Did you serve, Mr. Meyers?)
Regarding “researching” my comment about today’s administration and 1930s Germany, look no further than public comments of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival, in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren,” along with a multitude of Fox pundits. Eugenics, the ideology behind the 1939 German T4 Euthanasia Program, targeted the elderly as “burdens on society” along with the infirm and mentally and physically-impaired. Although Patrick wasn’t implying that they should be killed, he most certainly implied they were somehow less worthy than the young, and that they should be more than willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the economy and the “Vaterland.”
Your flag-waving letter may qualify for a high-school VFW essay contest, but the America of our fathers’ and grandfathers’ sacrifices is gone, totally undermined by a wannabe tin-pot dictator. Better wake up, Doug — America’s fast-tracking toward autocracy, and lately straight-up fascism. The president fans the flames of racism and violence in a pathetically desperate (and likely unsuccessful) attempt to remain in office. Meanwhile, the country sits on the precipice of civil war in a pandemic, goaded to violence by a “leader” devoid of conscience and empathy, willing to sacrifice anyone and anything (including access to voting) to achieve his personal ambitions. Four more years of Donald Trump as president will make 1930s Germany look like Sweden. An abject failure as a president, an abject failure as a human being.
Why do we elect people who lack leadership traits?
I spent 28 years in the U.S. Army where I learned a number of things about myself and the people with whom I served. I won’t try to list all of those lessons, but I will note three leadership items that seem particularly pertinent as I reflect on current events.
Enter the words “leadership characteristics” into any search engine and you will get list after list of traits deemed important by experts in the study of leadership. Maybe the most common advice in these inventories is “lead by example.” Also high on most trait menus is the conviction that good leaders understand and accomplish their roles, and lastly, they are truthful in their communications. By now you should see where this is headed.
Virtually everyone that I know seems to have a list of significant concerns that need attention: health care, racial tensions, national debt, climate change, decaying infrastructure, massive unemployment, wealth distribution, etc, etc. And, the most common “fix” identified by people discussing these concerns is “leadership” — especially political leadership.
In my 85 trips around the sun, I haven’t encountered anyone who wants poor leaders — especially political leaders. When pressed, most people say that they want the characteristics named earlier — leaders who will understand and accomplish their roles, set an example, and be truthful in their communications.
Isn’t it then fair to ask: “Why, in recent history, do we seem to have been so willing to elect into public office people who are missing many, if not all, of the very leadership traits we say we want? If understanding and doing the job is important, why has our Congress accomplished so little? If truth is important, why does our President routinely fail the most basic fact-checking tests? If leading by example is important why doesn’t he do something as simple as wearing a mask to protect others during a pandemic, and if understanding and accomplishing his role are important, why has he done virtually nothing to address our most significant concerns? Will we vote these people into leadership positions again in November?” I hope not.
Rankin is a voice for oil and gas lobbyists
Bob Rankin was initially assigned the Senate District 8 seat through a vacancy committee with the help of his affiliates in big oil and gas. It is easy to see through his voting record that his interests do not lie with the communities of Senate District 8 (SD-8), but for his interests and that of his party. House bill 18-1157 was an attempt to increase reporting of oil and gas incidents such as the unauthorized release of dangerous chemicals that have the potential to harm the environment and the people living anywhere near the accident site. Rankin voted “no” on this proposal — showing his true allegiance to oil and gas lobbyists. More egregiously, Rankin voted “no” on Senate Bill 19-181, which was passed in 2019.
SB19-181 gives local governments the ability to deny fracking or drilling permits within their jurisdiction. Allowing each community the right to choose whether or not they want oil and gas activity in their region is vital to their freedom of choice. Rankin’s no vote attempted to give that power instead to his friends in the oil and gas industries and deny local governments the right to choose what they do in their jurisdiction. Bob Rankin is not a representative of the people of SD-8, but instead, he is a voice for oil and gas lobbyists and his party. We have a difficult couple of years ahead of us here in SD-8, and we need a senator who will fight for the Western Slope down at the Capitol.
Without widespread testing, we are doomed to repeated outbreaks
Since we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic I had hoped, foolishly I suppose, that as Colorado re-opened the emphasis would be on public health. Unfortunately that’s not the case.
A City Market in Breckenridge now has 19 employees with the virus, and three King Soopers stores (two in Jefferson County and one in Denver) are on the outbreak list. Two employees at the Denver store have died. Front Range restaurant outbreaks include two Chick-Fil-A locations (Adams and Larimer counties), an Arby’s in Arapahoe County, and a McDonald’s in El Paso County — plus outbreaks at two Home Depot and Walmart locations.
Whatever happened to widespread testing?
There is no state-sponsored Covid-19 testing site in Garfield County. That means as people return to work, any employees who are symptomatic will need to go to Valley View or Grand River hospitals to get tested at their expense. Employees who have been exposed and are asymptomatic won’t get tested at all but will still spread the virus.
Never mind contact tracing. Without widespread testing there will be no contact tracing.
People need to be aware of the gamble as they venture out to public places, dine at restaurants and go shopping. The virus is not prevalent in Garfield County but as people from the Front Range venture out to the West Slope they will spread the virus. Local employees who are interacting with the traveling public are in danger of being exposed to Covid-19 on a daily basis, but they not being tested. Without widespread testing, employees are risking their lives every single day. Masks and social distancing do not provide the type of public health assurance that testing and contact tracing provide. The only way to re-open successfully is with widespread testing. Without it, we are doomed to repeated outbreaks as we are now seeing on the Front Range.
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