Tuesday letters: Truth in U.S. history, living with coronavirus, and all lives matter
We need to teach the truth of U.S. history in our schools
In first grade I was told that Columbus discovered America, that the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn so they could survive and the first Thanksgiving was celebrated with peace and thanks with the Indians. In fifth grade I learned the Vikings had arrived in North America around 1000 AD. The Columbus story was wrong. I felt betrayed by my teachers and social studies books that I was not told this earlier. I can’t remember when I learned that the Indigenous peoples of the Americas probably walked over the Bering Strait 20,000 years ago. As we celebrate American independence we need to rethink how we teach history.
It is very possible that the racism in the U.S. comes in part from children in all schools not learning the full truth of the first peoples of the Americas and the horrible suffering of Africans enslaved to make the white colonialists richer and more comfortable.
Ninety percent of the first peoples to live on this continent died from diseases brought by Europeans. Sophisticated societies had developed agriculture, architecture and astronomy to rival any known in Europe but they did not have guns or steel. If they didn’t perish from disease, they died by the sword and firearms.
When gold and silver were discovered in the West, white men broke treaties and stole native lands to mine minerals wherever it suited their greed. The U.S. government ordered the bison herds slaughtered to destroy the food source of native Plains Indians and force them into starvation and subjugation.
Teaching the truth of our history could awaken Americans to understand the horrible loss of life that has led to comfort and wealth for some in this country and to poverty and oppression for others. Americans must learn humility from an early age so that we develop empathy rather than the arrogance that determines much of modern U.S. politics.
Remember: All men are created equal. And we still need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and make sure all people have access to excellent education and social justice!
We can live and function with this virus if we all do our part
Social interaction in the time of coronavirus is like Russian roulette. We know that some of us are infected but unaware that they are transmitting the virus. It could be me, or it could be you.
Epidemiologists tell us that wearing a mask dramatically restricts the spread of the disease. This gives us, the good citizens of Garfield County, a better opportunity to reopen our schools and our economy, and reduces the likelihood that many of us, especially seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions, will wind up on a ventilator, or 6 feet under.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but a significant minority of our citizenry objects mightily to the requirement, or even the expectation, that they wear a mask. Their belligerence threatens the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of their fellow Americans. Why would anyone refuse to perform this simple act of goodwill? Surely you’re not so self-centered as to think only of your own personal comfort. You might survive the coronavirus with few or no symptoms, but what about dad, or your dear sweet granny? Your insistence on exercising your “rights” could put someone you love in an early grave. While we wait for an effective vaccine, please don’t stand in the way of re-opening our economy, our schools, our public institutions, by refusing to wear a mask. Show respect for the essential workers who put their lives on the line for us every day. We can live with this virus and still function as a society, but only if we all do our part.
All my patients’ lives matter
As I observe the chaos and angst in our country along with everyone else, I have a simple question to ask and have people ponder. But first preface my background and experience. I recently retired from over 40 years of practice as a neurosurgeon. I grew up on a family ranch in New Castle and attended public school first–eighth grade there. I then attended public high school in Ohio and was fortunate to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy. After graduation I attended Med School in North Carolina and completed my training for Neurosurgery in San Antonio and Denver. I then served in the Air Force before practicing in Denver for 25 years. The past 13 years I’ve practiced in Rifle serving our community.
During my career I’ve operated on thousands of patients of every race, sex, creed, religious or political persuasion. I have never considered any of the above as pertinent to my goal of providing every person the best possible care for their illness. I also have never altered my approach to provide quality care to anyone based on the color of their skin! I swore an oath to serve those patients to give each of them the best care that I could to help them achieve the best quality of life possible! I can also state that once one cuts through the skin and opens the skull, there is absolutely no difference in the blood vessels, brain tissue, tumor tissue, etc. between any of the above patients that I’ve treated. So my question is: Why am I called a racist for stating that “black lives matter, but so do the lives of Hispanics, Asians, women, children, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Caucasians, and American Indians?” All of my life I’ve treated them all the same, and to me all of their lives do matter! I’ve dedicated my whole career and life to that principle and now that is not acceptable in our society.
Lee Krauth MD
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