Letters to the Editor: April 22, 2020
Letters to the Editor published in the April 22, 2020 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.
Our lives depend on it
Daily events are changing so rapidly that it is difficult to keep up. As I write this, the Covid-19 virus has taken over 28,000 lives in the US along with 620,000 plus confirmed cases. Those numbers will rise.
The global virus consumes most of daily news coverage, and that exposure lays bare the pandemic’s effects for all to see. Which begs the question, just how bad must things get before we understand that we must do things differently from now on?
The immediate concerns over spacing between individuals, cleansing of hands and surfaces, and staying in shelter are obvious. Deeper issues, however, surface as the pandemic rages across the land.
The blatant unpreparedness of current federal agencies to address emergency medical needs of our citizenry is appalling. The universal model of “just-in-time” supplies of for-profit industries has infected even medical services, food production, and manufacturing of the most basic goods.
The inexcusable lack of adequate health care among too many of our citizens is taking its daily toll in the rising numbers of the dead. Solid data now show that those without regular medical care are disproportionately dying in larger numbers than those with regular medical care. Those in under-staffed and under-resourced facilities like nursing homes, prisons and detention centers, are prime targets of infection.
The current election cycle brought those and many more inequities into discussion. Covid-19 has overwhelmingly proven that those imbalances are in fact real, and cause immense damage to our society.
Not long ago, candidates wanting to address these inequities wore a socialist label. They were concerned over lack of affordable housing, a living wage, free or at least affordable higher education, work place protections, clean air and water – a stable planetary environment. They were somehow, not realistic, not practical.
Consider this. If we had universal health care, it would not have stopped the pandemic, but it would have lessened the impact and increased chances for survival among all of us. Because, as is painfully clear, if a portion of our society is more susceptible to infection, that infection will spread more rapidly and widely among all of us.
If we had free or affordable higher education, more students would enroll in not only medical fields, but in all essential fields.
If we had affordable housing, those vulnerable populations would have a safe place to shelter.
If we eliminated expensive, for-profit prisons and detention centers, and did not incarcerate vast numbers of non-violent offenders or the mentally ill, but instead invested in mental health facilities and services, we all would be safer and saner.
If we acknowledged the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our daily lives instead of pursuing deportations, we would have those vital contributions in times of great need.
A simple letter-to-the-Editor cannot begin to cover the list of progressive ideas, but Covid-19 forces us to address reality and tackle those inequities. We must begin to do things differently from now on. Our lives depend on it.
Diana C. Smith
Response to April 15 letters
Dear Mr. Rick Plonsky and Mr. Gregory Guthrie:
You seem to have a misunderstanding of “absentee voting”. It is not a new procedure and it is not a new rule on postmark deadline. I tried to research this issue and find that absentee voting has been around since 1985 in Wisconsin. I, also, know from personal experience that the deadline for an absentee ballot to be counted is must be postmarked by election day. Governor Tony Evers knew these rules and waited until April 2, 2020, to try to change the rules. The Supreme Court upheld the legislature’s decision to continue with the election on April 7, 2020. Oh, by the way, Judge Dan Kelley had recused himself from the vote.
We, the voters of Wisconsin, were advised by all media to vote absentee. Our household absentee ballots were already mailed out & postmarked by the time Gov. Evers wanted to change the rules. Have you tried voting absentee? We were advised by March 14 when our schools closed on seriousness of Covid-19. Where were you? Voting absentee is easy and less time consuming than voting in person. The situation we are in didn’t just happen on April 1. Gov. Evers imposed the “Safe At Home” order on March 24, 2020. Ordinary citizens who were told to stay home would have voted absentee. From March 24, 2020, to April 7, 2020 is 14 days time, plenty of time to request absentee ballot, receive it and return it! A big problem in our society is the feeling that we do not have to adhere to deadlines because there can always be an extension or a postponement. I was raised when it is due April 1, it is due April 1 and there will be no extensions or delays.
Yes, I agree with you two, let us elect people who will represent us and not throw out absentee ballots that have been returned under the regulations, not calling for a postponed election, and not call judges and elected official slang names because they ruled against you and not close small business because they are “not essential” when big barn stores remain open selling any products they deem profitable.
Leona Vander Sanden
Vote for Tricia Zunker
NOTE: This is a paid political letter, per Tomahawk Leader policy.
Even though there are not many signs out, Tuesday May 12 is an important election. We have a precious opportunity to fill Sean Duffy’s vacant seat with a strong advocate for our Wisconsin 7th Congressional District.
Tricia Zunker stands out as the best choice to represent us in Washington. Tricia has abundant energy, determination and skills, and the compassion needed. The first in her family to graduate from college, Tricia is now a law professor at age 39. Her upbringing means she understands struggle and hard work. Tricia says her political values are shaped by her family history. She will fight for civil rights, fair trade deals for family farmers, access to health care and ending predatory loan practices. Her service as head of the Wausau School Board has taught her the importance of community engagement from elected officials and how to work with others who have differing political viewpoints. She believes this is possible.
Tom Tiffany has been our representative in Wisconsin for the past 10 years, plenty of time to know what he stands for: promoting outside mining industries that desecrate landscape, contaminate ground-water and ruin Wisconsin estuaries for fish spawning. Tom refused to index the gas tax to help counties and cities afford to fix our roads. He voted against accepting Federal Medicaid expansion dollars, preventing needed health care for people who can’t afford it; but supported tax breaks for Foxconn, gerrymandering and suppressing voters.
Please vote for Tricia Zunker!
The Merrill Peace Study Group