Readers letters: Vaccine is an important step to reopen our schools
I am 75 years old and am vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
I have fought off cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I am anxious to receive the vaccine. Yet, I strongly support Gov. Kate Brown's decision to give the limited supply of vaccine Oregon has obtained first to school teachers before providing it to those over 65.
We senior citizens have had the chance to live full lives, to obtain education, pursue careers, hold jobs, to form relationships and raise children. The big difference between us and today's school children is that the schools were always open for us. There was no rampant pandemic that endangered us, our families and our teachers, that forced us out of the classroom, that confined us at home away from our friends and instructors and coaches. The consistency of our schooling was a major feature in our academic development and social maturation.
Today's students have already missed much of the enjoyment we had of growing up with our school mates, the excitement of learning we had in our classes with our teachers and fellow students. Consequently, the level of student achievement has fallen in Oregon and elsewhere. The quality of their education has fallen below what we had.
Inoculation bottlenecks, new fears about whether the vaccines will forestall all virus variants, and the continued failure of so many to comply with simple rules for prevention suggest life will not return to normal for a long time. So, for many students, the damage will continue and the loss will never be fully recovered.
We will all get the vaccine. But reopening the schools quickly is critical to the children's lives, to Oregon's future. Extending the lives of the retired, not so much.
Health authority's vaccine priorities are discriminatory
I'm opposed to the decision by the Oregon Health Authority's Vaccine Advisory Committee to prioritize BIPOC (editor's note: Black, indigenous, and people of color) for the coronavirus vaccine. I regard it as discrimination against white Oregonians.
There's no scientific evidence that I and my fellow white people are more resistant to COVID-19, nor that its damage to us is somehow mitigated by our whiteness. What's driving the increased impact of this pandemic on BIPOCs has nothing to do with physiology or pathology, it's socio-economic — the same engine that built slums, placed them in the worst schools, and subjected them to a menacing police presence and an antagonistic system of justice.
Systemic racism isn't addressed by moving BIPOCs to the head of the line. Science suggests the most vulnerable be vaccinated first, and expedience demands that our most crucial members of society be vaccinated alongside the vulnerable or immediately afterward. Being black, or Hispanic — or white, for that matter — doesn't make anyone more vulnerable or essential, not solely on the basis of skin color and racial or ethnic background.
It's hypocritical to support racially or ethnically biased discriminatory treatment as a means to counter systemic racism and ethnic privilege. (It's just as hypocritical as it was for Thomas Jefferson to own a slave mistress.)
Implementing this policy won't open doors and heal communities, it will only effect more bitterness and schism.
Our senators must fight to block obstruction
Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden must work with the Democratic caucus to bring back the talking filibuster and take away the rules that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has shown he will use to continue to obstruct from the minority.
The American people want results from the U.S. Senate, not more obstruction. Make Mitch stand up there for 12 hours and defend why he won't let the Senate do things for the American people.
Know that if the Senate does not fulfill this mandate, Sens. Merkley and Wyden may not have our votes next time around. It's time for Democrats to fight just as dirty as Mitch and beat him at his own game.
Letter comparing Democrats to Nazis was absurd
On Jan. 20, the Portland Tribune published online a letter from James Caster that compared Democrats to Nazis, calling the capitol insurrection their Reichstag Fire.
I find this comparison absurd and disturbing. First, President Donald Trump does bear responsibility for what happened, not only because of the rally, but for his big lie since the election, that it was stolen and that he won by a landslide, and his failure to concede.
The purpose of many of the rioters was to stop the certification of the electoral votes and give the election to Trump, behavior that is in line with fascism.
Democrats are not calling for the censorship of "all their political enemies" as Caster states, and even many Republicans, now that they've seen the true nature of Trumpism, think he should be condemned for his part in what was a failed coup.
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