Things are not all right
“Things are all right in America ...if you’re all white in America.” —”Westside Story”
Those who seek to “Make America Great Again” usually seek to create a 1957 America of white male supremacy again. A Mexican American seeking a school board seat may be “all right in America,” since she has tens of thousands of dollars to spend on her campaign, while refusing to talk with voters.
“All right in America?” I doubt that many Latinos and African Americans who mow our lawns and clean our buildings for sub-living wages and stay invisible for their safety otherwise would agree.
Civilization exists when people communicate openly in public forums, finding areas of common concern and compromise. Refusing to listen or share, but only blasting propaganda at others is a mark of authoritarians trying to move into leadership one step at a time.
— Allan and Vercey Smyth, Prineville
Race-baiting in school election
As a nation, we have experienced four years of “Us vs. Them” politics, culminating in an attack on the Capitol to overturn election results. Playwright Edward Albee believed that loss is an emotion that causes us to despair — or become desperate to restore what we believe is ours.
Locally, the contentious school board race offers Trump supporters their first real chance to continue dividing our nation over issues related to race. Our present school board has worked hard to address the achievement gaps seen in our student body: between white students with means and those living in poverty, between students who are linguistically or neurologically diverse and those who are not, and between Black and brown students and their white peers. Our community is still grappling with the death of a young Black man by suicide, who felt bullied and would have been graduating this year.
So, when Carrie McPherson Douglass, Marcus LeGrand, Janet Sarai Llerandi and Shirley Olson are attacked by a “block” of candidates who claim to be “real parents, not politicians,” it is troubling. Their attack on community leaders shows a bewildering ignorance of our district’s goals. Their claims that advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion for marginalized students is a divisive political agenda is quite simply race-baiting. Gregg Henton would have us imagine it might lead to a young student coming home in tears, saying — kids won’t play with me because I’m white. Really? Vote Carrie, Janet, Marcus and Shirley today, using a drop box!
— Gregg Heacock, Bend
Solving the mask problem
While I celebrate that success of COVID vaccines, and the relaxed rules for those who are vaccinated, I don’t believe an “honor system” is the right one-size-fits-all solution for businesses at this time.
Children under 12 can’t yet be vaccinated, and many other folks may have weakened immune systems. Also, while vaccines are very effective, we know they are not 100% effective. There is still significant risk for some groups in our community. Therefore, as a community, we need to do our best to help protect these people.
Why not require retail and restaurant businesses to have “masked” hours and “maskless” hours on a county or statewide basis? For example, from opening time until 12:30 p.m. could be “masked” hours, where all staff and patrons are required to mask and to maintain personal distancing. Then from 12:35 to close, “maskless” hours could be maintained for those who prefer that.
Once we can confirm true herd immunity, masking and social distancing could of course be discontinued. If we put our heads and hearts together on this issue, I feel sure everyone can enjoy safety and flexibility.
— Joy Conradt, Bend