Ease up and mask proudly

Whether held before a raucous crowd or in an empty room, presidential conventions tend toward political theater. These of 2020 offer us a mishmash of idealism and fear that induces a state of confusing cognitive dissonance leaving some of us wanting a refund.

For the GOP the most impressive performances (dramatic fictions, making the worse appear the better cause) have been those of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Melania Trump.

Their efforts, however, were overshadowed by the utterly Hitlerian rant of Kimberly Guilfoyle and the bigoted tirade of the gun-toting white racist couple from Missouri. How sad.

As to the recent street theater promoted by radical rioters in such cities as Seattle, Portland, and Kenosha and to that featuring the reactionary rioters in the Boise statehouse, I would say back off, ease up, and for all of us in this country, mask proudly!

Ron McFarland


Stop trying to shift blame

An open letter to University of Idaho President Scott Green and Dean of Students Blaine Eckles:

I am an undergraduate computer science major at the University of Idaho and a resident of Moscow. The decision to reopen campus is reckless and is putting the Vandal community, city of Moscow and surrounding areas at serious risk.

Make no mistake, returning to campus is not a personal decision made by individual students and faculty. You are forcing difficult decisions upon people that are cruel and inhumane. I personally have scholarships that require continuous enrollment and taking a semester off would cause me to lose this scholarship. Your decision to have in-person classes is forcing me to choose between my own safety and an education.

To prevent me from getting the virus or passing it to others, I will be staying home and attending class online. This is not enough though. I am still a resident of this community. You are making the serious consequences of this virus unavoidable by bringing thousands of students to this community. Many of these young students are ideal asymptomatic carriers and you cannot trust that they will care for this campus and the people of Moscow.

Stop trying to shift the blame to the students. We have seen multiple universities attempt to open and fail to contain the resulting outbreaks. Many experts, faculty, and students have weighed in so you must understand the consequences. It is not too late to put human life first and cancel all in-person instruction. Thankfully, we haven’t had any deaths yet. You brought students here in the first place and when a Vandal or Latah county resident dies you will be to blame.

There is no acceptable body count at a state university. Cancel in-person classes now before it is too late.

Zachary Sugano


Free speech, right to worship

In high school I had a law class and the teacher talked about the constitution and “right to free speech.” He went on to say if a person shouted “fire” in a crowded movie house and everyone was trying to get to safety — many were injured. The case ended up in court and the person who did the shouting stated the constitution guarantees me the “right to free speech.” The judge said something like it does, however one has to use “common sense” in exercising that right — you used bad judgment — guilty!

As for the right to worship, Kat Yager of Moscow said in a letter to the editor “we have a right to peaceably assemble and to practice our religion. No one, not local, state or federal government should infringe on the right (or any other), not even during a pandemic.” She said what she did because Holli Cooper submitted a letter to the editor complaining about a large gathering over the weekend at the Nazarene church in Moscow. (The cars in the parking lot belonged to Christ Church members)

I wonder if the church leaders were taken to court because of having such a large gathering during a pandemic the judge might say one needs to use “common sense” because the virus can be spread easily in crowds. Then when attendees go out into the community the virus spreads faster than usual.

Jim Kuska


Please just wear a mask

This letter is in response to Kat Yager’s letter (Aug. 24) about her right to worship. First, no one is denying your right to assemble for church or for any other reason. Moscow’s mask order only requires that if you cannot maintain social distancing, you must wear a mask. Holli Cooper’s observation that crowds of people were entering the Nazarene church without masks is evidence that the order was probably not being followed. If Kat had explained that the rules were being followed inside, then, no problem. But she did not. Instead, she asked a series of irrelevant questions regarding other situations.

The mask order doesn’t discriminate against churches. It applies to all of us equally and does not infringe on religious freedom. And here is some food for thought from Pastor John Lestock of Pendleton, Ore., who wrote, “If Jesus were walking our streets today, do you think he would wear a mask in public? Would you see Jesus arguing over his civil rights? Would he insult or make fun of those who were frightened for their lives? Or, would Jesus discount the counsel of medical experts? Think of it, friends: The Jesus we preach was willing to experience humiliation, suffering, and death to save the people he loved. It seems to me, if Jesus would die on a cross for us, he would wear a mask for us.”

Scientists are finding that all ages of people, no matter what their current health status, are affected by this virus, and many suffer long-term health problems even well after they recover. It’s not a matter of “vulnerable populations” taking precautions while the rest are free to do as they wish. We are all in this together, and we have the power to stop this virus. Please just wear a mask.

Kathy Dawes


Love is my choice

Renee Love is my choice for District 5 state representative. I am not a completely single-issue voter, but it would be hard for me to vote for a candidate who is not pro-choice.

This is a difficult issue for many of us. It should be made clear that pro-choice does not translate to pro-abortion. No pro-choice individual will be out on the street corner hawking, “Get your abortion right here! You’ll be glad you did!” In fact, it is a medical procedure that is, sadly, sometimes necessary. It may be necessary because of a condition with the fetus, or the physical or mental health of the mother. This is a decision not appropriately made by the government, but made by families, guided by their physicians, and clergy.

Photos are occasionally shown of a scorched looking fetus to show abortion as a horrifying procedure. We need to realize that such photos are intended to evoke emotional responses. A responsible, compassionate physician would never produce such a result. The real danger would result from rendering abortion as a medical procedure inaccessible so that desperate women would be forced to return to drastic measures. Caroline Troy is not pro-choice. She explains that she is Catholic. I am not Catholic. Many of her constituents are not Catholic. A lawmaker who makes decisions based upon his/her specific religion limits the freedoms of those of us who do not share that belief, and that is inappropriate.

It is important that we leave these very difficult decisions in the hands of those in a position to make them with understanding and compassion.

Shirley Ringo


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