JUNE 11, 2021
The success of Arizona's Native Americans in confronting COVID-19 has been well-documented. As sovereign peoples, the Navajo and San Carlos Apache were able to respond quickly and decisively, employing early testing, contact tracing, lockdowns and curfews, mask mandates, door-to-door education outreach by trusted community members and an aggressive, tiered vaccination program.
Despite the fact that Native Americans are high-risk for COVID infections and deaths, they have succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus and limiting the number of fatalities. In May 2020, the Navajo had the highest per capita rate of infection in the country; today, they have one of the highest vaccination rates nationally and zero new cases of COVID. Even off the reservations, we see similar results among the Latino and Pascua Yaqui of Guadalupe. What is the common thread? Strong, responsive leadership and a sense of community and responsibility to others. They did not have leaders who denied and downplayed the crisis and their people did not whine that masks and vaccines violated their individual freedoms. They offer the rest of us an example of what can be done when leaders lead and when people have a strong sense of community in a shared struggle.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez sums it up, saying, “Once again, the Navajo Nation is exemplifying what can be accomplished when we listen to the public health experts and work together.”
This is what leadership looks like. This is what community looks like. This is what success looks like. We, the non-Native population, can learn a lot from their example.
MAY 13, 2021
Sen. Sinema boasts of her ability to “work across the aisle” and pass bipartisan legislation. Most of this involves legislation to help veterans, which is not a particularly partisan issue to begin with.
Sinema’s refusal to yield on the filibuster is a stance that cannot be defended by her alleged allegiance to bipartisanship. Successful bipartisanship depends on all parties being mature, rational and willing to negotiate and compromise in the best interests of the American people.
The current Republican Party fails to meet those standards. As the former Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell pledged to block President Obama, and he did, even denying Obama his right to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Now, as Senate minority leader, McConnell has pledged that his focus is 100% “on stopping this new administration.” When a powerful leader of the Senate openly refuses to work with presidents of the other party, how can Sinema cling to a naïve ideal of biparti-sanship? The Republicans have been staunch obstructionists for well over a decade now, openly bragging about their refusal to collaborate with Democrats. What more evidence does Sinema need?
We must pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Refusing to end the filibuster ensures the failure of both and, consequently, the failure of our democracy, and, quite possibly, the failure of Sinema to secure a second term.
Arizonans who value their vote should reach out to her at 202-224-4521 and www.sinema.senate.gov/contact and urge her to help end the filibuster so we can protect our voting rights.
As COVID-19 surges and health care professionals from other countries rush to the U.S. to assist in this humanitarian crisis, doctors dread having to make the decision who to treat and who to let die, an agonizing moral dilemma for those committed to healing. Let me suggest one criterion to ease that burden: COVID-19 patients who have been to a public event in the past month without a face mask go to the end of the line. Those who ignored their responsibility to help reduce this pandemic threat should pay a price for their selfish negligence.
Heartless? Maybe. But the fact that essential workers risk their lives every day while many Americans stubbornly refuse to make small but effective “sacrifices” to mitigate the crisis may justify such a harsh policy. Those who refuse to wear masks and social distance to avert this preventable escalation of infection and death have disproportionately contributed to super-spreader events; their access to limited medical resources should be proportionate to their roles in perpetuating and aggravating the crisis.
Donald Trump may one day be known as the Great Motivator
Some Americans see Donald Trump as a threat to our democracy, but I disagree. Donald Trump has done more for democracy than people realize.
He has motivated record numbers of voters to turn out and actually vote.
The numbers of early and vote-by-mail ballots already cast (and counting) are breaking records, and that is good for our democracy — though likely not so good for Trump and his Republican apologists.
This letter was printed in the Arizona Republic on October 18, 2020.
My ballot arrived in the mail at noon on Friday. First, I went to https://my.arizona.vote to pull up my voter registration and check its accuracy: name, address, party, status (Active). Then I filled out my ballot and hand-delivered it to the Pinal County Recorder’s Office. My 2020 ballot was delivered within three hours of its receipt.
I urge all voters to promptly complete their ballots and, if possible, drop them off in person at an official drop-off location. You will find those under “Find your polling locations” at https://my.arizona.vote. Scroll down to Drop Box Sites.
After a week or two, return to the site to check the status of your ballot-by-mail and see if it was received and accepted. If there are any problems, you’ll need to address them immediately.
If you are planning to mail your ballot, it is all the more critical that you do so immediately. Arizona begins to process ballots 14 days before Nov. 3, so getting ballots in early facilitates the counting of those millions of ballots before election day.
For those seats where you can vote for two or more candidates, but only one candidate is of your party, it is best if you just vote for that one candidate. Your party’s lone candidate benefits from your single vote for her/him.
If you are voting in person on election day, and if you see any attempts at voter intimidation, report it to the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE and to the Arizona Voter Hotline at 833-VOTE4AZ.
The unquestioning support that some self-described Christians extend to this president is baffling. Donald Trump does not now, nor has he at any time in his life as a public figure, demonstrated any of the qualities associated with Jesus Christ. He is not humble, charitable, forgiving, kind or compassionate. His embrace of the Christian faith, like everything else he does, is rooted in a selfish preoccupation with personal gain. Forget “Do unto others …” Trump’s mantra is “What’s in it for me?” He attends church only to get married (again and again) or as a photo op. Photos of him trying to look pious are, sadly, rather comical. And to those who see him as “chosen,” those who think he was sent by God, well, if that’s true, your god needs to hire a quality control expert.
Katie Taylor of Scottsdale asserts in Tuesday's letters to the editor that "the primary purpose of government is not to keep you safe, but to protect your rights."
So if the purpose of government is not to keep us safe, we can dispense with all police departments, ambulance and EMT services, fire departments and all branches of the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies?
Also we can eliminate local, state, and federal agencies whose very purpose is to promote public safety?
That should save us a bundle of money while leaving millions of Americans vulnerable. But at least our "rights" are protected.
This letter was in the Arizona Republic on May 7, 2020.
I am ready to sign up for Dr. Trump's clinical trial, but I have a few questions first. Do I inject the disinfectant subcutaneous-ly or intravenously? On a full stomach or an empty stomach? Once a day or multiple times a day? Also, should I discontinue hydroxychloroquine prior to starting this new regimen? Given that this is experimental, I assume it won't be covered by my insurance. Oh wait. Since losing my job, I don't have insurance.
OK. Ready to give this a try, Chief. What have I got to lose? As Tex says, "there are things more important than living."
Footnote: This is sarcasm.