For the common good

I felt compelled to respond to Marc Kolanz’s letter in the Aug. 27 edition of the Times. My understanding of his letter is that unless the “medical community’s capacity to address those who get sick” is in question then, “COVID-19 needs to run its course.” This includes not wearing cloth masks in public.

There are many variables in trying to best predict the consequences of getting infected with COVID-19 but let us take Mr. Kolanz’s choice of case-fatality rate in the U.S. of 3.3 percent. Assuming that “running its course” means everyone is eventually infected, that would mean at the end of the day there will be 10 million dead – 50 times more than have already died. Let that sink in.

Sure, there will be mitigating factors including vaccines and improved treatments, but these take time to develop and deploy. That is where public health measures like social distancing, thorough and frequent handwashing and the wearing of masks come in. To make the claim that Mr. Kolanz does that these are useless measures is, to put it generously, foolish. Can any or even all the above measures stop the pandemic in its tracks? No. Can they give people who have dedicated their lives to the science of improving human health time to work? Yes.

Oh, and let me conclude with my shot at President Donald Trump by comparing him to the above mentioned scientists and regular citizens who are doing what they can for the common good.

Conrad Foley

Chagrin Falls

A truly courageous response

After the flying of the Blue Lives Matter flag at a recent Chardon High School football game, a serious dispute about this display has erupted. In response to this controversy, Superintendent Michael Hanlon has ruled that, in future, such “display[s] will not be a part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests.” In doing so, he has shown considerable restraint. Imagine, for a moment, what his position is. He understands the complex reaction that the Blue Lives Matter flag inspires, or provokes, among U.S. citizens. The thin blue line flag was first flown as a strong and worthy sign of support for the police after the killing of two police officers in New York City in 2014; it is still flown as a symbol of respect for the police. Yet recently it has also been coopted by white nationalists to stand for the completely unworthy cause of white supremacy. Dr. Hanlon is aware of the divided feelings aroused by the display of the flag. As the leader of a school community in which opinion about the flag is sharply split along political lines, it is his responsibility – one guided by school policy – to find a way to bring those two factions together so that they can speak openly and respectfully to each other. Those who object to the flag may be a minority in this community, but Dr. Hanlon knows that the voices of the minority need to be heard. He has taken steps to make sure that both sides are respected so that the community he serves can move forward together.

Given the difficult position that Dr. Hanlon occupies, I found Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri’s response – his angry call for the superintendent’s resignation – political grandstanding at best and demagoguery at worst. At a time when Chardon, like towns and cities across this nation, needs healing, he has inflicted another wound on our community. What we need now in our leaders is moral imagination, the ability to listen, with a generosity of spirit, to a wide range of moral and political views on a question before making a decision. Instead, Mr. Spidalieri spoke and acted rashly, in the meanest, narrowest, most partisan way, calling for Dr. Hanlon’s ouster. Instead of addressing the whole community, he preached to the choir of his base. He is a commissioner for the whole community, not just the majority who support his views. He should comport himself in that way.

I have always supported the police. Blue Lives do matter. Yet I know well at least one person of color from Chardon who has been the victim of racial hatred in this town. I sympathize with those who feel pained, even outraged, by the flying of the Blue Lives Matter flag at the Aug. 28 football game. We need to heal the rift in this country over race. Dr. Hanlon, who also understands this need for healing, deserves our support. His is the truly courageous response to this crisis.

John McBratney


Support for GOP

Do you support socialism?

It doesn’t work.

Do you support redistribution of wealth?

It doesn’t work.

Do you support silence in the face of anarchy?

It doesn’t work.

Do you believe destruction, violence and looting can open hearts and minds?

It doesn’t work.

Do you support destruction of the nuclear family?

It doesn’t work.

Do you believe in justice and law and order?

This works.

Do you believe in equal opportunity?

This works.

Do you believe in the dignity of work and pursuit of happiness?

This works.

Do you believe in Judeo-Christian values?

This works.

Do you believe in the United States of America and the republic for which it stands?

All Aboard the Trump Train.

Sheila Collins


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