A humanitarian solution
As a pediatrician who has been taking care of children and families for 40 years, I have been able to witness advances in medicine that improve the lives of individuals and strengthen our communities. Of all the ways I have helped my patients, I consider providing immunizations as my single most important and impactful service, as part of a foundation for health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed us socially, economically, politically and interpersonally and it is with great relief and expectation that we now have vaccines that can turn the tide and permit us to resume our lives with the freedoms and opportunities we so value.
The diseases we control through vaccination are devastating worldwide. Polio, smallpox, major types of meningitis, measles and many other communicable infections have caused more death, pain and suffering than most of us know or understand. COVID-19 is another stealth killer that has devastated us through its ability to kill and create chronic illness in those who survive it. The virus has an uncanny ability to infect some without creating illness, leading to asymptomatic spread that has multiplied its impact in ways we never could have imagined or expected. It has been the most destructive force against humankind that most of us will ever see, with no regard for race, creed, religion or geography.
Before vaccines, the only ways we could try to control the spread of infection have been through quarantines and careful hygiene. Wearing a mask and social distancing is worth it, even if it reduces death and disease by a small degree. We owe this precaution to each other. Getting vaccinated is a bigger commitment but is the only way to liberate us from this scourge.
There are some who are vaccination hesitant, worried about the safety of the vaccine or some undiscovered side effect. I can only reassure them that the science and experience has been incredibly positive and reassuring. Millions have received it and the incidence of serious side effects is remarkably small. There are some who are against the idea that they should be vaccinated and are of the mindset to refuse it if they suspect it is a challenge to their personal autonomy or constitutional freedom of choice. They may view it as a political statement. Vaccination is not a conspiracy or individual subjugation; it is a humanitarian solution.
There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19, its origins, contagiousness, severity of illness, diagnosis, treatments and the vaccine. It can be hard to understand or know unless you have seen it first-hand. Those of us who care for infected patients and their families know its reality.
We need to emerge from the socio-economic disaster the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed upon us along with its toll of human suffering. As a physician who has witnessed the positive impact of immunizations, I implore all to get immunized. It is the only way we can do it.
Russell Libby, MD
United to Stop the Spread
One of the aspects of my job that I love the most is being out and engaged with my community, developing relationships and tackling complex issues. I deeply miss gathering in the same room with my neighbors to discuss how we can improve our valleys and putting pen to paper on big ideas. Over the last year, just like everyone out here, I have had to rethink and retool the majority of my professional and personal activities.
All of our lives have been disrupted by this pandemic — shucks, it’s in the name. Pandemic; global outbreak. Businesses have had to innovate to overcome new challenges. Schools have had to make tough decisions and adapt to evolving circumstances. Health care workers have had to persevere through months of consistent crisis.
With information coming from our hospitals and public health professionals on the deepening severity of our situation, I am reminded of how we must remain diligent in doing our part to stop the spread. I am motivated to do this by the people in my life who are affected by my actions.
I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to my parents, my sisters and my friends if they became ill because I wasn’t careful; because I thought that I was the exception to public health’s warnings. Beyond those who are closest to me, I think of my fellow community members and the immense weight that comes with health and financial hardships.
I think we can all agree that we want to see our local business community succeed. I chose this community precisely because of our vibrant local character. This is why I prioritize shopping local and order delivery or take out as often as possible. If we all follow the fact-based protocols of limiting gatherings, wearing masks, washing hands, keeping our distance and staying home when sick, we can bring our numbers down, but we ALL have to do our part.
We can make a difference through collective action. This is what the United to Stop the Spread campaign asks us to do. Encourage your neighbors and friends to take health protocols seriously for our businesses, our schools, our families and our essential workers.
National Mentoring Month
I know first-hand the significant difference caring adults can make in children’s lives. Having grown up in Aspen in the ‘70s, my teachers, coaches and friends’ parents were instrumental in providing a network of nurturing, trusted adults apart from my own parents.
When I returned to the valley in 2017, I knew I wanted to give back in a way that benefits children. The Buddy Program was it! In October 2018, I became a Big Buddy to a Basalt High School student. Over the past 26 months, we’ve had fun getting to know each other as we’ve shared activities like watching the X Games, playing miniature golf, seeing “The Nutcracker,” going to the movies, making clay pots, decorating gingerbread houses and baking cookies. While COVID restrictions have made it more challenging to gather in person, we have managed to stay connected through texting, FaceTiming and letter writing.
It has been rewarding to become a trusted, consistent adult in my Buddy’s life and to introduce her to activities that were a part of my youth, which she might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience. I’ve learned so much from my Little Buddy, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. How lucky I am to be a part of the Buddy Program! I encourage others to get involved in this amazing mentorship opportunity. Not only will you positively impact a child’s life, but the experience will also change you in ways you can’t even imagine!
Brenda Carlson Stockdale
Damaged ship of state
Foundering in stormy seas
Inept hand at helm
Jan. 6, 2021 will be remembered as a very sad day by me. Our nation’s Capitol was looted by rioters, domestic terrorists. Five people died. One of them was an Air Force veteran. One, a police officer.
The officer died protecting Rep. Lauren Boebert from the very people she encouraged to be at our Capitol that day, her “constituents” she called them, while she hid in an undisclosed location. Is that how you support our law enforcement men and women, Representative? Is that how you “Back the Blue”?
In less than a week on the job, the blood of five dead people is on your hands, Mrs. Boebert. I ask you to take responsibility and resign. Surely, we can find someone that will think about protecting our constitution and defending our democracy to take your place.
Letter to the Editor:
Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District has made a serious mistake in electing Lauren Boebert to represent us. There are now rallies across our district calling for Boebert’s resignation.
Rep. Boebert’s first official act, after taking an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, was to undermine democracy and incite insurrection. On Wednesday, Boebert objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. She stated on the floor of the House of Representatives, “Madame Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now and I promised to be their voice. It is my separate but equal obligation to weigh in on this election and object.”
The Rural Colorado United press release states, “Lauren Boebert has betrayed the American people and is a conspirator in the insurrection that occurred at Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. As the citizens she represents in Congress, we cannot recall her and we cannot impeach her, but do not accept that she is fit to represent the people of [the 3rd District]. We can only hope that her colleagues in Congress expel her.”
We can also be diligent in letting her know, as her constituents, when we disagree with what she calls “representing us.” It’s interesting that she has offices in Pueblo, Durango and Grand Junction but no office in the Roaring Fork or Colorado River Valleys.
Her D.C. contact information is:
(202)225-4761 or 1609 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
The Dec. 6 insurrection, ordered by Trump & Sons, grabbed me with the thought that we’re waging sedition against Congress, over a vote. Despite it following the rules and procedures set out in the constitution. We stormed the halls, in the name of the Constitution, while flying a confederate flag. Dang, it’s like flipping the Monopoly board because everybody is playing fair. Seems to me, it’s a demonstration of the cognitive dissonance that is daily broadcast to, and absorbed by, a third of our population. Information from the non-science, “Alternate Fact” universe, where cellphones are made like lollipops.