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Freedom without responsibility is selfishness

To the Editor:

I am a wife who, more times than I would like to count, has sat with her husband as a tube down his throat breathed for him. I have listened to the whoosh whoosh of oxygen being pushed into his lungs as he slept in a medically induced coma. I have watched numbers and graphs I do not understand measure the moments of his life. I have wept when sudden alarms signaled a downturn. I have asked the professionals caring for him if it was time to call the family in. (Sometimes they said yes.)

During those harrowing days, I was comforted by outpourings of love and prayer showered on us by this community. I credit much of his healing to great care and unceasing prayer.

It frightens me that should he contract Covid now that I will not be allowed to be there to watch those machines. I will have to depend on those professionals, all strangers to us, to care for him.

To know that many in the same community that extended good wishes to us blithely ignore the real possibility that someone they love could lie in that same hospital bed he lay in is distressing.

I am infuriated by our local leadership. People I thought would be good shepherds are letting us down.

Our elected leaders are not being shepherds, They seem intent on taking us over a cliff some will not survive.

They are not leading. They are following the loudest voices without to ask whether those voices know what they are talking about and are they are helping the community.

The bleating of the "freedom" lovers is drowning all else out. Amidst the talking points they repeat is the message that "I'm not gonna and you can't make me!"

The freedom they seek is that of small children. A child sees freedom in touching a hot stove or sticking a wet finger in a light socket. But wise adults limit their freedom in the name of love. Freedom without responsibility is selfishness.

I am astonished that our elected leaders are not modeling understanding that the new and more dangerous strain Covid-19 spreading more quickly and dangerously than before. Hospitals are full. I do not recall that happening in our area last year. It's happening now.

Delta is a more dangerous strain of the virus. Unlike the first strain of Covid-19, When the pandemic first struck, the consensus that grandma and grandpa and those with underlying health issues were those most at risk. Healthy and younger folks got for the most part what mimicked a bad cold.

Delta is not ignoring children. It is putting them in hospital at multiples of the last round. This mutation is attacking younger people, children and those without underlying health conditions. Those who know better have turned fighting the virus into a political issue. They do this cynically, denying our children, especially those too young to get vaccinated, the protection they look to us to provide.

I recently sat in a small conference room with six locally elected officials, their support staff and several visitors. Of the fourteen of us in that room, only I was masked. The message from our leaders is: no need to wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

This spring, many of us fully vaccinated thought we had beat Covid-19. And we would have if more than half of us had gotten vaccinated, wore masks and socially distanced. Now we are in a pandemic more dangerous than the first round.

Leaders lead by words and deeds. As of this writing, our leaders are saying nothing and doing nothing. It is clear that our leaders don't care to defy the loud voices in favor of protecting the vulnerable.

Along with my fury that what could have been over continues to wreck our economy and will take lives and damage others irrevocably, there is the sadness that the people we elected to lead us through good times and bad aren't up to the task.

It didn't have to be this way.

Mary Potter

Editor's Note: Letter sent to the Hickman County Times published August 31, 2021

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