Archived Opinion

Be safe, but be sure to vote

Be safe, but be sure to vote

To the Editor:

I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I first realized my grandma hung out a special flag every July 4, Memorial Day — any national holiday. It was simply four stars representing my dad and his three brothers who all enlisted after Pearl Harbor to fight for democracy. One wounded shortly after landing on Omaha Beach. One survived 25 bombing raids over German held Italy … and so on. 

Back home, folks ate meat maybe once a week. They drove 35 miles an hour to conserve gas. They handed in pots and pans for metal drives. They prayed for the safety of their loved ones. They sacrificed as a nation and were led by a heroic man who, a victim of  polio before we had a vaccine, couldn’t walk across a room unassisted.

Yet our nation pulled together and rose to the moment’s need. So, I have to wonder — what is so darn hard about wearing a mask for a small part of the day if it keeps this virus from spreading and saves lives and liberates the economy? By New Years Day we may have over 300,000 dead in 10 months, five times Vietnam’s dead over 10 years. Our leader — the president — thinks pulling a mask off while high up on a balcony is leadership. I don’t think so. 

We have been fortunate — in Haywood County — to have few cases but still a small number of tragic deaths. It hit home to me when I learned that the nursing attendant — a 39-year-old man — who helped care for my mom at her nursing home in Asheville died of Covid. No pre-existing conditions. 

Now we face a greater challenge. The last time folks rejected an election result and grabbed  their guns 700,000 Americans died in the Civil War. That’s when we were only 30 million people. Today that would be the equivalent of 7 million dead. 

Vote early, be safe, and resist the hate-filled conspiracy theories and rumors that seek to overthrow our democratic process. Our democracy needs you.

Stephen Wall, MD


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