Letters to the editor: Sept. 16 edition

Islanders write about the fire chief’s vaccination status and teaching about race in schools.

  • Wednesday, September 15, 2021 2:31pm
  • Opinion

FIRE CHIEF

Healthcare workers have moral and legal obligation

Since Chief Krimmert’s refusal to get vaccinated, I realized there are many things as a physician I don’t feel like being told to do anymore. I expect many will defend me, because, like the Chief, I have done a lot for this community, including donating thousands of hours of patient care over 20+ years. So in light of my contributions, I want a pass on things I don’t want to do because I don’t feel like it. For example, I am tired of sterilizing all of the instruments in the office. And wearing gloves. Cleaning surfaces all the time. Making sure my staff is current on their licensing. Using clean needles. Just because those things are proven to keep patients safe, I don’t need some bureaucrat in Olympia telling me what to do.

I am, of course, joking. I follow ALL of the rules and regulations regarding our patient’s health because I understand that our actions affect others. We are morally and legally obligated to protect our patients at all times. Still, it is liberating to know that even though I am not paid by tax dollars like the chief, I too can refuse to care about anyone but myself. I’ll just call it leadership.

— Dr. Kelly Wright

Commissioners have one choice

Should we not agree that any job that is about caring for and protecting the welfare of others ought to include a COVID vaccination requirement? Public servants, in other words: police, firemen and teachers, anyone in a medical field as well. I wonder if the fire chief’s contract stipulates that he is hired to serve and protect the community? If yes, then the board has one choice only. If no, why not?

— Rondi Lightmark

EDUCATION

Schools should engage children in tackling racism

As a supporter of the school district’s efforts to teach effectively about race, I am trying to understand why some community members are opposed.

1. White parents are afraid their children are taught that being white makes them racist or “an oppressor.” How do we simultaneously teach that individuals are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors while teaching that it is our responsibility to undo the results of those actions? If kids of color need to feel empowered by the resilience of their ancestors, don’t white kids also need that same feeling, while acknowledging that those ancestors were complicit in some very bad things? Reconciling these things can be done, but it’s complicated, and we should acknowledge that complexity.

2. Many people believe that focusing our attention on race itself falls under the definition of racism. Those who hold this point of view genuinely believe that kids of color are being harmed by the narrative that they are oppressed by society. This is an example of wanting the same goal with opposite approaches for achieving that goal, and looking at completely different metrics to assess the success of those approaches. If we self-assess, “how often am I thinking about race?,” in one camp an increase in thinking about race indicates success, while in the other it indicates failure.

We may never all agree on the right approach, but engaging our children in tackling racism in the present is preferable to telling them that it is all in the past. The arguments over “critical race theory” (jargon used to fire up opposition, not by educators) are distracting us from a common goal: raising a generation of children who are equipped to reduce the amount of racism in the world.

— Stephanie Gogarten


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