To the editor: In the USA we enjoy unprecedented levels of comfort, autonomy and affluence thanks in part to our ongoing experiment with liberal democracy; we also have embarrassing levels of inequality, poverty and racism. On top of chronic national problems, humanity faces daunting new threats — global warming and other environmental crises, overpopulation and resource depletion, mass migration, a rise of autocratic regimes with little respect for international norms or laws, and nuclear arms proliferation to name a few — that demand our attention and action.
We need well-educated, pragmatic thinkers leading our nation, states, and communities, and they’ll only get there if we, the electorate, value these qualities and vote them into office. This is our privilege, our civic responsibility, our challenge.
Today, we’re in the midst of a pandemic that public health experts have been warning of for decades. As the virus mutates, the likelihood of more contagious, more lethal variants grows. We have access to highly effective vaccines and our expert medical researchers, public health officials, and health care providers have all recommended simple, if not easy, behavioral guidelines that reduce the spread of the virus, risk of infection, illness and death. We aren’t following them.
Alaska has the highest Covid infection rate in the nation, yet we continue to elect and heed ill-informed, politically expedient public servants and demagogues who tug at our primitive instincts of fear and loss of self-determination in destructive ways that keep us from coming together in a unified, smart, disciplined counter-attack on the virus. If Americans and Alaskans can’t figure out whom to believe, where to get reliable information, and choose effective public servants to help extricate us from this pandemic mess we’re in, I despair that we will ever manage to confront the more complicated challenges facing us.
I’m grateful we have thoughtful, dedicated incumbents and candidates who share my hope for a brighter future where our kids get a modern education, where science and facts matter, and where justice, fairness and personal responsibility are expectations.
I’ll be voting for Bryce Ward, David Guttenberg, Savannah Fletcher, Kristan Kelly, Erin Morotti, and Chyra Sanderson on Tuesday, Oct. 5.