To the Editor:
Dear Sens. Thune and Rounds and fellow-South Dakotans:
It is time for honest, tough, evidence-based decisions and concerted action. Daily, American lives are being lost because the “Republican” Trump Administration has failed to face facts about COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
As I write this, I am on Vashon Island, Washington, where my husband and I have spent the summer. We chose this location because the people here respect science and take responsibility for the needs of the less fortunate among us. They support widespread testing and contact tracing; individual prevention (mask-wearing, hand-washing, physical distancing and limiting contacts); closure of bars, indoor restaurants, etc., where virus levels are high; and community outreach and support to those adversely and economically affected by the pandemic. We have had minimal cases and no deaths.
And now, at the beginning of the “fire season,” we have an AQI of over 200 (very unhealthy) while our neighbors in Oregon have an AQI of 516. “Hazardous” is 250 or higher. One-tenth of Oregonians are evacuated or on evacuation alert. Climate change did not directly cause these fires, but it did cause the ferocity and intensity.
Senators, the Republican Party of my youth would not be at recess during a time of such dire crisis. We need you to step up to the plate now. Return to Washington now, pass a responsible COVID-19 package that directly aids our most vulnerable citizens and begin readdressing the worsening crisis of climate change now.
Fellow citizens, let’s actively support and elect honorable leaders who will protect our democracy and secure our right to elections free from foreign influence and internal threats (i.e. weakening our postal system, dishonestly maligning COVID-safe, voting by mail, etc), and who will consult with experts and put the short and long-term welfare of its citizens above party allegiance.