need new leadership
While commenting about the refusal of some Republican members of the U.S. Congress to wear masks, President Joe Biden said, “It’s time to grow up.” This can be applied at so many levels but I would like to focus on the vaccine response, or rather nonresponse, that Virginia is struggling with. Most of the local news of interest now centers around three things:
1) The continued domination of the commonwealth by COVID-19: Case numbers continue to climb and because of simple fatigue, everyone just seems to accept infections and deaths that would have been unthinkable even a few months ago. The vaccine is not going to change this anytime soon.
2) The lack of anything resembling a coherent and efficient plan for vaccinating people: This has spawned a “me-first” attitude with people assuming that since the distribution is so chaotic, they just should game the system and try to jump the line. There at least is one daily report of this behavior. Please people, act like grown-ups. And does anyone have any reason to assume that a second dose with their name on it will be administered in three to four weeks?
3) And finally, the lack of accountability at the state and local level: In private industry and in the governments of other countries, a failure of this magnitude would result in resignations and a reboot with new leaders. So far, in Richmond and Virginia, this has not occurred. Someone needs to step up and offer real solutions or just step aside. This should include our physician governor and our mayor as well as higher-ups in the state and local departments of health. We don’t need to hear excuses about reporting systems and supply problems. We need to see a plan that we all can agree with and that will get this behind us. It’s time to grow up.
recalled D.C. years
Nostalgia was my most prevalent emotion on Inauguration Day. For my husband and me, the incredible television scenes of Washington, D.C., during the inauguration caused our hearts to swell, not only with patriotism, but also with fond memories of our hometown, the nation’s capital.
For more than 30 years, we lived, worked, played and loved in that area. The National Mall was a place to enjoy walking with our children, all of whom were born there. We watched them ride the carousel in front of the Smithsonian Castle and climb over the dinosaur statue in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We played in and watched office softball games on the grass near the Lincoln Memorial and had an early morning picnic breakfast under the blooming cherry trees.
Does anyone remember attending the free Watergate concerts held behind the Lincoln Memorial? Living in Virginia, just across the river, we could walk across either the Arlington Memorial Bridge or the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to attend.
For years, we sat near the Netherlands Carillon in the park surrounding the Iwo Jima statue to watch the 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall just as we watched the finale to this past Wednesday’s Inauguration Day ceremonies. Perhaps President Joe Biden’s words to a reporter as he walked toward the White House said it best: “I feel like I am going home.” I, too, feel like I’m going home. Home to normality — not to perfection, not to everyone agreeing to everything — just to the normal give and take, the teasing, the arguments, the laughter and, most importantly, to the shared sorrow and love that make us family. “Uncle Joe” has come over to our house. We might or might not agree with him, but we love having him in our home.
Jane Wallace McNeil.
‘Carpet’ references illustrate differences
This past Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., President-elect Joe Biden ignited a “carpet of light” at the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial to honor the 400,000 citizens who died of COVID-19 in the past year. Biden said: “To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal.”
The next day at 8 a.m., Donald Trump — then still president — exited the White House by way of a red carpet. After a self-aggrandizing speech before a small crowd at Joint Base Andrews in which he said, “the movement we started is only just beginning” and finishing with his favorite phrase, “There’s never been anything like it,” he boarded Air Force One — of course, by way of a red carpet.
These actions show the sharp contrast between these two men; one, directing attention to others, the other, drawing all the attention to himself.
Catholic school staffs overlooked for vaccine
This past week, Santa Claus decided to bring a late present to all of the Richmond-area Catholic school teachers in the form of an opportunity to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination. This was just too good to be true because Santa (really the Virginia Department of Health) cruelly came back a day later to take our present away. It seems there was a mistake — apparently the invitation only was for Henrico County Public Schools teachers who have been teaching virtually all this year. Yet, the area Catholic school teachers faithfully and bravely have been teaching in person since August. Really? My goodness, what planning, if any, was happening while the many researchers and medical professionals were working 24/7 over the past year developing the vaccines? Wouldn’t those folks be so disappointed not to mention my fellow Catholic school teacher colleagues? We patiently wait for Santa to come again but next time, please don’t take our present back.
Moratorium on debt eventually will be due
The moratoriums on evictions and utility payments might seem like a godsend to some, but in truth, they are a ticking time bomb. Those missed payments do not disappear; they merely are deferred. At some point, unless the rules somehow are changed, these back payments are supposed to get paid. Nationwide the amount of this ongoing, growing debt is staggering. And it obviously is owed by those who least will be able to pay later. If the government decides to forgive this debt, what of the landlords and utility companies? Will the government reimburse them? Right now, this pretty much is being ignored but eventually, the piper must be paid.