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The first responders

EDITOR: First responders are not just the folks in uniforms. First responders are the cashiers and shelf stockers in the supermarkets. First responders are the cooks who provide meals for needy kids and the homeless. First responders sanitize our public spaces and bathrooms, deliver our online purchases, serve our meals, care for us in hospitals. First responders are our friends and neighbors who put their own health on the line to keep us all safe and alive.

PATRICK CAMPBELL

Bloomfield

Cursive is important

EDITOR: I wonder why high-pressure tactics were used in an article to persuade people to drop cursive in schools (“Kids can’t write cursive — no big deal,” March 8). Big guns were brought out. The pro-cursive movement is a “right-wing conspiracy,” with an appropriate quote from the paranoid fringe. Teaching cursive was described as an indoctrination tool for unruly children to mold them into “a fine platoon of soldiers.” Compared to my instruction in cursive, it was ludicrous.

The coronavirus pandemic teaches us not to place our eggs in one Chinese manufacturing basket, which suddenly becomes inaccessible. We assume there will never be widespread system failures requiring nonkeyboard communications. Printing is slow and awkward. More importantly, we would lose handwritten works of statesmen, theologians and long-ago writers if people can’t read cursive, which is already happening. Sure, the “official” version would be on computer, but how could we verify it is real?

In the TV series “Man in the High Castle,” a filmmaker from the Reich is making a film claiming America was always under the Reich. Her boyfriend says no one will believe it. “This will be the only version available,” she replies. “In three generations no one will remember anything else.”

CATHY VEENIS

Santa Rosa

Coronavirus profiteers

EDITOR: Two stories in the news caught my attention: people buying hand sanitizer at dollar stores and reselling at up to $70 a bottle, and the attempted sale of fake virus testing kits. It doesn’t take long for people to figure out how to profit from a disaster.

In a society whose founding principle is selfishness (see Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”), the most greedy are the most successful. This problem is often framed as a class struggle between the haves and the have-nots, but I think it goes beyond that. In a world in which the shallowness of existence is mitigated by unending material acquisition, the well-to-do have the most to lose.

We need a major reframing of priorities in which the sole purpose of life isn’t to make money. This isn’t a new idea but one that predates our “advanced” civilization. Perhaps the destruction we have wrought on our planet will eventually force this change when people become as terrified of climate change as they are of coronavirus.

RICHARD SALZMAN

Sebastopol

The main objective

EDITOR: I’m a big-time fan and admirer of Bernie Sanders and have been for 30-plus years. I believe in the political and social values he espouses, and I’ve actively engaged in promoting those progressive ideals. But I say to Sanders supporters who promote not voting if Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic nomination or not voting for Joe Biden if he does, it is foolish, selfish and, even worse, dangerous.

The danger is Donald Trump, as Sanders has repeatedly said; no need for a litany of examples. Any Bernie bro or sister knows it well. And that being the undeniable case, the overriding objective of this election is to get rid of Trump. That’s it.

Those of us who see this clearly must focus on ridding the country of the worst, by leagues, president in U.S. history. If one had to find the polar opposite of Abraham Lincoln it’s that current bizarre and, in my view dangerous, person.

So, the focus must be the ouster of Trump. If, through the primaries, Democrats agree on Biden, political ego must be put aside for the sake of our country and keeping a democratic form of government. Sad to say it’s come to that, and we must act intelligently.

WILL SHONBRUN

Boyes Springs

Naming names

EDITOR: I know this is contentious, but should we not suspend the privacy provisions in the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to be able to respond more quickly to contain the coronavirus?

The public needs to know the names of the unfortunate people who have contracted the disease and what public places they have visited with dates so that if we recognize that we have had contact with them we can immediately self-quarantine and get tested. Otherwise we are relying on their memory and a public official finding likely contacts.

Personally, I would be happy to have my name made public if I had this fast-moving contagion. I recognize that there would be angst if a public place is announced, but this can be managed if it is planned properly and those at most risk can be triaged quickly.

We need the maximum amount of information available to control COVID-19.

KEVAN CLEMENS

Santa Rosa

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