Each life and each right is precious
The number of deaths from COVID-19 is climbing like a debt clock.
Because it's a constant, ever-changing number, it can be easy to grow numb to the news, but we all should be deeply worried that eight months into this nightmare, the numbers are not falling.
According to a new report from the American Medical Association, the U.S. per-capita death rate is markedly worse than those of 19 other wealthy nations. Somehow, the greatest nation on earth has become the worst at mitigating an outbreak.
We remember when crossing the threshold of 100,000 COVID deaths was breathtaking. Now, we seem to be accepting the still-rising numbers as our fate.
The sheer volume is overwhelming and it all can feel like a blur, but every statistic has a story. Everyone knows someone who's had to deal with it.
Each victim has a name and a story; their absence keenly felt by someone left behind.
Each death represents a moment in which life suddenly became disordered.
Every holiday, every gathering of the family tribe, has been diminished.
Most, if not all, were loved by someone.
In tallying nearly 222,000 deaths, the communities they were connected to and all the people they loved and left behind should be counted and remembered, too.
Recently, someone sent me a four-and-a-half-page, doubled-sided single-spaced letter which really could have been boiled down into a single sentence: "Democrats and Blacks bad, Republicans good."
The writer invited us to print the letter as a guest editorial, only there was one small hiccup: The author was anonymous.
Journalists get kicked around all the time for the stories and articles we produce, and that's fine; that's part of the deal. Certainly, everyone has a right to his or her point of view.
But if you can't own it, why say it?
The same goes for whoever it was that sent an anonymous letter threatening a family recently featured in the newspaper where I work, the Canton (Ohio) Repository, because they support the president. Please don't say you did it in defense of your country, because threatening others for exercising their constitutional rights is not even remotely American.
American politics have never been like your little sister's dance recital, nor has it been Kosovo – at least until lately.
Some will argue that we've been verbally abused for four years by a bully and a blowhard who has targeted not just his political critics but ordinary citizens. They'll point to the lying, the narcissism and his unwillingness to say whether he'll agree to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose.
Cut off the electricity, water and heat in the White House, and stop delivering Just for Men, KFC and Diet Coke. Problem solved.
Look, there's a reckoning for everyone. Americans will have their say on Donald Trump and his presidency come Nov. 3.
If we expect to stay a democratic republic, what can't be tolerated, at the hand of an anonymous coward or by the government itself, is an assault on one of our most important and fundamental rights.
Reach Charita Goshay at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.