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Fear is a destructive force | Letter to the Editor

Fear is a destructive force in society causing otherwise decent people to become mean and judgmental spewing hateful rhetoric at those in their own community who do not believe or act as they demand. San Juan Islanders are generally caring but the snowball of extraordinary fear that has taken root over the last 20 months is causing a negative change in our character. Letters to local publications that range from ludicrous to evil cause great concern that irrational thought and behavior will supersede common sense and decency.

One compares fellow Islanders to criminals even murderers because they made their own choice not to be vaccinated. Equating no masking or vaccination with assault or shooting someone dead is preposterous and nonsensical. Claiming that the unvaccinated are dangerous spreaders of disease to the vaccinated is outlandish propaganda and political foolishness. This segment of our community is no more dangerous to the vaccinated than the vaccinated are to them. They should not be subjected to such loathsome treatment by our own. Can’t we be better people than this?

Another equated those exercising their medical freedom to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. This comparison is repugnant and vile coming from someone clearly ignorant of the horrific, violent, degrading, inhumane treatment of the Jews in Europe. This was a sickening temper tantrum whose author owes a most sincere apology to any family that suffered from the truly evil. We must be better people than this and never make such gross over-exaggeration about our current circumstances.

County, town and port officials contribute to the scapegoating and fear with their unjustified mandates. Throwing long-time, loyal employees “out with the trash” sends the message that they are to be feared and are not worthy of participating in our community unless they “go along.” Employees who worked hard throughout the depths of the pandemic were rewarded with losing their livelihood and told that their fears don’t matter. It was a cowardly and self-serving decision by otherwise good people. Can’t our public servants find more positive solutions?

Let’s not let fear and division destroy the good here. Give no credence to the cruel that spend their days attacking and maligning others with whom they disagree. Return kindness, caring, tolerance and understanding to the conversation. Live well … time is wasting.

Lauren Cohen

San Juan