To support the backbones of our community
In Albany, a State Senate bill is in the works that will support the personnel who are the unpaid backbone of many of our communities: our volunteer …
In Albany, a State Senate bill is in the works that will support the personnel who are the unpaid backbone of many of our communities: our volunteer firefighters and EMS workers. Co-sponsored by Sen. Jen Metzger (SD 42), the bill helps to protect the health and well-being of these essential emergency responders during this COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would allow a fire or EMS department’s chief to authorize immediate testing and treatment for the disease and would allow any condition, treatment or impairment resulting from contracting the disease to be covered by the state volunteer firefighters law. This means that a volunteer would not need to pay for any expenses related to COVID-19 exposure and infection. Currently, in communities with paid fire and EMS services, coverage is in place to protect their workers. Without debate, our volunteer emergency workers deserve the same coverage and protection. Time is of the essence. I urge you to contact your legislators to act quickly and vote on this measure. I also ask that you thank the many volunteer men and women who are bravely continuing to answer the call to aid those in need, 24/7, at great risk to themselves and their families.
New Paltz, NY
In the odd case that you have been worried about border wall construction in this eerie time of personal quarantine, hundreds of U.S. workers from all over the country have recently flocked to the little town of Ajo, Arizona to live in close quarters and work on a portion of that infamous wall. (See the New York Times piece titled “Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears.”) Understandably, Corona conscious Arizonans are somewhat alarmed.
The coronavirus has little respect for walls, crowded children in cages or even multiple travel ban proclamations. You’ll note that these thoughtless and clumsy executive actions have in no meaningful way kept the American people safe from the virus. Trump recently lauded the Mexican government for sending 27,000 troops to “protect” our borders. Certain citizens of Mexico have said that the troops are actually there to keep infected Americans and Mexican day workers inside the plague-ridden U.S. and out of their country. Either way, that approach doesn’t work.
The one-time communist East Germans found out that ultimately, walls don’t keep people in. Although the Romans built great walls, Rome fell anyway. The Chinese famously built a 5,000-mile wall that is visible from space. Their conquerors pushed it aside. Today, more likely, some clever people will always either fly over or perhaps sail around (cruise ship, anyone?) any material wall—even a great wall of stone.
In the end, it is not the “size of your stones” (in the wall) that matter, but rather your intelligence (reliance on science), honesty, transparency and diplomacy that will allow effective leadership in a time of crisis. Currently, those qualities are sorely lacking in the chaotic regime in Washington.
Undoubtedly, the one exception and perhaps the only walls that can actually aid us are those behind which we are currently self-quarantined. Stay safe.