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Opinion: Utah’s political leaders should be statesmen, not politicians

Because so many politicians in Utah choose to spite a Democratic president rather than protect the public, they will jeopardize my life, my children’s lives and the lives of all those who have acted responsibly in the face of this pandemic

A man holds a sign supporting school mask mandates.
Zachary Noyce holds a sign in support of school mask mandates outside of the Utah State Board of Education office in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

I am imploring our elected officials and the public to go along with the presidential mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations. This is not a political issue; it is a scientific and public health issue. It is one group’s desire for freedom versus everyone else’s health and safety.

I am 84. I lived through the polio epidemics as a child. We lost family friends from the most virulent strain. I also lived through all the childhood diseases, quarantined with a yellow sign on the door. Now all that is history and we are better off because of it.

I spent my career as a public schoolteacher and principal; children are not allowed to attend school if unvaccinated, and we are better for that. As a parent, I understood and welcomed those rules.

Now my great-grandchildren must attend schools where most of the other children are not masking up. My adult great-granddaughter lost so much of her senior year at the U., which should have provided her with irreplaceable experiences. Now vaccinated, she was informed yesterday that she was exposed in two different classes and is being tested today. My 17-year-old great-grandchild, who is severely developmentally delayed, has already missed some badly needed school days. Three great-grandchildren under 12 are going to school with masks but most of their classmates aren’t.

I and most others, especially those of us who are old, have missed so much social life that is important to our well-being.

And for what? So the spoiled and selfish minority can simper that their freedom of choice is being trampled on? Because so many of our politicians at all levels here in Utah choose to spite a Democratic president rather than protect the public as best they can, they will jeopardize my life, my children’s lives and the lives of all those who have acted responsibly in the face of this pandemic.

Please listen to the voices of those who are doing their best to be responsible human beings. Be a statesman and not a politician.

Dolores Hansen Nelson

Centerville