Words about women’s rights still ring true

Friday night, Sept. 18, historian and author Jon Meacham, in discussing the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said, “our gains are fragile and tenuous.” We need to heed his words.

Three years ago I wrote an article for the L-T entitled “What Young Women May Not Know” explaining women’s complete lack of rights less than 200 years ago and the sacrifices made to win the rights we have now in 2020. The last three paragraphs of the article, which I think apply even more today, follow:

“Guess what? The Equal Rights Amendment did not pass. It won the two-third’s vote from the House of Representatives in October 1971. In March of 1972 it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. It failed to achieve ratification by 38, or three-quarters, of the states. It was never brought to a vote again.

“Because of that rejection, sexual equality, with the exception of when it pertains to the right to vote, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, by the late 20th century the federal government and all states had passed legislation protecting women’s rights. These protections are not amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They, too, can be wiped away with the swipe of a pen, especially at the state level.

“Please don’t be complacent and too comfortable with your life. Be aware of what has happened over the years, decades and, literally, centuries to get you here. Many people have died fighting for equal rights for themselves and others. Women fought and died. People march to make other people aware; pay attention, please. It is all I ask, lest you lose it all. Lest we all lose it all.”

Sharon Weeks

Chippewa Falls

Democrats’ abortion stance unacceptable

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19).

Evil likes the darkness. We all know this. When we do something we are ashamed of, or want to hide, we “keep it in the dark.” By contrast, things we are proud of, those we celebrate and proudly make known. Like the birth of a baby for example. But if that baby’s life is deliberately ended, that is kept in the dark. In fact, if I described exactly what happens during an abortion, this paper may opt not to print it.

Our society has accepted that this “procedure” exists, but knowing it is evil, keeps it in the dark. Indeed it is not just accepted, but strenuously fought for. Joe Biden, who once was a self-described pro-life Democrat, now puts no qualifiers on his support for abortion.

There are those who do evil, and those who support and enable them. Politicians like Biden and Kamala Harris support and enable those who perpetrate mass murder. There is a direct cause and effect, just as there is a direct cause and effect of elections.

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (Jn 3:20-21).

Andy Shakal

Bloomer

Vote for Berge in state Assembly contest

Unfortunately, many of our state legislators are not independent thinkers. Many say they go to Madison to “fight for us,” but in reality, they are like lemmings, following the leadership unconditionally, not introducing legislation or amendments, and not setting a toe outside the caucus. In Wisconsin, the majority leader controls the caucus, and no one in that party is permitted to think for themselves.

We need a change. We need a legislator who is willing to think independently and introduce legislation that will represent the needs of all Wisconsinites.

Emily Berge will be that legislator.

Berge is running to represent the 68th Assembly District, a large district that touches five counties and stretches from Eau Claire to Greenwood. It’s a mixed group that has different, often unique, needs. We need an independent representative that understands the diversity and is willing to represent us all.

Emily is that independent thinker and doer. She is a professional counselor, and in that job, she listens to people. Emily is a small business owner, so she understands that struggle in these trying times. Emily is a member of the Eau Claire City Council, so she knows how government works and the importance of bridging political divides.

We are living through unprecedented times. Coronavirus cases in Wisconsin are surging, especially in rural areas. Schools are forced to alternate days or have only virtual education. Rural areas do not have ample broadband for children to be educated remotely. Farm bankruptcies have increased dramatically over the last three years. Many small businesses have been forced to close.

So where is the Legislature? They are in recess, of course.

It is time for a change. A vote for Berge is a vote to level the playing field and force the Legislature to work for all of us.

Stella Pagonis

Altoona

Giese and staff applauded for their efforts

We are in a challenging time. Worries about COVID-19 and its impact on our health, economy and future are ever present. The importance of a strong, well-functioning health department in helping the community stay as healthy as possible is critical.

As dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UW-EC, I applaud the work of our Eau Claire health officer, Lieske Giese, and her staff. They’ve done an amazing job. They carry the responsibility of making decisions based on best practices, driven by the best science available. They also occupy the role of assuring the health of all populations and preventing unnecessary disease spread and deaths. They do this through education and providing accurate information.

The recommendations regarding limiting gatherings, wearing masks, hand washing, staying six feet apart, and quarantine and isolation, exist because the science is clear on how infectious and deadly this virus is when these measures aren’t followed.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation, making it challenging to know which sources to trust. People attempt to discredit the science about COVID-19 within our own community. Eau Claire County on Sept. 28 had 53 positive cases of COVID-19, with community spread at 34%, 17 outbreaks in the last two weeks, 14% positivity rate, and contact tracing within 48 hours at 19%. New cases of breast cancer for women are 128.5 per 100,000 women per year, compared with COVID-19 now at 1,885.5 cases per 100,000.

Prevention measures may not be popular or convenient. I strongly encourage your continued compliance with the guidelines put forth by our health officer and health department. I also invite you to be a civic leader to create the expectation of safety and health for all. Indeed, our lives depend on it.

Linda Young

Eau Claire