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Our View: Working together

The Union Editorial Board

The COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Or so says President Joe Biden, just under two months from a midterm election.

While the president’s statement is perhaps too bold, there are plenty of positive signs to support we’re emerging from the pandemic.

Other than the doctor’s office, other medical facility or odd shop here and there, mask requirements are gone. Even the Nevada County Courthouse — where armed deputies are present to enforce a judge’s will — dropped its mask mandate weeks ago.

A few folks will continue to wear theirs in public, but otherwise the most visible sign of the past two years has disappeared. Businesses are back, and demand for workers is strong. Yes, inflation is high. Toss a large rock in a pond and the ripples will extend for some time before the waters grow calm again.

And, just maybe, if we’re lucky, they will get calm.

It would be a perfect world if we all joined hands around the campfire, sang “Kumbaya” and celebrated our collective escape from a two-year trip through darkness. That, most assuredly, will not occur.

The divisions this country have experienced over the past several years were only exacerbated by the pandemic. Political, religious and social issues have driven a wedge throughout the body politic.

You can see that, right here, in Nevada County.

A deputy began attending Board of Supervisors meetings when asked by supervisors and the county executive officer. That happened after the first protests over COVID-19 and virtual meetings occurred, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office said.

A small, but loud, group of malcontents has at times railed against elected officials during meetings, burst through a locked door to the elections office, and inundated our leaders with false claims about election fraud.

Senate Bill 1100 gives governments new tools to keep their meetings orderly. It enables governments to remove people who interrupt meetings, defining precisely what a meeting disruption is.

Maybe our local meetings will cool down now that we’re easing out of the pandemic. But if not, supervisors and city councils should take a strong look at SB 1100 and keep it in their back pockets.

That’s because, despite the president’s words, we’re not out of the pandemic. Not really.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the outgoing presidential COVID-19 advisor, said as much in response to Biden’s claims. A lot depends on how we deal with existing variables and future variants. Only 67% of the country is vaccinated, Fauci said, and of those, only a half have received one booster.

These seemingly separate threads are connected — each of our personal responses to the pandemic, overall vaccination rates and disruptions at public meetings.

The natural orbit of our lives has been disrupted by the divisiveness on the national level. That was amplified by the pandemic. Now we, individually and collectively, must correct our course.

Personally, we do that by getting vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19, and get a flu shot, as well. On the community level, we demand personal responsibility in our actions and those of others, and expect our elected leaders to take action when people fail to meet that standard.

And on the local, state and national level, we vote for those who we believe will uphold the values and tenets that have bound us together as a people for almost 250 years.

Taking these steps, we can beat back a pandemic of both virus and thought.

But we have to do it together.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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