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home : columns : dear harriette November 29, 2020

10/1/2020 8:03:00 AM
Overnight gathering seems unwise

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend will be visiting from California for a family funeral and asked if I and another friend wanted to get together overnight at a friend's cabin. I agreed, as I have been watching social media and have noticed how they are responding to mask-wearing. I thought maybe the plane ride home would be a high-risk situation for my friends; however, airlines are ensuring people wear masks.

My California friend asked if we could invite another friend. After the friend who owns the cabin said yes, my California friend went ahead and invited our other friend without my input. I love this other friend, but, observing her social media, I don't see her practicing safe social distancing. In addition, she has two kids physically going to high school and sports. I have decided not to attend the overnight gathering with the other three friends due to this. Should I be honest about why I am not going to attend? We have a family member who is gravely ill, so I can cite that as my reason. But I'm upset about how this was handled and not sure what to do next. Thanks for any help. -- Too Many Friends, Not Enough Space

DEAR TOO MANY FRIENDS, NOT ENOUGH SPACE: If your friends ask you why you didn't join them, tell them. Many people who contract COVID-19 these days do so when they let their guard down around people they are close to -- friends, family and loved ones.

You made a smart decision based on the facts at hand -- including having the ill family member. Remind your friends to stay vigilant and to wear masks even when they are inside the cabin. You don't have to chastise them for how the invitations went out. But you can encourage them to be as safe as possible.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I loved your answer to Young Voter who is having a difficult time dealing with her emotions amid the discord and chaos of this election environment. She would not be alone even among caring voters 50 or more years older, myself included. Your advising her to become as knowledgeable as possible about each candidate and his or her aims and implications for our country was spot on. It may be difficult to accomplish but not impossible if she listens to both sides and to what other respected people have to say about them. In my 58 years of voting eligibility, I have exercised my right in every national and local election, casting votes only for candidates I have researched as thoroughly as possible. The key going forward as an involved citizen is to remain vigilant to the process.

I'd like to add to your suggestion that YV urge other young people to be sure to vote. Too many times voters do only that; they go to the polls and cast a vote with only the most superficial information. They think that the act itself fulfills their civic duty and that it doesn't matter for whom they vote. Since they have usually had no substantial instruction throughout their public school years about the history, purpose and workings of our (or any) government, their votes are nothing more than shots in the dark, while counting just as much as an informed vote. I believe YV's friends should also be encouraged to educate themselves to become mindful, serious citizen voters. That is the only way we can all take honest responsibility for our own sacred, privileged participation in government of and by the people. WE are The People! -- Proud Independent Voter

DEAR PROUD INDEPENDENT VOTER: Amen! This is what I say all the time. Thanks for the reminder.





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