Less divided in politics

Political divides that separate us will not be bridged soon. They are firmly rooted in suspicion and contempt; they deepened in the pandemic as we locked down, masked up, and stayed 6 feet apart.

It hardened the practice, not recognized as rude, to hurry past others, making neither eye-contact nor pleasantries.

A reset is needed, and an easy place to begin is right outside our front doors. In the spirit of initiating a reset, greet people on the street with eye-contact, a smile and a “good morning” or a “good day.” It is good manners. It is small and costs nothing. It may mean a lot to them! Maybe we can get back to being better neighbors to one another if we simply practice being neighborly. And maybe, just maybe, in time, we can work our way back to being less divided.

Randi Luoto, Seattle

Do what brings you joy

I have been telling everyone I can to keep the commitments you already have made between now and Jan. 1. But schedule as many meetings, deadlines and other commitments as you can until after the first of the year.

Also, get a good calendar. A planner with colors that speak to you, new pens, whatever will make scheduling fun.

Finally, schedule time throughout the next few weeks to think about what gives you joy and make time for that. Sitting with your first cup of morning coffee and the ambient light of one candle, going snowshoeing on a Saturday, stopping in at a favorite wine shop when they are having a wine tasting.

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Anne Anderson, Milton

Rely on pets and friends

This is a particularly bad time for me. I do not have any family. My husband died of dementia about 6 years ago. I am losing a close friend to cognitive issues and another to cancer. I am the cranky old lady who lives alone with a wonderful dog and few friends. Family is the “F” word! The loneliness is acute and although it will always be present, it is omnipresent when the holidays arrive!

Nancy Fisher, Seattle

End TB Globally

There are a lot of divisive issues that dominate our national politics. However, there is a vital global issue that has bipartisan support: End Tuberculosis Now Act (SB 3386).

Until COVID came along, tuberculosis was the most infectious killer. Decades of progress controlling TB was disrupted by the pandemic. It is essential to get back on track before millions more lives are lost.

The bill mandates targeted allocation of existing TB treatment and prevention resources.

Thank you to Rep. Derek Kilmer for signing onto the House version (H.R. 8654). We ask you to contact Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and request they sign on to this life saving bill.

Leslie and Michael Boyer, Bremerton

School safety

Our students deserve and need to feel safe at school so they can learn. As committees discuss ways to make this a reality, I’ve got a request: Listen to the students, ask them about ways that they feel safe! Include them in planning groups.

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I’m a retired certificated school nurse, 27 years in this position. Loved it, did my best, and I miss hanging around students and learning from them.

While committees talk about how much it costs for added safety, how about some simple, inexpensive ways to start?

Interior classroom door locks must be installed and window covers added. Turning off lights, locking doors, students sitting on the floor, quietly, may save lives.

Mary Kathryn Myers, MPH RN, Kent