I thank all the medical personnel and first responders for their heroic work during this pandemic, and also all the workers who are essential to our society continuing to function: store clerks, transport and stock workers, maintenance, postal employees, care givers, and more. Unlike the first group, they didn't sign on for life and death danger as part of their professions, and in large measure don't earn nearly what they're worth.

Which leads to public policy. As overwhelmed as we are by medical emergency and economic crisis, this remains an election year. Donald Trump hasn't forgotten this - nor should we. He wasted precious months that should have been devoted to pandemic preparation, apparently because all he could think about was how it would harm the economy, and dim his chances for reelection.

We have a choice in November. Joe Biden has manifested many times throughout his career his competence and caring - a direct opposite of the current occupant of the White House. Democrats have long been the champions of improving the living standards of the working class heroes listed above but are often thwarted by Republicans looking out mostly for the interests of the wealthiest few and their corporate sponsors.

It is my hope and prayer that the current suffering will lead to a greater realization of the vital need for competent federal government, and how much we are all in this together. Sickness and poverty anywhere makes us all ill and impoverished. At this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, may we also realize how interconnected are our effects on the climate. There is one U.S. political party, and one presidential candidate, who understands this, and is ready to work to make a better world for all.

Authoritarian governments seek to take advantage of crises, going to any lengths to increase their grip on power. This election year will not be anything like normal. The times call for those of us who care for all of humanity to double, and re-double again, efforts to change our national government for the better.

Eric Olson, Front Royal