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Letter: The new normal
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Letter: The new normal

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Viral pandemics are caused when a virus from an animal host is transmitted to a human host. Viral pandemics are now common due to global overpopulation, combined with widespread poverty and starvation, and exacerbated by pollution and climate change.

Humans have embraced greed and capitalism to spur global economic growth, typically at the expense of Earth’s environment and animal life. Pandemics are a direct result of humanity’s negligent, selfish and abusive behaviors toward life and nature.

Let’s be honest. Our American lifestyle is overly self-indulgent. Most of the U.S. economy is derived from consumer spending, dedicated mainly to leisure activities, like sports, concerts, cruises, casinos, shopping, dining, travel and tourism. Americans are addicted to fossil fuels, processed foods, sugar, drugs, entertainment and consumerism. People congregate in churches, schools, stadiums, prisons, malls, bars, restaurants, conventions and mass transit.

We have created the perfect lifestyle and economy to be devastated by a pandemic. This must change. As we recover from this COVID-19 pandemic, we must create a new normal before the next pandemic.

To minimize future pandemics, humanity must develop the empathy to address the global issues of overpopulation, poverty, pollution and climate change.

Unfettered capitalism cannot address this problem because economic growth cannot be the top priority.

Governments must regulate business and industry and coordinate with other governments to protect global health and economies. Global social safety nets must be strengthened. Humans must become less selfish and self-indulgent. Please vote for government representatives who pledge to work toward this new normal.

Richard Patterson

Moline

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One of the silver linings of this pandemic year has been the opportunity it’s given my fiancée and me to explore the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. Thanks to a boat rental service that generates funds for the park's operations, we discovered a love for kayaking and the peaceful atmosphere of a lake free from gas motors. Aside from time on the lake, waking up next to the water at the Riverview Campground is an experience every Quad Citizen deserves to experience.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois' state population peaked in 2013. From 2013’s peak population of 12,895,129 to a 2019 population of 12,671,821, we have lost over 223,000 people. I have no idea the number of businesses we have lost in the last six years. Just count the businesses the last couple of years that have left Moline: Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Kmart, and Mills Chevrolet, to name a few. During every year for the last six years we have lost population and businesses.

President Donald Trump’s current shortchanging of the economic life of our land comes from the same kind of irresponsibility as a bankrupt individual who writes more and more bad checks on a totally overdrawn account because he still has printed books of blank ones.

President Trump's latest right wing salvo is to curtail the Project 1619 initiative by eliminating federal educational funding from institutions that choose to introduce Project 1619 into their curriculum.

The derecho storm was another climate change red flag. Extreme weather swings like a derecho wreak havoc on farmers. Farmers in Guatemala have very serious red flag problems with devastating floods and scorching droughts, causing disease and pests never before experienced. Feeding their children enough to avoid malnutrition has become nearly impossible.

Three simple, common sense directives: wear a mask, social distance, wash hands frequently. Yet, there are those who refuse to comply. They must think they’re invincible. Think again. COVID-19 knows no age, gender, race, religion or economic status. It will strike anyone, and often with a vengeance.

George Orwell once wrote, "political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind." I thought of this when I heard the presidential aspirant, Joe Biden, speak recently and denounce the violence and rioting in American cities. What was "pure wind" could have been substance had it been said from the platform of the Democrats' convention. Sadly, it was not, and the moment passed without Biden seizing it.

I am a proud veteran who enlisted in the United States Army in October of 1967. This was three months prior to the Tet offensive in Vietnam. I never served in a combat zone, but served 19 months overseas in a hazardous zone. The North Koreans had captured the USS Pueblo during my last eight weeks of training. Thus, almost all of my ATT class was sent to South Korea immediately after graduation.

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