Letters to the Editor for Feb. 7

Walden’s two faces

Greg Walden is a really good politician. I attended his town hall meeting where he took questions on Obamacare, climate change and immigration, among others. He told us he thinks Obamacare is here to stay but that he would work to improve it. He implied that he understood climate change was a problem by telling us he drove two hybrids and is trying to pass legislation to do more logging to cut down on forest fires. He spoke of his admiration for agricultural workers, that immigrants have highly specialized skills and contribute to our country.

Sounds reasonable to a Hood River audience, but in Washington, D.C., he voted for legislation that would undo executive directives to provide temporary work permits to four million immigrants and gave relief to 600,000 dreamers. (Visit Causa Oregon, Google, Walden on Immigration.)

He justifies his votes to hurt agricultural workers by saying the President has no constitutional authority.

Yet, Walden and his Republican party offer no solution to the immigration issue. Say positive things to the home audience and then vote to ruin the lives of some of the people you say you admire. Mr. Walden seems like a caring, thoughtful guy. So, it’s doubly disappointing when in Washington he votes like a two faced politician. Walden and the Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare again, which would deny me and my family affordable health care.

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

Community immunity

Dr. Charles Haynie’s Feb. 4 letter about immunizations prompts me to add some reflections.

As a child I was fortunate enough to be vaccinated against polio, which had claimed the lives or mobility of so many in the generation just before mine. I had a severe case of measles, however, and am just plain lucky that it didn’t result in lasting brain damage. During my medical training, I served in a pediatric ICU where most of the infants and toddlers suffered from a bacterial meningitis and encephalitis (brain and spinal fluid infection), which often left the survivors hearing-impaired or otherwise permanently impaired. Later, I hospitalized adults for adult-onset chickenpox (and treated many others in the clinic), and saw three patients left sterile from the mumps. Measles, mumps and chickenpox vaccinations, among others, became available since all of this, as has the “H. flu” vaccine, which prevents the very infection I mentioned in that pediatric ICU.

Most of my younger colleagues have never seen a patient with measles, mumps, chickenpox or H. flu meningitis — just as I myself saw only two cases of polio when I practiced medicine. We should be deeply grateful to the scientists and public health professionals who have worked so successfully on immunization against preventable suffering and disability.

It takes all of us together to carry out the vision — to think of the collective good, to immunize our own children in order to protect not only them but other children and adults, to get our own immunizations on time and appreciatively. Here’s to prevention and community immunity! (I propose a bumper sticker with that rhyme to remind us all.)

Tina Castañares


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