Editorials - Oct. 22, 2020
Without you, there is no us
This month marks the 35th anniversary of the first issue of The Citizen. Back in 1985, visionary community members Keith and Jill Roulston worked with the late Sheila Richards to sell shares for a newspaper that would cover the communities of Blyth, Brussels and others. The response was overwhelming and that spirit continues today with the support The Citizen sees from community members, sponsors and readers, as well as through provincial and national award wins.
The need was there – both villages had been without a newspaper for several years – and when The Citizen was mailed out, people realized what they had been missing. Now, 35 years later, the Roulstons have stepped back, enjoying a well-earned retirement, but there is a new team in place working to preserve the continuum of The Citizen’s principles, producing a newspaper week after week that continues to see growth.
While the staff works hard to create this newspaper every week, the success story of The Citizen is that of its community members and ardent supporters. Those who first bought shares into this unique and visionary project. Those who have worked for The Citizen over the years, propelling its mandate forward. Those who subscribe – whether it’s your first year or your 35th – and those who run to local stores to get their paper even earlier. The advertisers who see value in supporting The Citizen and aligning their brand with a trusted community-owned news source. The community members who have trusted us with your stories for all these years. As Keith has said, The Citizen is fortunate to have earned the trust of the community. That is a delicate relationship, because it is very easy to lose it and you do that by cutting corners.
Thank you to everyone who has made The Citizen what it was in 1985, what it continues to be today and what it will be in the future. – SL
The great debate
In the final days of the campaign before the U.S. presidential election, the White House has thrown its lot in with a group of scientists behind the Great Barrington Declaration, a proposal developed and signed at the American Institute for Economic Research in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The theory, put forward by a group of scientists funded by a libertarian think-tank part of a Koch-funded network, argues that authorities should allow COVID-19 to spread uncontrollably through young healthy people while protecting the vulnerable. Allegedly, this would allow a population to reach “herd immunity” without the need for a vaccine, which would ultimately protect the vulnerable.
Now many doctors and infectious disease specialists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, have come out attacking the declaration as ridiculous and dangerous. The science behind the herd immunity concept is based on vaccination rates, not infection. In addition, protecting vulnerable populations is not as easy as the declaration would have us think. In Canada, we have seen long-term care residences ravaged once the infection slips past their defences, leading to otherwise healthy individuals losing their battle with COVID-19. Not enough is known yet about the virus to determine who is vulnerable, what the long-term effects are or if immunity after infection is even likely. The White House and President Donald Trump seem eager to back a theory which promotes their agenda of keeping the economy fully open while minimizing the true risk to the public.
Everyone is eager to live their pre-pandemic life. The Great Barrington Declaration sounds like permission for most of us to do just that, but are you willing to bet your life that you’re one of the herd and not one of vulnerable? – DS