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At the grocery store, check your attitude

My son is on the front lines in the war against coronavirus. He is not a doctor, nurse or EMT. He isn’t a scientist, but he is a soldier in this battle against a germ we know so little about. 

He has a high school diploma. He makes minimum wage. He is a courtesy clerk at a local grocery store. In the past two weeks, he has gone from the back of the line in our social pecking order to the head of the express lane.

He has gone from laboring in obscurity to being part of an essential service. He and his co-workers are dealing with a neurotic nation. Scared people hoarding toilet paper, water and wipes. They are working 12-14 hour days to unload trucks and stock shelves they can’t refill. They are being barraged by attitude and insults. They are literally risking their lives so that we can get a loaf of bread and a bag of potatoes.

We are a country of entitled people. We walk in a store and expect to get what we want, when we want it. Too often, we treat grocery store workers like background noise. We simply ignore them. 

The next time you go grocery shopping, check your attitude before you check out. Thank one of the staff for their service. And, leave something for someone else. We are all in this together. 

Janice Hayes Kyser, Las Vegas, Nevada

Where are the titans of business? 

The coronavirus has suddenly changed our daily lifestyles, our health and brought new fears to our community. Many public officials, including the president, have compared this virus to waging war against our citizens and nation.

During World War II the titans of business changed their factories, pledged their resources and used their business acuteness to help our nation defeat Germany and Japan. Hitler was swallowing Europe and our Navy lay at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, and the business community and the Greatest Generation rose up and saved our country.

The automotive industry stopped making cars and made tanks, planes and jeeps. Scientists developed military weapons superior to our enemies. Our soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our way of life.

Winning that war and others afterward preserved our economic capitalist system and democracy.

Where are the titans of business today? The silence is deafening. Where is Amazon and Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? 

These companies have flourished under our democracy and Constitution while profiting from tax breaks.

These are billionaires who have the resources, if they desired, to help in our war against coronavirus. Now is the time to step up and do the right thing.

Robert Ficano, former Wayne County executive and sheriff

End zero-risk culture

If the coronavirus is teaching us anything, it’s the nature of risk. As of this writing, America has moved decisively to minimize one set of risks: infection and illness transmission, with an emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations. However, it’s now becoming increasingly apparent that approach has created risks of its own. By shutting down the country, we’re creating an economic shutdown — an economic disaster that could potentially dwarf the effects of the virus. 

In America we’ve become risk averse. But minimizing risk is itself a decision, one that carries its own consequences.

During World War II, America learned that life was all about risk. We learned to manage it and accept it. We learned that risk-free is an impossibility, and the pursuit of a risk-free world carried other consequences.

The virus crisis may end America's zero risk culture. Pursuing perfect may be the riskiest business of all.

Chuck Moss, Birmingham

former state representative 

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