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Two reasons to praise Democrats this week

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Before this week, the last time I can think of to praise a Democrat was April 11, 1951, when President Truman fired General MacArthur for insubordination. I was 10 months old, and The Highland County Press did yet not exist, so you can stop wracking your brain trying to remember my column of Democrat praise. I did not know how to write, let alone type, at that time.

It has been a long, dry spell broken this week – not once, but twice.

Reported by multiple news media this week but occurring in an interview on Colorado Public Radio on Dec. 10, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said, related to COVID-19, "Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated. Hopefully, it’s been at your pharmacy, your grocery store, a bus near you, [or at] big events. At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault.

“’Those who get sick, it’s almost entirely their own darn fault," he continued. "I don’t want to say that nobody [will get the virus if they’re] vaccinated, but it’s very rare. Just to put it in perspective, of the about 1,400 people hospitalized, less than 200 (or 16 percent) are vaccinated. And many of them are older or have other conditions. Eighty-four percent of the people in our hospitals are unvaccinated, and they absolutely had every chance to get vaccinated. And at this point, I think it’s almost like they made a deliberate decision not to get vaccinated. I still encourage everybody who hasn’t been vaccinated to get protected. And for those who are, make sure to get that booster after six months. The data shows it’s important and very likely even more so with this Omicron variant.

"The emergency is over," he said. "You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job. Public health [officials] would say to always wear a mask because it decreases flu and decreases [other airborne illnesses]. But that’s not something that you require; you don’t tell people what to wear. You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to [wear it]. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault.’”

Before I could recover from the shock of this extremely practical and reasoned declaration, along comes none other than President Biden with this one.

In a headline in Bloomberg on Dec. 13, “Biden aims to slash ‘time tax’ for Social Security, storm aid,” it is reported: “President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday that seeks to reduce bureaucratic hurdles for Americans seeking government benefits such as Social Security, student loan relief and disaster aid.

“The order – targeting 36 federal services across multiple agencies and department – also calls for passport renewals to be digitized and for the Internal Revenue Service to call back taxpayers instead of keeping them on hold.”

If there is anything I dread, it is calling some service I need and being put through endless phone menus and hold times. I’ll bet I waste 200 or 300 hours a year on this. Will the IRS really set the standard for improving this? We can only hope.

A final word for you readers who always think I am one-sided, I hope this column corrects the error of your perception. I will praise either side when they do something worth praising. Now, if someone would just outlaw self-service checkout lanes…

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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