Well, my fellow Americans, freedom may ring for those that refuse to get the COVID vaccine or forgo the masks that protect others but at what cost? Freedom is sacred and I thank God for living in America where there is so much freedom, but sometimes common sense and integrity must be considered as well. Shouldn’t the well-being of others be respected above our own set of values in times of crisis? When is it OK to put others at risk because of our beliefs? Do we wait until one of our loved ones dies or comes close to death before we realize that it was a mistake to be selfish? Shouldn’t all of us ask ourselves these difficult decisions before it’s too late?

We are dealing with a health crisis that most have us have never seen and, therefore, don’t understand. We don’t know who to trust anymore because there are so many opinions, so many news outlets and we have access to the internet, which is another danger in of itself. Which source do we believe? It’s led us to an impossible situation and many don’t know which way to turn. Do we trust the scientists, the R or D next to a name, a religious affiliation, a news outlet or the internet? Where do we turn for advice? Is anyone better than the other? Each of us has our own take on these questions but when is it best to just have common sense and do what is right for all mankind –whether or not they have the same color skin or whether or not they have the same belief system as ourselves? Why wait until it’s at our own back door? All lives matter, don’t they?

We can still have our own beliefs, honor our freedom, but still be compassionate enough to care about others’ welfare. Isn’t that what this pandemic has come down to? Perhaps all of us must dig down deep in our souls and come up with a solution we can sleep with. It shouldn’t matter who we voted for any more than what church we attend or chose not to attend or the color of our skin. But because of our beloved freedom, we do have the right to choose to either care or not to care about each and every person whether it is our neighbor, parent, sibling, child, grandchild or any other loved one in our lives.

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So, Mr. Hennen, I choose to care about others. If that means showing a card with a vaccine on it to make sure everyone is safe, so be it. The world won’t come to an end because of it. Society can’t take away anything unless we allow it. But that doesn’t mean we have to compromise our integrity or freedom. Good luck sleeping at night. With the morals you are spewing, you’ll need it.

Janet Ouradnik lives in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.