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Bigoted or ignorant?

To the editor:

You reported that Elise Stefanik supports calling the COVID-19 virus “Chinese virus,” that “Stefanik said this is similar to talking about Spanish flu … which refer(s) to the region … with which the disease is associated.” Is Ms. Stefanik a bigot, or just ignorant? Does she know why the 1918 pandemic is referred to as the “Spanish” flu?

The “Spanish flu” did not originate in Spain. Two theories have been posited. One is that it originated in Etaples, France; the other that it originated in Kansas, United States of America. No historian or researcher has suggested that the 1918 flu originated in Spain. It appears that Elise does not know how the “Spanish” flu got its name. In 1918, during World War I, the press in the United States (and in much of Europe) was being censored. They were not allowed to report on the epidemic. But the press in Spain (a neutral country) was not being censored, so most of the reportage came from Spain — and people assumed that was where the actual disease came from.

Using Elise’s logic, the Spanish flu should be more appropriately called the “French flu” or the “Kansas flu” or the “United States of America flu.”

But that is not the point! The question is: Is it appropriate for our leaders to call COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” when doing so needlessly insults and possibly harms American citizens? Is it appropriate?

Elise, what do you think you gain? You say “We need to … push back on (that) propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party.” You sound like a child in an elementary schoolyard fight: “Those Chinese Leaders are being naughty. … We’ll show them. We’ll embarrass them by calling it a Chinese virus.” Do you really think that your verbal taunts are going to have an effect on world leaders? Elise — most of our world’s leaders are adults. Or is it just that you want to sow divisiveness in the United States because you think that will help you win your next election?

If you really believe what you say, some people might suggest that you know about as much about world politics and you know about world history.

But forgetting all of that, is it appropriate, is it right or wrong, for a leader of all of the people in our district, some of whom are American citizens of Asian extraction, to support the use of the words that you say you support?

Jim Edmonds

Lake Clear

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