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EDITORIAL: Colorado’s bipartisan battle to save our lives

The Gazette
April 9, 2020

By The Gazette Editorial Board

Sen. Cory Gardner and Gov. Jared Polis are working together and saving lives without regard for pre-pandemic political differences. It’s just another of countless positive byproducts of a virus that wants to kill us. When we work together, we have few limits.

Among complications this week were 500 ventilators Colorado was about to buy. Before they were sent, the Federal Emergency Management Administration snapped them up as part of the federal government’s effort to get medical equipment where authorities decide it is most in demand.

Polis rightly expressed frustration with the loss of his state’s pending purchase, so Gardner took action.

Gardner told President Donald Trump how Colorado desperately needs more ventilators, as the state is on the verge of a surge in outbreaks. As of Wednesday, our state had 1,154 active coronavirus hospitalizations, up 75 from Tuesday. Wednesday added 11 deaths for a total of 190. In total, as of Wednesday, the state had confirmed 5,429 COVID-19 cases. All indications tell us it will get worse before it gets better.

Gardner persuaded the president to restore one-fifth of Colorado’s anticipated ventilator purchase, which is 100 more ventilators than we had before his call.

“We will be immediately sending 100 Ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

We have no doubt Gardner will continue fighting for ventilators, just as he has used international relationships to obtain millions of masks and other personal protection equipment for medical professionals.

Whether one supports or despises President Trump, he gets to make decisions about the distribution of ventilators and other equipment states compete for in the country’s battle against COVID-19. Gardner has known since 2016 the value of developing a working relationship with the person who controls the executive branch of government.

Just as Gardner fights for Colorado, so does Polis. The governor knows the value of working with Gardner to help Colorado. Each man has pull with leaders in separate parties. The two are combining this clout to get results. They are two men of competing political persuasions fighting for the same constituency. Gardner applauds the leadership of Polis, and Polis refuses to politicize anything in his war against COVID-19.

Asked Wednesday whether the president’s ventilator announcement had political overtones, Polis declined to take the bait.

“You’re not going to get my read on it because I’m not here to do political analysis,” Polis said. “I’m here to celebrate any ventilators that arrive in our state.”

Imagine if we had this type of bipartisan cooperation during ordinary times. Visualize politicians carrying this spirit of selfless public service into the post-pandemic world. Oh, the things they could accomplish for the common good.

The pandemic has brought out the good and bad in humanity, and it is clear the good outweighs the bad. A viral meme on the internet, sometimes wrongly attributed but strong in its message, tells us how good will conquer evil when people come together.

Satan: “I will cause anxiety, fear, and panic. I will shut down businesses, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil.”

Jesus: “I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources.”

We cannot undo the damage this virus has wrought. We cannot reverse the tragic loss of life and associated suffering. We cannot turn back time. We can decide to move forward holding onto the best of what we learn in a nonpartisan, all-hands-on-deck fight against a common enemy that kills without ideological preference or prejudice.

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