How does Santa define ‘good’?

Jerry Moore

WATERTOWN — Some individuals wiser than me have raised an interesting issue.

What would Republican elected officials in Northern New York say if several hundred people died in a natural disaster or a horrible accident? Would they reflect the grief of their constituents at such a loss? How would they respond knowing they could use their influence to try to spare people’s lives from a pending tragedy?

You’d like to believe they would show their support for those who’ve been adversely affected by something catastrophic. We hope they’d sympathize with the victims of an unfortunate incident.

State Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, has been a vital resource for the family of Peyton Morse, who died earlier this year while training to become a Watertown firefighter. Given her well-deserved reputation as an effective public servant, this is entirely appropriate. I have no doubt that Morse’s loved ones greatly appreciate having Ritchie as a committed ally in their quest for answers to why he died.

Therefore, this serves as an example of how elected officials should act when members of their communities experience a devastating loss. They can raise awareness of people’s concerns and unite their constituents in the cause of helping those who suffer.

But when it comes to one of the most monumental tragedies in the early 21st century, some GOP leaders don’t have much to say. They’ve been pretty quiet on a horrific plague that’s gripped the world in fear and thrown our society into chaos.

More than 800,000 Americans have died since the novel coronavirus pandemic began. Many of us are afraid of being exposed and becoming infected; it’s altered our lives to a great extent.

And it’s taken a turn for the worse in the north country. Infection rates have risen dramatically primarily among those who haven’t been vaccinated. Many hospitals have few beds left to deal with all the people who have developed COVID-19.

Yet as Emily Russell from North Country Public Radio pointed out in a story published Thursday, Republican leaders have said virtually nothing about the crisis. It’s frightening to consider that they prefer to wait on the sidelines and watch their constituents become sick and die rather than use their status to try to save lives.

“Hospitals around the north country are filling up with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. More people are getting sick and dying than ever before during the pandemic,” Russell wrote. “While health experts agree the best way to reverse this trend is by masking up and getting vaccinated, most of the north country’s top elected leaders have been largely quiet and unwilling to reinstate COVID rules. In all of November last year six people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Glens Falls. This November, Glens Falls Hospital admitted 186 COVID patients. This week, the hospital says 70% of its COVID patients are unvaccinated, as are 100% of its critically ill patients.

“Matt Simpson says he thinks people like him have a role to play in this moment. Simpson is a Republican state assemblyman representing Essex, Warren and parts of Saratoga and Washington counties,” the article reported. “Simpson’s colleague in the Assembly, Democrat Billy Jones, has repeatedly spoken up about the importance of getting vaccinated. The north country’s mostly Republican delegation, though, has been largely silent. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik didn’t respond to NCPR’s repeated requests for an interview, but on social media she’s largely framed vaccines and masking in a negative context, criticizing state and federal mandates. State Senators Dan Stec, Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo declined to be interviewed for this story. New York’s Republican congressional delegation says it’s New York’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, not COVID itself or mask mandates, that are the real issue right now. On Thursday, Stefanik signed a letter urging Gov. [Kathy] Hochul to revoke the vaccine mandate for health care workers and reinstate hospitals’ abilities to perform elective surgeries while they deal with COVID capacity issues.”

About the only time Stefanik empathizes with COVID-19 victims is when she can place the blame for their deaths on Democrats. She also has consistently opposed government mandates to control the pandemic.

So she’s obviously not very sincere. It’s primarily a political stunt to whip up her supporters and raise money.

Keeping people healthy shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The resources are there to gain control of the spread of the virus and reduce the number of individuals getting ill and dying.

I have to believe that Republicans would want to be out front persuading their supporters to become immunized. But as I said a few weeks ago, coronavirus denial is rampant among the party faithful — Donald Trump is their champion in this bizarre campaign. So GOP leaders don’t want to rock the boat by speaking the truth about how people can protect themselves.

How shameful! Many Republican elected officials are more willing to watch COVID-19 wreak havoc in their districts than risk their popularity by urging people to take effective measures.

They could use their influence to reverse the damage this pandemic has caused. But keeping their polls numbers high is more important, so they decide to sit this one out. Does this actually Make America Great Again?

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to They also may follow him on Twitter: @WDT_OpEd.

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(9) comments


Both parties tend to take an opposite position just to take an opposite position. That way you don't put a demographic to waste. In this case, the Democrats were for following the science and inconveniencing individuals for the common good, so naturally it fell to the Republicans to tout myth and sacrificing the common good for individual convenience.


Not all of the weak and rotten Republican lawmakers are silent. There is vocal, albeit weak and rotten, Ken Blankenbush R-Black River. He regularly submits his ignorant pandemic opinions in the form of Letters to the Times. The Times dutifully publishes them. STOP! Stop acting as a conduit for spreading Blankenbush-ignorance.


The weak and rotten Republican lawmakers will not correct, inform, refine, enlarge, or enlighten the public views. In this environment, COVID denial flourishes, conspiracy theories spin, fear is rampant, and cases soar. When politicians willfully neglect science, alarming public health statistics, misinformation, and lies, and fail to act because acting goes against their political ideology and threatens their careers and party, they should be held accountable for negligence, misconduct, and reckless indifference to human life.

There is nothing more outrageous and evil than leaders who won't tell pandemic truths.

Joseph Savoca

While this pandemic continues, despite Jordan trying to say that real America is over the pandemic...

look at these two maps: the 2020 election map and CNN's current vaccination map, which includes state-level data.

They're very similar. Blue states that voted for President Joe Biden are generally more than 60% vaccinated. Red states that went for former President Donald Trump are generally under that average.

The pandemic is now undeniably affecting the less-vaccinated parts of the country more than the vaccinated portions.

Since vaccines have become widely available, the average risk of dying from Covid-19 is more than 50% higher in states that voted for President Trump in 2020 than it is in states that voted for President Biden, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

hermit thrush

the fish rots from the head. we now know that donald trump caught covid before the first presidential debate last fall, spread it to his debate prep team (including chris christie, who subsequently almost died from it), and then lied about his covid status while on the debate stage with joe biden. an almost unbelievably reckless and dishonest set of actions to have taken, and sadly that kind of attitude filters down through the entire party.

people who haven't been brainwashed into the republican base have to understand how rotten the whole party/cult is.


More like where’s Hiding Biden? He said he had a plan..


An attempt to gaslight the GOP when NYS is in control by the democrats, single party rule. I see Trump is living rent free in your head. I thought Biden had a plan? What happened with that? No editorial on that though.come on man


Yet another awful article by Jerry. WDT ought to be ashamed


Jerry, 140 in jefferson county have died from covid in 21 months. An average of less than 7 per month. How many have died of cancer, heart disease, overdose etc???

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