World Pneumonia Day
World Pneumonia Day is Nov. 12, and it reminds us to take a moment to consider the benefits of vaccination for the entire community. Pneumonia is the number one killer of children worldwide, and yet one in five children still do not have access to these lifesaving measures.
We take time on Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the military, but we should also be trying to lighten their load by ensuring that their service overseas is as safe as possible. Healthy countries are stable countries, and ensuring that preventable disease does not continue to circle the globe is a matter of national security. Disease anywhere is a threat everywhere, so please vaccinate your family and reach out to Rep. Jared Golden to ask him to prioritize funding for global vaccine programs through the C DC, UNICEF, Gavi and USAID.
My grandfather, who was never able to serve because he was stricken by polio, would be amazed at the progress we’ve made in the battle against vaccine-preventable diseases. We risk millions of lives if we fail to fully fund these programs.
Maine’s primary rules
Open and closed primaries are something I learned about in high school. I never gave another thought to them until Election Day. After I voted, I was asked to sign a petition to get an individual on a future ballot. The person taking signatures asked what party I belonged to because only signatures from the same party would be validated. This really bothered me, and I remembered my high school lesson.
Only allowing individuals who belong to the same party to vote in primaries or sign petitions is not going to soften the divide between political parties. I once had this divide described to me as sports teams and individuals who are just cheering for their team to win. However, we need discourse and dialogue across political parties, politicians, and individuals to further our country and better the future.
I implore you to sit down and talk with someone of different beliefs than you, ask questions and just listen without rebuttal. Secondly, I implore you to write to your representatives and senators to change the primary rules in Maine in order to open up our representation options to allow constituents to vote for who they believe will be best for the job.
BDN naive about social media and free speech
After reading the BDN’s recent editorial regarding Facebook, it’s hard to know if you are dodging the issue of free speech on social media or if you are quietly coming down on the side of the Zuckerberg philosophy. In case of the later, I have some things to say.
I think you are seriously naive to believe that users of social media today can sort out the truth from the lies. In our world now, the torrent of information coming to us is simply overwhelming, simply because if its volume. Add to that the sophistication of those in our own partisan politics who would shade or completely disregard the truth. And then, bring in the foreign hackers from Russia, China, Iran and wherever, who are determined to foster their own agendas. We already have ample evidence of that happening in 2016. We read that these efforts are extraordinarily subtle and sometimes elusive, even to experts.
I am old enough to remember the “old days,” when we got information from a trusted newspaper with a long history. Even those with an avowed political slant would almost always keep that to the editorial pages, with the news reporting sacrosanct. Or sometimes it would be from a radio station we had long known. Sure, there were the extremists on the fringe stations, but everyone knew where they were and their orientation. We could easily stay away if we wished. Not so any more.
The internet and social media have changed everything. It’s simply a different world, and we must change the traditional beliefs and practices to continue to preserve our democracy.
In like manner, I am hopeful that you will reflect and change your position.