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Wednesday, February 26, 2020: Clear the waitlists, ‘Big Pharma’ is not the issue in Question 1, the way life used to be

Clear the waitlists

A life-changing bill is before Maine’s Legislature: L.D. 1984, An Act to Eliminate the Waiting Lists for Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Other Related Conditions and Brain Injury.

I believe people are interconnected, and that when we understand the needs of others, we are moved to act with caring and compassion. Some parents of adults with disabilities thought that sharing personal, true stories would help legislators understand the struggles involved when a beloved family member waits for months, or years, to receive support services. Rather than connect actual names and faces to intimate life stories when making personal information public, we chose to use photographs of people’s boots, with their real nicknames.

Last week, each of Maine’s 186 legislators received a card with a photo of someone’s boots, inviting them to “please take a moment to walk in our boots,” followed by that person’s story of waiting for help in Maine.

We Mainers all wear boots. May our legislators walk in our boots for a moment, and see what it’s like when someone you love who needs help — through no fault of their own — has their life put on hold, or goes into a deep depression or a crisis, because they don’t have the support they need to thrive in their community.

Readers, we invite you to walk in our boots by visiting our public Facebook page, Clear the Waitlists in Maine, to view our boots project. While the Department of Health and Human Services works to address long-standing issues, people still need help.

Janet Hamel

Orono

‘Big Pharma’ is not the issue in Question 1

I’m disappointed that the well-meaning “vote yes on 1” folks made “ Reject Big Pharma” their main argument. I don’t think that vetoing the new state law already passed to protect all Maine children from unvaccinated schoolmates will reduce the power of the pharmaceutical industry even a little bit.

I also resent the implication that “Big Pharma” is somehow influencing my vote on Question 1. I did my homework and what I found was an anti-vaccination movement largely built on misunderstandings about medical science and the relationship of personal freedom and community. Please check it out yourself and you too may vote no on 1 to keep our schools safe.

Let’s also try to figure out why the prescription drug pricing reform supposedly supported by the president and both major political parties has still not become federal law. That’s how to put a real check on the monopoly powers of the pharmaceutical industry, and it deserves a lot of citizen discussion before November.

Ben Ellison

Camden

The way life used to be

I woke up recently after dreaming of a person carrying another one on his back, saying “He isn’t a burden, he’s my brother.” It reminds me of the military.

We hear on the local media that Mainers help one another. It seems we have extended this now to doctor-assisted suicide. The older generation I knew would turn over in their graves, especially believers in Jesus Christ and the sanctity of human life.

Once, a doctor in California who was originally from Canada and enjoyed dealing with elderly patients, told me that no old person wants to die — except when no one cares for them. I saw an advocate for life speak on TV recently about two reasons people wish to die prematurely: being a burden on others and the loss of value as a contributor.

Loneliness is the reason for many of these sentiments. Let’s look around more often and offer more of ourselves to such persons in our environment, and to not consider others as a burden but a valuable human being made in God’s image. If we offer a kind word, it will go a long way.

From a concerned senior and a registered nurse. Let us “Dirigo” in the best way.

Noreen Liebmann

Belfast

Please vote no on Question 1

There’s an old saying: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” The facts are clear — vaccinations are safe, effective and protect our most vulnerable Mainers. We must come together and vote no on Question 1 on March 3.

As you read this letter, Maine’s community immunity is below the safe thresholds for disease outbreaks. We don’t need to live like this.

Voting no on 1 on March 3 is about showing up for our neighbors, protecting children, pregnant women and adults with complex medical conditions. It’s also an opportunity for Maine to be a thought leader in science and reason. Let that combination of decency be our legacy. Please vote no on Question 1 on March 3.

Aaron Bergeron

Portland

Too much at stake

Recently, Jon Meacham, presidential scholar and author, said that this democracy is extraordinarily fragile and depends on the good character of the persons who enforce it. I think he was talking about yet another interference of President Donald Trump in the Department of Justice, among other recent transgressions.

We have now seen “the character” of the senators who refused to take a stand against the dismantling of our democracy and the shredding of our laws and our Constitution. Sadly, our own Sen. Susan Collins was a party to these deeds — past, present and ongoing — by her vote not to impeach and remove Trump. His desire for retribution against people who don’t agree with him is obvious every day. Soon, our government will be awash in the swamp that is Trump world, and unrecognizable — possibly irretrievable — to those of us who would restore integrity, the rule of law and reverence for our democracy and our Constitution.

We have too much at stake not to fight for those ideals with everything that we have, and that means the commitment of each of us to vote and to help elect leaders with integrity who value our democracy above loyalty to any single person. Our very survival seems to depend on it now as I don’t think we can take another four years of this madness! Please do all you can to vote Collins and Trump out of office in November.

Jane Millett

Brunswick

 


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