Voting without risking our health
We live in a time when a virus can, without notice, alter most of everything we take for granted. For instance, our ability to vote, which generally takes place in the presence of many people, can now pose a health danger. I am a person of some years who has never missed the opportunity to vote, which is the right of every citizen of this country. I would not like to miss this opportunity in 2020 because of a fear of contracting a virus.
We have allowed early voting by mail for years. Why not allow this reasonable method to accomplish safe voting to be available to all citizens? And yes voting in person is an avenue that should continue to remain open to all.
One objection to voting via mail that has been posed by the Trump administration is voter fraud. There have been numerous far-reaching investigations over the past 10 years, including one completed after the last presidential election, that have carefully examined voter fraud. This research found minuscule evidence of fraud, either through in-person or mail-in voting.
Voting does cost money, which is allocated by our government. We, the citizens of this country, support our government through our taxes, and we need our government to support our right to elect our representatives without risk to our health.
My plan for reopening
Excessive, lengthy closures are having a devastating effect. Increased unemployment leads to poverty, hunger, domestic violence and substance abuse. We must safely open Penobscot and Androscoggin counties. I trust our business leaders to protect their customers and their workers.
We must also be respectful of others. If a business does not wish to be open, that is the business’ choice. If a person does not feel comfortable going out, especially if they are part of a more vulnerable population, then that person should stay home.
With careful management, it is possible to steer the state out of this crisis while minimizing damage and not raising income or sales taxes on hard-hit Mainers.
The state must first ensure it can care for the people directly affected by the emergency, especially those who have lost their job or are in a nursing home or need care. Then the state must stabilize the budget.
Going forward, Maine must capitalize on new opportunities, like telecommuting and online learning, to attract new business and people to get the economy moving. For example, Maine would be an excellent place to manufacture pharmaceuticals and the personal protective equipment (PPE) now manufactured in China. Lowering the income tax once the budget is stable would give our state a competitive edge.
Paul R. LePage
Former governor of Maine
Acceptance, courage and wisdom
The teaming frustrations aired by protesters demanding removal of restrictions to our daily lives due to the highly contagious COVID-19 virus are frightening. Why would one even consider endangering my life and yours by not following simple directions from our elected officials to promote safety?
Sure, Piscataquis County has only one recorded case of the virus. But there may be others who just have not registered their illness or who have not been symptomatic — to date — who may very well spread this viral contagion. The loss of business and livelihood is significant and must be addressed. But the idea that scores of new victims are developing because of financial and career stress and uncertainty is unclear to me.
President Donald Trump warns of serious increases in substance abuse and suicide with current economic turmoil. As a retired mental health and substance abuse clinician, I doubt this. When stress is universally shared with the entire globe, self blame and despair is not the same. Issues that negatively affect one in financial trouble can be remedied if we press for more federal assistance.
Risking serious complications and deaths by not cooperating with epidemiologists’ prescriptions for safer living, we are endangering the planet yet again.
To quote Reinhold Niebuhr, in a prayer adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Licensed clinical social worker
In a story about alleged police surveillance, the BDN reports former Gov. Paul LePage saying he does not recall being made aware of the alleged activities. What does that mean? Does he mean he may have been “made aware” of the alleged activities, but if so, he does not recall it, and neither does he recall whether he approved of them, or disapproved of them?
It sounds a little like President Donald Trump’s “ I take no responsibility at all,” or even Capt. Edward Smith of the Titanic, after having been duly warned of icebergs, pleading to St. Peter at the gate, “I do not recall being duly warned of icebergs.”