Reject this new normal for students
Signs indicate the worst of the virus is behind us, the data from across the state, country and the globe is in. The virus primarily strikes down elderly people with comorbidities in care facilities, while the death rate for children is near zero.
Here in Maine, with our low mortality rate, there is no scientifically based reason I see for kids not to return to school right now, in the summer and certainly in the fall, as normal, rather than stay locked-up all day with their elder family members.
Yet, with their recently released guidelines for reopening schools, the CDC goes on acting as though the unrealized early models of millions dead in the U.S. are an ongoing reality. We’ll go on playing pretend with them to the detriment of our children and society. Like a bag of hammers looking for a nail, the unelected bureaucrats at the CDC bang on, seemingly intent on waging an indefinite fear campaign on our students.
Some of the rules are common sense like washing your hands often and staying home if sick. Others will turn schools into dreary prisons: regular temperature checks, all staff and children over two years of age wearing face masks all day long, staying six feet apart at all times in classrooms, hallways and on buses, and more. No proms, no dances, no graduation ceremonies ever again? No telling how sports will be played.
It’s a joyless and insane new vision of public education. Please see it yourself. As a former school board member in Portland, I know all about groupthink. Once made, such rules can be hard to undo.
Call your local electeds right now and get involved to reject this new normal for our kids.
A message to visitors
Our good governor has, according to news outlets, given a message to potential visitors with the purpose of preserving public health while opening the tourist season: if you come from out of Maine, self-quarantine for two weeks before you enjoy your vacation. Unfortunately, that broad dictum invites ignoring her, or worse yet, the message of you are not welcome here.
Rather, Gov. Janet Mills ought to give a more fine-tuned set of guidelines to tourists, to be better for our health data, our visitors health and our economy. Yes, we are a welcoming state, but we should suggest that if someone comes during the virus crisis, they should avoid all chances of congregating, including using beaches and going to eat-in restaurants. We hope that they will enjoy the beauty of Maine’s regions, but we should ask that they tour our great vistas only by car, and practice social distancing when viewing scenes, always using masks. Once they have been here for two weeks, they should feel free to go where they want, but be aware that the virus is an invisible enemy even here.
Some summer visitors may come for long periods, but others may only have a week or a few days to come to Maine. For the good of our health, for the good of our economy, for their own good, I hope they will come, but will observe some guidelines.
Something else to consider
I’ve never watched Fox News, but I heard they habitually bad-mouth holier-and-smarter-than-thou liberal supremacists, among others.
As a recently-recovered liberal supremacist myself — since liberalism started veering sharply left again, like the America-bashing agitation and propaganda I encountered as a naively-patriotic college student in the late ’60s — I have to say that I hate the divisive race-baiting that’s coming from both ends of the political spectrum these days.
What prompted me to write this letter was when an NPR host of a recent All Things Considered asked a black man if he thought “political leaders are thinking about the African American community when they make these decisions to re-open” after COVID-19 lockdowns. If that kind of question was a one-off, it would be one thing; but NPR hosts have been asking an increasing number of leading and racially-inflammatory questions since Donald Trump (who, like white people in general, also gets a regular NPR bashing) was elected.
If you keep telling people they’ve been cheated, they eventually start to believe it — whether they’re immigrants who get brain-washed into blaming the poverty they came here with on our government or “white supremacists” who blame immigrants and globalists for taking their good-paying, no-degree-necessary jobs.
In the coming era of downward mobility, continuing to stoke racial anger would not only be counter-productive (and immoral), it could pose an existential threat to our currently-peaceful democracy. Those now sowing the wind — like the Russian Bolsheviks did — may have us all reaping the whirlwind.