A bid for caring about the earth
By no means would I consider the global pandemic a welcomed awakening. However, it is a necessary awakening. There are no words to truly explain and describe the pain, sadness, fear, exhaustion, panic, isolation and death that is a part of this. Currently, we are in survival mode, hoping the supply chain doesn’t break down, that we have access to necessary health care and prescriptions, that the economic crumble doesn’t leave us homeless and hungry, and that we can come together instead of fighting each other. Mostly, we are carrying the stress and worry of an enormous threat to humanity.
While searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, possible silver linings, gifts within the loss, things for which to be grateful, numerous things come to mind. Time with others feels more precious. Teamwork and human connection are a priority for many as we cling to our support systems. What we used to complain about seem like welcomed tasks and challenges. Most stunning is the unveiling of an earth burdened by the nearly impossible role of supporting human life.
Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and New York Times best-selling author, speaks about being vulnerable, jumping into the arena with courage and fighting for our voice. Let’s do this for our planet. We can no longer take this home of ours for granted, and we must strive to reach for a new normal that keeps the foundation of life at the top of the list, Earth.
Let’s listen to this bid for caring. We may not be given another chance.
Anne C. Small
Collins’ empty rhetoric
Transparency and accountability are vital to our democracy, especially as trillions of dollars are being spent as part of the fight against COVID-19. It is essential that our money is spent for the right purposes — these are our tax dollars, and we will be paying off the accumulated debt for many years to come.
Since April, President Trump has ousted multiple inspector generals. He removed Glenn Fine from his role as the leader of the oversight panel for pandemic relief, and on May 15, announced that he would remove Steve Linnick as inspector general for the State Department. Transparency and accountability are being systematically undermined and Sen. Susan Collins has failed to make a serious effort to hold the president responsible.
Despite being a coauthor of 2008 legislation that prohibits the firing of inspector generals by the president without a valid reason, I believe Collins fails to demand meaningful accountability for these firings, or to join with others including Sen. Mitt Romney to strongly condemn the actions.
I believe her legacy will be a record of empty rhetoric followed by a failure to make a difference when she can through her votes as our senator. We need a senator that will stand up for accountability in government and not just wring her hands.
Create a Maine COVID-19 service corps
This month, students from the class of 2020 will graduate from colleges across Maine and enter a world where our nation struggles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and our country experiences what is turning into the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression.
A new generation of Mainers is ready to serve during a time of crisis. The state of Maine must create a COVID-19 service corps to help solve the issues we currently face.
COVID-19 will be with us until we have a vaccine. According to estimates, we will need as many as 300,000 people conducting tracers nationwide in order to re-open the economy and save lives. We need to have a task force at hand that can help fill this gap in tracing, along with providing widespread assistance to Mainers in need.
This corps could employ recent graduates, unemployed professionals and anyone willing to work together to protect Mainers and alleviate the economic strain of the pandemic. They could conduct contact tracing, assist aging Mainers, tutor younger Mainers, deliver food and supplies and more. And, for those fearful of state spending, the beauty of expanding service opportunities is that they pay for themselves, as seen in a recent study cited by Brookings.
I call for a Maine COVID-19 service corps, not as an idealist, but as a pragmatist responding to the current reality we face. This opportunity needs to be explored by the Economic Recovery Committee, the Maine Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills.