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America the beautiful

Growing up reciting the pledge of allegiance every day at school, praying for a moment

and singing “God Bless America,” I always had a sense of deep-rooted pride in our country.

Instead of strengthening the ties that bind us, we loosen them and weaken them. Without a strong structure, a house or country falls apart with neglect and apathy. America is not beautiful now, becoming morally bankrupt and is falling apart socially.

We are not family, friends or neighbors any longer — we are political enemies, labeled and

divided in every city and rural town in the divided states of America. There is little structure,

not much love or unity to help bind us. It seems that no national pride, no godliness or even spiritual reverence are allowed in our lexicon. I believe we have allowed the media to overtly influence us, who we relate to and to despicably subvert our values. Bots, robots, paid trolls or advertisers who push hate, misinformation and conspiracy should not be allowed to continue to prey. The same for hosts who allow it.

We need to know the truth, respect all life and value the rule of law. Rules, regulations or guidelines are laws that need to be respected. Those who rebel, in my mind, are too rude or do not care enough about sensible laws and need to be fined, shunned or jailed.

If we love our country, if we appreciate our lives and the pursuit of happiness, we can support

political representatives who do not divide us but help to unite us so we can stay indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! We can be “America the Beautiful” again, reignite hope for all who work hard and reverse corporate rule, as it is not democracy!

Dennis St. Jean

Chelsea

What about city rights?

The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection confirmed it has deployed officers from three paramilitary-style units to Portland, Oregon. Federal officers are arresting, gassing and taking people away in unmarked cars. The governor and mayor have not invited them and have tried to get the courts to force them to leave.

President Donald Trump insists federal officers have done a “great job” and will soon go to other cities, including Chicago, Illinois.

Until invited, when does a city have the right to manage internal affairs without federal interference?

Did we vote for Trump’s police policies in the last election? What happened to opportunities of work, education to prepare for better jobs, a paycheck to cover our expenses, our children healthier with affordable care and a hopeful future?

Carole Beal

Blue Hill

A plea to Gov. Janet Mills

I keep a very close eye on the numbers of COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy. Based on what I’ve seen, as far as the pandemic goes, Maine is blessed to be in better shape than any other state, except possibly Hawaii.

I have also studied the school reopening plans and recommendations from Maine, Ohio and Florida, because I have friends and family teaching in these states. None of the states I have studied has a fully developed plan, not even Maine.

Reopening plans (including the latest CDC guidelines) consist of recommendations, lists of excellent advice and exhortations of the value of in-person learning. These are fine as far as they go, but that’s not nearly far enough. Schools need detailed plans and procedures; the number of times I’ve seen the re-opening “plan” instruct local officials to “plan” for things, worries me. When your plan tells people to make a plan — it’s no plan at all.

Just leaving it up to local school boards to figure out how to accomplish necessary tasks, with little or no detailed support and little or no clue how things are to be paid for, earns a failing grade. As ready as Maine is regarding current infection levels in our state, I believe we are equally un-ready to open schools safely, without inviting the disaster that could transform the pure, almost-untouched public health of Maine into the next ravaged Florida, Texas, or Arizona.

Let’s especially not put the burden of that failure on the shoulders of our children.

Grant Foster

Orono