Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

We can’t waste another moment

For more than 30 years, I advocated for children and families in the state of Maine — the majority of those years was to bring a voice to their plight and help the Maine Legislature and Congress understand how policy decisions affected children. While visiting the homes of hundreds of Maine families, generally in distress, I witnessed first hand the reality of rural poverty, seeing hungry and abused children victimized by substance abuse, violence and a lack of basic necessities.

While much has changed in the past 30 years, much has stayed the same. Some things, like the environment, opioids and the gap between rich and poor families have worsened.

I am voting for Joe Biden because I believe that our children and grandchildren’s future depend on it. Whether it is saving our environment, being guaranteed health care and affordable housing or just simply allowing all of our children to live their lives to their fullest ability — we cannot afford to waste another moment.

Please join me in voting for Joe Biden. People should vote early and make their vote count!

Elinor Goldberg

Hope

A little less Washington

Why is Maine so attractive to born-elsewhere politicians? It’s not as if we can’t grow our own.

Sen. Angus King hails from Virginia and went to law school there. Early in this current election cycle former Obama administration official Susan Rice, born and raised in Washington, D. C., put up a trial balloon about running for our U.S. Senate seat. When that balloon plummeted, the Democrats focused on Rhode Island-born Sara Gideon. House Speaker Gideon’s service to Maine includes leading a Legislature that has been out of session for months during the COVID-19 pandemic, abandoning the state to the devices of Gov. Janet Mills.

It is nice when our elected officials feel their primary responsibility is to the welfare of Maine, rather than merely using Maine as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. In Sen. Susan Collins, we have a homegrown public servant of world-class stature with a four-term track record of integrity, honesty, and dedicated service to her constituency and a from-the-cradle understanding of Maine and its people.

Of late she has come under fire for her principled vote to confirm Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh. This was not a vote for or against any particular political philosophy, but rather recognition of his undeniably superlative, impeccable credentials. She could not fairly buy into the outrageous tactics of the extreme, partisan, militant, doctrinaire Democrat left whose case against candidate Kavanaugh was a disgrace, which I believe was without substance or merit.

Washington could do with a bit more Maine, and Maine with a little less Washington.

David G. Reed

West Rockport

This breaks my heart

I recently had one of the saddest days of my 80 years of life. I had just completed an absentee ballot form, put it in the envelope provided, and was about to walk it to the Post Office, when I realized to my horrendous disappointment that I do not trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the ballot to its proper addressee. Not because they are incompetent, but because I don’t think they are trustworthy.

Thinking about that, I realized that today, I feel that way not just about the USPS, but about the U.S. government in its entirety. I no longer trust the U.S. government.

I say “no longer” precisely because this is a huge change for me. I served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, hunting and tracking Soviet submarines. I also served as a civilian in several countries in the U.S. Department of State. I used to come to tears when I heard the “Star Spangled Banner.” When at sea, hearing the American flag crackle in the wind gave me chills.

A few years ago, Republican members of the Senate insisted that a Supreme Court justice may not be confirmed in an election year. Today, many of the same Republican senators insist that a Supreme Court justice must be confirmed in an election year.

The past three and a half years have witnessed that kind of hypocrisy over and over again.

It breaks my heart.

Stefan Nadzo

Orono

Being there for each other

This pandemic has been hard on everyone. Do people know just how hard it’s been on the teens or young adults in their life? Do they ask them how they’re doing? Do they know how to “read” them? Those questions themselves are a challenge.

Here’s an easier question: Do they have a firearm in the house? Do their relatives? Are firearms available anywhere the teen might be alone, where they might suddenly find themselves in a dark place?

The BDN reports that “nothing has paralleled the uptick [in gun sales] … seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Studies of the effects of the pandemic on our collective mental health are underway, and professionals are concerned that the high rates of suicidal ideation among youth will be shown to be on the rise. Suicidal inclinations often pass. Suicide by gun, sadly, is incredibly lethal and effective, and does not usually afford a person a second chance.

People should please consider removing any firearms within the reach of anyone they suspect may be suffering from the various deprivations of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is projected to be worse in the fall. At the very least, they should please make sure their guns are safely locked and stored, and that ammunition is kept in a separate, safe place. And for the young people in people’s lives: talk to them, help them discover safe ways to be active and social, listen to them, encourage them to persevere and reassure them that these are difficult times for everyone. People can also find effective youth counseling available online.

Knowing people are there for them matters.

Lorry Fleming

Bath