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I’m not alone
National Mental Health Awareness month: Another one has rolled around. I am sure after over a year of COVID-19, many of us are wondering if we are becoming mentally ill. For those of us who already suffer from some form of mental illness (diagnosed or not) it’s probably been much worse.
My medically diagnosed illness was bipolar. As I got older, I was hit with deep depression for days or weeks. The “highs” went away. Sunday, I took a break while I was camping and checked in with myself. For the last two weeks, including that day, I feel like the luckiest 74-year-old in the world. Everything is as it should be. I’m truly feeling alive and don’t want it to end. But sadly, in the back of my brain, it knew otherwise. I could wake up tomorrow morning, wishing I had not woken up at all. It just hits me. That feeling might last for days or weeks.
The last few years, thankfully it only lasts about three to five days. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want anyone to know. How does one explain the mental pain that is taking place right then? I don’t want anyone to see me this way. I don’t want to answer the phone. My voice is always a dead giveaway.
So what keeps me going, one might ask? I will “wake up” one day feeling great and wonder “what was that all about?” There are many like me.
Oppose industrial aquaculture
I lobster out of Lamoine and Frenchman Bay is one of my greatest fishing areas. I don’t understand how we have gotten to the point in Maine where we would want large scale industrial aquaculture in rich fishing grounds. But here we are entertaining 30 pens containing salmon to be raised in the ocean.
This is about the scale of aquaculture and the type of aquaculture that is being proposed. I am dead set against this project and any large-scale aquaculture projects in Maine. I have been talking with Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation and understand they support small aquaculturists, lobstermen and all those with a vested interest in the coast. They are also working hard to protect the ocean from industrial-scale aquaculture.
Why does the state seem to be so eager to sell our oceans? That’s what the state would be doing by granting all these aquaculture leases giving exclusive rights to some at the expense of others.
Democracy and inequality
I’m glad President Joe Biden mentioned in his address to the country last month that some of the wealthiest people in the country actually became wealthier during the pandemic. I just wish he would have been clearer about why that matters.
Money has the potential to corrupt our democracy. Those with more of it have a larger voice in a political system that’s already drenched in money. Democracy doesn’t thrive when money is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people who wield outsized influence, which is the situation we face today.
The current levels of inequality foster cynicism and mistrust, as it feels like the “deck is stacked against” the average American. That cynicism keeps people from participating in their democracy. That’s how democracies die.
A quote attributed to the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis makes clear the danger: “We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
Mary Ann Larson