Moving past a botched beginning

The coronavirus is continuing to spread in Maine, and Gov. Janet Mills and Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine Center for Disease Control are pleading for more help from the federal government. Dr. Shah has repeatedly called for more personal protection equipment (PPE), even saying that current supplies amount to an umbrella in the midst of a hurricane.

As a physician, I am horrified that our medical teams, and their families, have not been fully protected. Now that the national supply of PPE has run out, we are in a bidding war with other states that the federal government should be organizing with a consistent strategy.

Sen. Susan Collins defended President Donald Trump in an interview with the Bangor Daily News saying he “did a lot that was right in the beginning.” How can that be true? Trump spent weeks downplaying the coronavirus and failing to prepare.

The first moments of a medical emergency are the most important to respond to quickly. If not, the outcomes worsen and the rest is catch-up.

Trump continues to contradict public health experts and berate reporters who ask him reasonable questions about the response. He has undeniably made this crisis worse with his confusing responses using denial and premature medical proclamations as strategies.

The beginning of this pandemic was botched. Let us acknowledge that, even if Collins does not, and move forward with our state responses as best as we can. Most fortunately, we have teams we can trust to be smart, flexible and collaborative in these difficult times. We are all in this together, so let’s figure it out.

Rep. Patricia Hymanson


Not all in this together

The politicians tell us; the news readers and pundits tell us; celebrities tell us; religious leaders tell us; public service announcements crowded in between television commercials tell us: “We’re all in this together.”

We hear this simple message dozens of times a day. But it just isn’t true. All sorts of people are not in this with us.

Consider the Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature, who forced their fellow citizens to choose between fulfilling their civic duty to vote in a presidential primary election and staying safely home, as urged by health and responsible political leaders.

Consider the pastors who have urged their church members to gather together for the usual Sunday services, despite stay-home directives from the authorities. And consider the authorities who bowed to pressure to exempt religious congregations from these directives.

From my perspective, these people said, in effect, “Unlike the rest of the population, you may gather, exchange viruses, and then go forth to endanger everyone else.”

Those of us who are among everyone else may well wonder what it is that sets these groups apart.

Consider, too, those commentators in various media who thrive by promoting views that are not simply contrarian, but dangerously wrong. Or the hucksters who find ways to extract money from the gullible with useless devices and nostrums that do not protect us from or cure the disease.

And, of course, we can safely assume that at least the usual amount of corruption infests the sudden influx of great quantities of new money into the economy. We will probably never know more than the tip of this iceberg.

So no, a disturbing number of us are not together with anyone but themselves.

Robert McHenry


Together we can win

It’s bad enough that we are fighting an unseen enemy. It’s also difficult for us to endure isolation and restrictions on our interaction with families and friends. The media is basically our only method of getting important information on the progress of the virus.

But, when we are constantly bombarded with individual estimates of some “experts’” gigantic numbers of deaths and time frames, many will fear the worst. What we really need, right now, is the information so we can draw our own opinion on what is to come.

When I turn on my TV, I see one governor drawing major time and exposure to the needs of his state, and asking for special treatment. There are 49 other states that need special treatment also.

Minorities are also asking for special treatment because they feel they are unfairly affected by the virus. All races are being affected, all states are getting hit by the virus!

The media could be our best friend and report the actual news, or continue to show gloom and doom, as they are doing now, and scare the heck out of everyone! In my opinion, FOX seems to be the more “as it is happening” newscaster.

Yes, we are in difficult times. Yes, we need to be sensible in our interaction with others. With common sense and open minds we can beat this devil and hopefully any that may follow.

Together we can win!

Timothy Smyth


Risks of mail voting

Mail voting is a risky proposition that needs to be considered very carefully before implementation. There has been, for many years, voting by mail: absentee voting. As a military veteran, this was often how I voted out of necessity due to not being at home. Many times, the ballots of many service members were “lost” or “mishandled” or were, in one case, not counted at all due to a “glitch.”

How many more of these “ glitches” could we potentially see with millions of mailed ballots? Social distancing has affected us in many ways, some for the better. Voting by mail, however, should not be one of those ways.

I believe there are far too many ways with which mail-based voting can be manipulated for the benefit of a particular party. It would also increase the paper waste being generated in an age when “going paperless” is such a priority. Sen. Susan Collins needs to carefully consider not supporting the Wyden-Klobuchar bill.

Dave Aiken

Old Town