Giving up our rights

How long do you think the people of the state of Maine and the United States will tolerate their rights being trampled? It’s a historical fact and a fact of human nature that we scramble to government for security when things go wrong, but seldom do the people take into consideration the price for that security.

We so quickly give up our rights without batting an eyelash and today there is a good reason for it, we have no idea what our rights are. We seem to no longer be taught this in school, and it is rarely discussed in the public conversation. There is little public conversation that is geared towards liberty — it is all about one party of government or another and how bad they are.

Celebrated writer from the past H.L. Menken wrote: “The whole practical aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to security — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” While COVID-19 is not imaginary, I believe its ferocity is.

Never in the past have we let “experts” suspend our lives with little factual data. Look for yourself, they have incomplete data to show how many have it, and that is why I think in the end they will be shown wrong and our rights, which should be absolute and precious, will have been trampled for vanity. I think people should remember it’s a big election year, and make no mistake why this is happening.

Brad Dyer

Carthage

Crisis leadership

As someone who grew up in the decades following the Second World War, I am forever thankful for the leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration in charting a course to victory and prosperity. That brand of leadership inspired my parents’ generation, America’s “Greatest Generation,” to soar. It’s a stunning contrast to President Donald Trump and his administration’s mangled and cynical response to the COVID-19 pandemic — downplaying well-documented risks of the greatest global challenge since the Second World War.

Yet, fortunately, the crisis has brought out the best in leaders at other levels of government. I am especially proud to be a Mainer as I watch Gov. Janet Mills and Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and Senate President Troy Jackson take action to send more money to the Maine CDC, expand unemployment benefits, support schools in continuing to provide lunches to students in need, and working to obtain a federal government disaster declaration.

In contrast to the federal government’s deny-and-delay approach, our state leaders have heeded scientific and medical advice and acted promptly and decisively. Thanks to them, Mainers will be in a better position moving forward to navigate this crisis and withstand the impact it will undoubtedly have for months — even years — on the economy.

Charles Gauvin

New Gloucester

Heroes and angels

During this coronavirus pandemic, things have changed considerably in America and across our earth. Among us walk heroes and angels, and some of us going about our own survival techniques never really see them in our midst.

I experienced it last week during the huge, unexpected snowstorm. I did not see these angels and heroes, but I know they were affecting my life and working hour after hour in dangerous situations to restore power. They were working for all of us who just filled our freezers with food to survive this horrible virus that’s passing over our great America. I give praise to all those working for Emera Maine, or whomever they worked for, to help us.

Let us not forget the angels and heroes who have been working night and day and risking their own lives as they keep open our needed hospitals and emergency rooms. Let us not forget the first responders, those working to feed and provide shelter for the homeless and needy in our community, those working in our grocery stores, those working at pharmacies, those keeping our gas pumps working and delivering heating oil, those removing all this snow we were slammed with, and those who work from home to help take care of our needs.

And let us never forget those who many may not believe are angels or heroes. These are those who give you a smile — a kind hello when walking six feet away from them with hope on their face. There are those offering a helping hand no matter how small the need, who seem to be there when you least expect them.

Never forget to keep on keeping on with your unselfish acts of love and kindness to each other, because you were probably one of these heroes and angels yourself. Stay strong!

Eugene Allen

Holden

VRT appreciation week

Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Appreciation Week will be observed this year during the week of April 12-18 to commemorate Anne Sullivan’s birthday: April 14, 1866.

Sullivan, a pioneer of the vision rehabilitation profession, was the teacher who worked closely with Helen Keller to develop the skills Keller would later use as an international lecturer and advocate for individuals with vision and hearing loss.

Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, began working with 7-year-old Helen in 1887 as a home teacher, the original title for the profession now called vision rehabilitation therapist. Like Sullivan, today’s VRTs often travel to their client’s homes or workplaces for training.

Today’s VRTs usually have a master’s degree, and national certification to meet professional standards. For well over a century, as home teachers, rehab teachers, and now vision rehabilitation therapists, VRTs provided the primary rehabilitation skills training for individuals experiencing blindness or vision loss. VRTs work with clients on adapted daily living skills, communication (including braille when needed), low vision devices, using assistive technology such as computer and tablet screen readers or screen magnifiers, and adapted leisure activities and sports.

Most often, clients are adults who have experienced an acquired vision loss through diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, etc. There’s no need for a doctor referral for VRT services — clients can refer themselves through local state or nonprofit agencies. Often VRT services are provided at no out-of-pocket cost. To find a VRT in Maine, you can reach out to the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Steven Kelley

Kennebunk