Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to email@example.com.
The wrong impression
In the Aug. 14 edition of the BDN, there was a lovely photo titled, “A Beautiful Day at Sea.” Underneath the photo was a caption, “Tourists relax the use of their pandemic masks while gathering to view a seal swimming near their tour boat on Monday off Portland. The state has one of the lowest numbers of coronavirus in the country.” The article does not mention a previous piece in the BDN about how badly Maine fares with the virus compared to its close neighbor, New Brunswick, Canada.
Unfortunately, the photo shows a group of people, without masks covering their faces, looking over the side of the boat. It appears that the driver of the boat was also not wearing a mask. Why?
I am concerned that this photo and caption gives potential tourists the wrong impression: come to the beautiful state of Maine and don’t worry about wearing masks.
Gideon’s climate agenda
Having worked for many years on climate change issues, I was thrilled after reading Sara Gideon’s climate agenda.
Her agenda recognizes both sides of the problem — that we need to stop putting more carbon in the air, and we need to deal with the fallout from the increase in carbon we’ve already caused.
Her plan includes effective, doable actions to do both, for example by increasing use of renewable energy sources to replace carbon emitting fossil fuels, and by preparing Maine’s coastlines for the ongoing rise in sea level caused by current climate change.
Gideon’s record in the Maine Legislature on climate issues has included such things as restoring $38 million to energy efficiency funding in Maine and I am delighted to see that she intends to continue to push for positive action on our climate future if elected to the U.S. Senate.
What is happening to our country?
Color me stunned. We are preparing to hold an election in November and I now read that 46 states have received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service stating that the USPS is unsure that absentee ballots being returned through the Postal Service may not arrive in a timely manner such that the votes will count.
Many years ago in high school, I was taught that our Constitution gave the states both the responsibility and the authority to make the rules around and to run elections. Now, it appears, playing games with the funding of the Postal Service to ensure a particular variant of voting cannot and will not succeed is OK.
What is happening to our country and who is willing to step up and protect our democratic processes?
There has been a lot of news lately about racial injustice: Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, John Lewis, etc. I can only say, it’s about time that we paid extended attention.
But there’s another, related type of injustice that hardly anyone seems to notice: class prejudice. The U.S. Senate has refused to extend the enhanced $600 a week unemployment benefits, with some senators frequently justifying this refusal by claiming that some poor or working-class people might take advantage of this benefit by not working, especially if unemployment proved to be more remunerative than employment. In other words, the $600 unemployment benefit might “disincentivize” American workers, and herein, the senators say, lies the chief danger. Some individuals, rather than return to work, might choose to stay home.
This perception of America’s poor and working classes as generally lazy, irresponsible and self-indulgent is prejudicial — a false stereotype. And as such, it distorts the truth; it asks us to judge a whole group of people by the misdeeds of a few. It ought to be condemned just as vigorously as racial prejudice is currently being condemned. Social class matters!
William J. Murphy