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

Make safe and responsible decisions

I have been watching with horror the stories of the wedding and reception in the Millinocket area with around 65 people, inside, not wearing masks. More than 140 people have now tested positive for the virus in connection to the wedding outbreak. This is only one example of how responsible behavior and concern for our fellow human beings have become politicized.

This is not a political issue; it is a common sense and responsibility issue. I don’t pay much attention to memes on social media, but one caught my eye recently that speaks to this issue. The meme states: “There’s a story about people on a boat. A guy decides to dig through the floor of his cabin. Water flows in. Other passengers are pissed. But it’s his own cabin, the guy argues, so why should it matter. Personal choice only goes so far when we’re all on the same boat.”

Nothing else needs to be said. According to the medical professionals, the best things we can do to keep each other safe include wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and washing our hands regularly. Why is this so hard for people to understand? Unfortunately, the leader of our country has downplayed the virus, wondered about using bleach in infected people, and had refused to wear a mask until very recently.

This has prompted his supporters to view mask wearing as violating their rights. Consequently, we lead the world in infections and deaths. We all have a choice in this pandemic. I wish everyone would make the safe, responsible one.

Jenni Casale

Surry

What it means to be a Republican

What do today’s Republicans stand for? Such a question was recently posed to Frank Luntz, a premier Republican pollster and strategist for decades, and he couldn’t come up with an answer.

I was raised as a Republican and I knew what I stood for. The branch of the party I believed in was fiscally conservative, but socially and environmentally engaged. In our house, Franklin Roosevelt was the “Great Satan,” although my dad admitted he knew how to win a war. He also appreciated Harry Truman’s honesty, if not his policies. Dwight Eisenhower, “Ike,” was held up as an example of the best our country could produce as a leader of people.

My first presidential vote was for Barry Goldwater. I continued to consider myself a Republican until the Watergate scandal, after which I opened my eyes to the fact that political parties need to be separated from the individuals they support. Somewhere along the Republican Party timeline, probably starting with Newt Gingrich, ideology began to overcome rational policy. That has devolved into a cult that kowtows to the current president despite individual personal moral and ethical ” values,” and can’t even create a platform for its 2020 convention.

I don’t see anyone in the current U.S. Senate or House of Representatives that deserves to be described as anything but a RINO (Republican In Name Only). That is the very definition of sad — and dangerous.

Donald Holmes

Sedgwick

Bring the Legislature back

Sierra Club Maine urges Gov. Janet Mills to reopen the Legislature now, especially since Republican legislators are unlikely to vote in significant enough numbers to participate. While we recognize there is a global pandemic severely impacting how the Legislature may be able to conduct business, the Legislature can return to finish its business. Several other state legislatures across the country have safely reconvened.

Democrats should try to work with Republicans to focus on bills that reflect the greatest need: wage relief, benefits and health care. In addition we must address racism, social justice and human rights. There are important bills that have had public hearings, have been debated in committee and that need to be voted on, now, in Maine. People are suffering. We cannot wait for the federal government to act. We must act.

Clearly, the Legislature cannot debate and vote on every bill that was left from March. But they can prioritize those that meet the most urgent needs of Mainers and those bills already moving through committees.

Legislative committees have been finishing their work on important bills, adapting them to our budget shortfall and shortened timeline (see LD 1646 and LD 2094).

This is an opportunity for Mills to move us forward through an incredibly trying time, while being practical (addressing only critical and sensitive bills) and maintaining safety for all. This would allow the Legislature to finish its work and to help Mainers through this crisis as major provisions of the CARES Act have expired.

We urge the governor to please step up, and to do what is necessary now. We are counting on her.

Matthew Cannon

Campaign and policy associate director

Sierra Club Maine

Portland