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

Unvaccinated barbers

Yes, Patty Wight’s Aug. 9 article in the BDN, “Mainers with breakthrough infections ride emotional wave,” hit a nerve with my wife and me. We are both educators, we both took the vaccine as soon as it was available, wear masks when shopping and are now getting upset with folks who refuse to help getting the virus under control by not getting the vaccine or wearing a mask indoors.

The gist of the article came to life for me with my recent attempts to get a haircut (my previous haircut was in another state where the barbers made it clear they were all vaccinated and expected their customers to be also). So off I went to a local barber shop, inquired whether the barber was vaccinated, and was told in a loud, hostile voice that he is tired of folks telling him to get the shot, is not vaccinated and never will be.I thanked him for his time.

Next, I called another local barber who politely told me that he and his staff were not vaccinated. On to number three. To my inquiry she started yelling at me, told me it was unethical for her to say anything, yelled some more and hung up. I believe ethicists agree that it is very unethical to possibly expose someone to something that might kill them.

As a science teacher, I was appalled not at the anti-science stand but at the willingness of the barbers to risk the safety of their customers instead of protecting them and the community.

I offer this experience as something that might be worth investigating. We are not sure if this is a Down East phenomenon or is widespread among barbers. But my experience sure fits in with the growing anger over folks who are not willing to do their part to stop the virus resurgence, as Wight discusses in her article.

Richard Staron


Republicans and Democrats

I have seen the Elephant and the Donkey. They are both disguised as horses’ asses. In reality they are the same. Rapacious and amoral, their continued existence will destroy the nation founded in 1789.

Rebellion is out of the question. Even if the citizenry had the emotional drive to revolt, their intellectual bankruptcy guarantees failure.

Frederick Mendel


A sad irony with energy corridor

There is a sad irony to the celebratory noises made by some legislators and environmental groups about the recent court decision that may prevent the use of Maine land for a transmission corridor to bring hydropower into New England. These folks are not climate change deniers — indeed, they purport to support strong measures to address the crisis which now seems to be upon us. But it is very discouraging to see them join forces with the fossil fuel industry — which stands to lose money if more hydropower in brought into the New England market and has thus financed a great deal of the opposition to the project — to impede a project that will, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (among many others), reduce New England’s carbon emissions.

If expanding an existing transmission corridor, and using commercially forested land for new transmission, is too high a price for keeping  millions of tons of carbon out of the air (while injecting  more than a billion dollars into Maine’s economy), then it is hard to see how any serious efforts to address climate change can succeed in Maine.

Disclosure: I am currently an independent consultant, and not paid by anyone on the New England Clean Energy Connect project, but I have worked with the governor’s office without compensation on the issue.

Thomas Welch

Former chair

Maine Public Utilities Commission