Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Rights vs. responsibilities

The United States is currently engaged in a Cold War against itself: vaccinated vs. unvaccinated, illegitimate election vs. a legitimate election, climate change believers vs. climate change non believers, masks vs. no masks and the list goes on.

We’ve already seen the dangers of how this can play out. Many school districts succumbed to political correctness by  making masks optional instead of fulfilling their fiduciary duty to protect children and make masks mandatory.

That decision has not gone well. Schools across the state experienced closure. Kindergarten students are forced to quarantine. Calais Elementary School was compelled to become a COVID testing site. And certainly a senior teacher in these environments cannot feel safe.  

We must remember our responsibilities and our rights, and we do not have the right to put other people in danger.

We are all Americans before we are Democrats or Republicans. Parents should certainly be able to understand and rationalize the needs of other parents who fear their child going into an unsafe environment.

Wearing masks is not a question of freedom, it is an exercise in responsibility.

Keith Newman


Climate coverage and action

Congratulations, BDN, for the recent coverage of our climate crisis. George Danby’s climate cartoons really catch the eye. Susana Hancock’s letter (Sept. 1) focused on climate change in our daily news: the monumental wildfires and more powerful hurricanes. She then urged that climate not leave your front pages. One day later, BDN’s front-page article discussed what could be expected in the year 2100 for kids born today — if we get on with climate action, or if we don’t.

Fortunately, Congress is, at last, considering what policies to include under “climate action.” A steadily rising price on carbon fuels is the most effective policy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. That’s because people and corporations around the world are price-conscious. So, with lower prices on goods made with and using clean energy, countries around the world can meet their Paris commitments, and limit future climate changes.

Please call Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins. Thank them for including climate adaptation provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill they helped design. Then urge them to include carbon pricing in the $3.5 trillion budget bill currently under consideration. The U.S. would then join other industrialized countries that employ this policy, including the EU, Canada and China. We can then expect accelerated innovation in clean energy development and use worldwide. Also, be sure to call Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree. I am confident they understand that preventing the worst of climate change impacts is less costly than letting it happen.

Peter Garrett


Questions about vaccine mandates

It is with no question that the COVID pandemic has been very stressful physically, emotionally and unfortunately sometimes deadly.  However, one cannot wonder if we are doing the right thing in mandating the shot for some people.

What comes to mind are three drugs that were FDA approved, ThalidomideBendectin and opiates. Thalidomide and Bendectin were given to expectant mothers from the 1950s through the 1980s to help in pregnancies. Both drugs were given to expectant mothers to help with morning sickness. Thalidomide was removed from use in the 1960s, and Bendectin was removed in 1983. Both drugs were removed as a nausea prevention drug due to congenital malformations in babies.  Opiate derivatives need no introduction. Opiate-derived medications have been increasingly restricted because of addiction problems.

One has to wonder if we are being too hasty to mandate a pharmaceutical when we do not know all of its long-term side effects. Are we too selfish and shortsighted to save ourselves that we are not looking to the future generations and their health? Why would we? We probably won’t be here to see the effects.

Maybe we should let those who want to get vaccinated get vaccinated, and those who just want more information, get it. History, after all, is not bad!

Jeffrey and Sandra Morin