How would you like to live in Paul LePage’s world?

You would live in a country in which the president hated white people – 72 percent of the population. Hated ’em.

The same president would oversee a tax collection agency that would be about as bad as Hitler’s Gestapo, killing people by rationing their health care.

And it’s not like things would be better at home.

The whole southern half of your very own state would be corrupt. The rich would be stealing from the poor with nice-sounding programs like “land conservation” and “senior housing.”

The poor would be stealing from the middle class by using welfare benefits to buy tattoos and lottery tickets. Immigrants would be lying their way across the border, so they could get welfare and spread disease.

And to top it off, children would be overdosing on opiates right in the schools, and the school nurses would do nothing but restart their hearts with a little Narcan and send them back to class. Then the school officials would cover it all up, hiding the truth as they step over the bodies.

What a nightmare!

Thankfully, we don’t live in that world, because it only exists in one guy’s head. Unfortunately he’s a very powerful guy.

By now, everyone should have heard the Deering High School anecdote that was part of the governor’s set remarks on his recent road show in Lewiston.

Explaining why he vetoed a bill to make the overdose antidote Narcan available without a prescription, LePage told a tale about a Deering High School junior who was revived from overdose three times in a single week.

“And the third one, he got up and went to class,” LePage said.”He didn’t go to the hospital. He didn’t get checked out. He was so used to it he just came out of it and went to class.”

While we can all admire the young man’s commitment to his education, we should not overlook a significant problem with the governor’s story. It never happened.

It’s not that LePage made a mistake on an unimportant detail. It’s not that the kid was a sophomore, not a junior, or that it was Portland High School, not Deering.

It’s just that the incident that the governor described never actually happened in a way that other humans would consider to be an actual thing.

At least not according to Portland’s acting superintendent of schools, or the principal of Deering High School, or Portland’s chief of police, or the school resource officer, who LePage says told him the story. They all say that the governor misunderstood something said by Officer Steven Black, who works at Deering during the school year and on patrol during vacations.

The person that Black said had been revived and walked away without any treatment was in Deering Oaks Park, not Deering High School. OK, so the governor made a mistake.

No. Not in his world. Where he lives, he’s right and all those other people are a bunch of liars. These overdoses happened, he said, and the problem is much bigger than what he claims occurred at Deering (but didn’t).

He said he knows about cases in two other schools, apparently including a middle school because one of the overdose victims he cited was an eighth grader. There are probably even more, he said.

“I’m thinking of calling (U.S.) Attorney General (Loretta) Lynch and asking for her investigative arm to come up and look at the school systems in Maine,” LePage said on the MPBN show “Maine Calling” on Monday. “I think it’s serious enough. I believe it happened.”

(Note to Attorney General Lynch: Please understand the local terminology. In Paul LePage’s world, “I believe it happened” is considered to be enough evidence for a conviction. In the places you’re used to, a little more might be required.)

It’s not like our world is perfect. People here are overdosing on opioids at an alarming rate. School-age kids are abusing dangerous drugs (mostly alcohol), sometimes with tragic results. Some people who get what should be the ultimate wake-up call – being revived after what would have been a fatal overdose – go back to using rather than seeking treatment.

Those things really do happen. They just didn’t happen all at once to the same person at Deering High School, except in Paul LePage’s world, a dark and dangerous place.

It’s a good thing we don’t live in it. It’s bad enough that he has to be such a big shot in ours.

 


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