We can do better in fighting COVID-19

Eight days ago, my cousin Paula died of COVID-19. When I share this horrible news with a friend, her first reaction is shock followed by sympathy. Immediately after, I intuit the fear that is just beneath the surface and feel a need to rush in and try to reassure my friend — and myself. Was my cousin older than my friend? Did she have an underlying medical condition that my friend doesn’t have? My grief and the loss of a valuable human being become confused with our own fears of getting sick and dying.

More Americans have already died from COVID-19 than were killed in the Vietnam War. When this pandemic is over, will we surpass all the deaths in our Civil War, or will we surpass all the deaths in all our wars put together? At what point will we all come together and not see some deaths as expendable: “old” people, people in nursing homes, people with underlying medical conditions, people of color, poor people, front-line medical workers? At what point do we say, “enough is enough” and band together as one nation, one community, and one world actually — and try to tackle a worldwide catastrophe? The virus is a medical catastrophe, not a political issue. We are a rich country, and we can and must help people survive financially, while at the same time keeping people as safe as possible. We can do both. We must do a lot better.

I love you, Paula.

Alan Blum,
Harpswell

Transparency and accountability: Collins doesn’t keep Trump in check

Transparency and accountability are vital to our democracy, especially as trillions of dollars are being spent as part of the fight against COVID-19. It is essential that our money is spent for the right purposes — these are our tax dollars, and we will be paying off the accumulated debt for many years to come.

Since April, President Trump has ousted two inspector generals, removed Glenn Fine from his role as the leader of the oversight panel for pandemic relief and on May 15 removed Steve Linnick as IG for the State Department. Transparency and accountability are being systematically undermined and Sen. Collins has failed to make a serious effort to hold the president responsible.

Despite being a coauthor of 2008 legislation that prohibits the firing of inspector generals by the president without a valid reason, Sen. Collins fails to demand accountability for these firings or to join with others including Sen. Romney to condemn the actions. It is an all too familiar pattern, a furrowed brow, expressions of concern and no action. Her legacy will be a record of empty rhetoric followed by a failure to make a difference when she can through her votes as our Senator. We need a Senator that will stand up for accountability in government and not just wring her hands. It is time for Maine to say bye-bye, Susan.

Nils Tcheyan,
Harpswell

 

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