On Sept. 16, Bowdoin’s President Clayton Rose appeared on the CBS Evening News to discuss Bowdoin’s testing protocol and fall semester approach to the coronavirus. On October 5, he sent an email to the greater Bowdoin community stating that all upperclass students would return to campus for the spring semester, exactly as planned this past summer. No varsity sport teams competed in the fall.

On August 18, the University of Notre Dame canceled in-person classes after a surge of COVID-19 cases on campus. Football was not canceled. On Sept. 26, Notre Dame’s President Rev. John L. Jenkins attended the nomination ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrrett in the Rose Garden. Nine people who attended that ceremony have been diagnosed with the virus so far, including Notre Dame’s President and President Trump. Jenkins chose not to wear a mask at the event, thereby violating the strict guidelines his campus had imposed on students. And, no surprise, GOP Senators at the event happily bumped fists, delighted that they were about to pack the court with yet another anti-abortion anti-gay marriage, anti-Obamacare justice. Three of them later tested positive; thank you, karma.

From my viewpoint, the residents and businesses of Midcoast Maine have dealt with the virus better than many areas around the country, just as Bowdoin has outperformed most other colleges and universities. Local citizens have adjusted well to the wear-a-mask/socially distant/wash-your-hands guidelines. Unlike in some Trumpworld states, you seldom hear about people protesting the mask-wearing rules by screaming at cashiers or making fun of other people wearing masks or stalking out of stores yelling “Freedom!”

Unfortunately, the de facto “leader” in the White House and the loyal denizens of Trumpworld have not acted as responsibly as the people and organizations in Midcoast Maine. Apparently, the concept of working for the common good still means something around here. Churches, volunteers and donors have stepped up to help the people hit hardest by the virus. Restaurants have done their best to provide safe options for dining. Children and parents seem to have adjusted to hybrid remote learning options.And people have met more of their neighbors, thanks to a huge increase in walking

All that said, everyone here and around the country yearns for the day when we can return to normal or, at least, a more normal way of life. Hopefully, the majority of Americans will wake up to fact that we’re all in this together. We are, indeed, our brother’s keepers, a Biblical concept that too many Trump-supporting white evangelical Christians seem to have forgotten.

As Thomas Friedman recently noted in the New York Times, “Machismo in a pandemic is not strength. Resisting mask-wearing in a pandemic is not safeguarding freedom. Blue states are not more attractive to the coronavirus than red states.”

Here, then is a shoutout, to the people of Midcoast Maine and the leadership of Bowdoin College. Thanks for your efforts in helping us get through these challenging times.

(NOTE: Each December for more than 80 years, St. Paul’s Episcopal in Brunswick has held a Christmas Fair, with shoppers perusing booths throughout the church. To continue the tradition this year in a safe manner, the church will have a Harvest Fair on Oct. 24 outside in its garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many of the familiar tables will be among the offerings: Baked Goods and Candy, the Country Store, Fiber arts, Jewelry, and Rada Cutlery. Social distancing will be observed, masks will be required, and Frosty’s Donuts will offer donuts to shoppers waiting in line. As always, all proceeds—every penny—will go to help nonprofit organizations that assist people in need. The rain date will be October 31.)

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: