To the Editor:
After a respite from the worst of the pandemic, the delta variant gives me a feeling of summer reruns. What? Masks again? But we know what works and what we have to do. I am very grateful to Mainers’ community spirit and common sense compliance with pandemic guidelines.
I’m also grateful to Maine voters for electing Janet Mills; as governor, she’s led Maine in leading the country in successful pandemic response. And I’m grateful to the, predominantly Democratic, state and federal legislators who’ve seen us through by supporting essential and emergency government services. Republican defunding government, never a sound idea, has proven disastrous –nobody bootstraps themselves out of a pandemic.
Speaking of which, with Republican small government hucksters throwing their hats in the ring, Maine politics is also in summer reruns – featuring former governor Paul LePage and former CD2 representative Bruce Poliquin. Speak of a deadly duo.
LePage’s signature achievement was decimating our Department of Health and Human services – replacing health care professionals with cronies and throwing eligible Mainers off existing programs. Ignoring Maine voters, LePage also refused federal funding to expand Medicaid. And team tagging vulnerable Mainers, in Congress, Poliquin voted to: end protections for people with existing conditions, allow insurance companies to charge seniors five times more and to gut Medicaid. Not to mention both LePage and Poliquin appearing unmasked and not socially distanced at Trump rallies at the height of the pandemic.
Speaking of Trump rallies. LePage, who famously billed himself as “Trump before Trump,” anticipated Trump in suggesting that people should “get their guns out” if they felt their rights were infringed and in flirting with “sovereign citizen” extremists scheming to arrest and execute his political opponents. And speaking of overturning elections, Poliquin preceded Trump in trying to stop the vote counting and then throw out the results of a legitimate election. When Poliquin was thrown out of court and LePage was forced to certify the vote, he scribbled “stolen election” on the certificate.
So Mainers, please mask up and don’t keep your heads in the sand about threats to our health and threats to our government. They are related. We are in all this together and need to find communal solutions to shared problems.