One by one, until we’re done

It started with an e-mail I received Friday afternoon. It was sent to me by Marty Grohman, the man who sponsored my recent membership into the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club.

Marty was looking for volunteers who would be willing to give up a few hours to help FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) at its Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU), which is at Biddeford High School this week and ending on Wednesday evening.

There is an old saying: Many hands make light work. I joined Rotary because I wanted an opportunity to give back to my community, to the people who live, work and play in my hometown.

Photo by Marty Grohman

I signed myself up for three five-hour shifts, starting Monday and ending Wednesday. I finished my first shift this morning. When I first arrived I was warmly greeted by one of the many FEMA staff members. The gym became a giant, yet effective maze as people are screened, tested and then remained sitting at least 15 minutes before going on their way.

No appointment is required to receive the vaccine, which is the Johnson & Johnson version, commonly known as the “one and done” vaccine.

A FEMA staffer told me that they very much appreciated the presence and assistance from community volunteers, allowing them to focus on data collection and other tasks. I actually had a blast because I got to interact with just about every newly-vaccinated person. I manned the check-out station, collecting the data sheets and then informing patients that we would like them to hang out for 15 minutes. (By far, the longest part of the vaccination process.)

We averaged about 70 vaccinations per hour, more than one person every minute; and the process was stunning in its efficiency and design.

People came from all over, from Fryeburg to Sanford and from Turner to South Portland. I also saw a lot of familiar local faces and it was good to see them again. Everyone, it seemed, was in a good mood; happy to scratch the vaccine off their to-do list.

Some people are always quick to gripe or tell horror tales of bloated government bureaucracy. But what I saw this morning was a finely tuned model of efficiency and ease.

The object of Rotary is to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.” I want to thank Marty and all the members of Rotary Clubs around the world (Yes, it’s a global organization.)

I know some people think that COVID-19 is a hoax, others say it is a tool of a tyrannical government. Those voices can yammer away all they want.

What I witnessed this morning was nothing short of a mosaic of humanity: young and old. Men and women, people of color and differing sexual orientation. And guess what? They all smiled today.

And for me, that was a beautiful thing. I got way more than I gave.

If you want a vaccination, they are free and available without an appointment. So, go ahead do your part: roll up your sleeve and take another bite out of this global killer.

Originally posted in Saco Bay News.April 26. 2021

When Irish eyes are smiling

Damn! I remember it like it was yesterday, but actually it was about a quarter century ago when I first met Vincent Keely and his son, Brian.

It was Halloween day and I had just started my new job as a reporter for the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier.

Back then, the Courier office was located on Washington Street in Biddeford, directly across the street from the Wonderbar restaurant.

At that time, the Wonderbar (as I would soon find out) was a political and social epicenter, where everyone felt comfortable knowing that their conversations were confidential, off-the-record and checked at the door. It was also a comfortable haven for those of Irish descent.

The Wonderbar restaurant 0n Washington Street in Biddeford

It was a place where political deals were struck, but more importantly it was a place where everybody knew your name, comforting and familiar, sort of like the television show Cheers.

And now it is for sale.

Back to Halloween 1998.

I left the office to pursue a feature story about downtown merchants handing out candy and other goodies to small children. Brian Keely was standing in the middle of the road, wearing a chef’s apron and clutching a rubber chicken in one hand and a toy axe in the other.

I had no way of knowing back then that Brian Keely and I would become close friends.

I soon became a regular at the Wonderbar. I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in my veins, but the Wonderbar became my home away from home.

I would marvel at the way that Mr. Keely — with his mischievous grin and a sparkle in his eyes — poured a pint of Guinness, forming a shamrock in the foam of the beer. That was a trademark of the Wonderbar that I have not seen since.

Every time, I met a new woman to date, I would bring her first to the Wonderbar for a drink. Following my date, Brian, Vincent and other regular customers would rate those women, always with a chuckle.

I recall late nights hanging out with former school superintendent Kent Webster and some members of the school board after school board meetings, and I remember watching Super Bowl games from my favorite seat at the bar.

Soon after my first date with my wife, Laura, I brought her to the Wonderbar for inspection and evaluation. On the next day, I got a unanimous thumbs up from Vince, Brian and some regular patrons. Who knew then that I would eventually become married to that woman?

My friendship with Brian Keely grew stronger with each passing day. We started a call-in political “talk show” on Biddeford’s public access television channel and later served together on Biddeford’s Downtown Development Commission.

I asked Brian to be the best man at my wedding. He readily agreed.

Laura and I held our wedding reception in a function room above the bar and restaurant.

The Wonderbar was and remains as an intrinsic part of my life. And although now it is for sale, I hope that my memories of the iconic business will endure.

I spoke by telephone with Mr. Keely a few days ago. He told me that he purchased the Wonderbar nearly 30 years ago in 1992 from Edward “Ted” Truman.

I asked why he was selling the business.

“It was a matter of time,” he said. “Covid didn’t help matters any.”

Keely will soon be celebrating his 87th birthday. He said he routinely has back pain and often feels weak when standing too long.

“I didn’t get any help from the city, the state or anyone else,” he said with a tone of frustration.

He said he has had several calls from potential buyers, but most of them were “tire-kickers.”

For me, the Wonderbar was always so much more than an Irish bar and pub. It was my home.

To Vincent and Brian, I offer this Irish blessing “May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be ever at your back; May the sunshine warm upon your face; And the rain fall soft upon your fields; And until we meet again; May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

Slainte.

Originally published on March 24, 2021 in the Saco Bay News

Local water rates set to increase

Public water consumers in the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach area will soon see a moderate spike in their monthly water bills.

According to Maine Water, a rate increase of 77 percent will be spread out over a three-year period and be used to help fund the upgrade of existing infrastructure and build a new treatment plant on outer South Street in Biddeford.

Rick Knowlton, president of Maine Water, said the typical residential water bill will increase about 20 cents per day in each of the next three years, roughly $5 to $6 per month in each of the three steps proposed. When the full rate increase process is complete, water service will cost about a penny per gallon.

“We understand this rate increase is significant,” Knowlton said. “There is never a good time to increase water bills. The project to replace the water treatment facility began years ago and construction is nearing completion. We delayed our rate filing for as long as we could in hopes of some relief from the pandemic. Filing now allows our customers the opportunity to phase in this increase gradually over three years. Delaying the filing further would increase water bills even more.”

In addition to assistance from local and state agencies, Maine Water has financial assistance available for customers that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, Knowlton said.

Maine Water purchased the Biddeford-Saco Water Company in 2012. Knowlton said his company knew that the existing treatment facility and water delivery systems would need significant upgrades.

The current treatment facility was built in 1884, and renovations to that facility were last made in 1936 in order to keep up with the growing demands of a robust manufacturing sector on the banks of the Saco River.

Knowlton said Maine Water hired an engineering firm to evaluate the company’s infrastructure in 2013. According to Knowlton, that report detailed a laundry list of needed improvements in order for the company to keep providing clean and safe drinking water.

Construction of the $53 million project began in 2020.  The new facility will be in service in the spring of 2022.

“With 40,000 people relying on one source of drinking water every day, we have to have the facilities in place that can deliver,” Knowlton said. “This project will provide reliable, resilient and efficient water service for decades to come.”

The new facility will produce high quality water more consistently, Knowlton said, pointing to the fact that the river water quality does change with the seasons and with storm events. He said the new facility will be better equipped to handle those natural variations. The new facility will be more efficient and use less labor, less power and less chemical to produce a gallon of drinking water than is used today.

Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant said that he and other municipal officials from Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach took a tour of the plant four years ago.

“I was shocked by what I saw,” Casavant said. “There was no question, whatsoever, that the plant was near the end of its useful operation.”

Casavant said the municipalities will not be making the decision about whether to approve the rate increase.

The rate increase proposal is now being reviewed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Maine Water serves more than 40,000 people in Biddeford, Saco, OOB and the Pine Point area of Scarborough and the company employs 45 people in the Biddeford-Saco area.

Originally published in Saco Bay News

Gimme Shelter

It was almost exactly 12 years ago today when I found myself in Washington, D.C. as part of a massive crowd converging on the Capitol Building. We were hoping to get a glimpse of profound history: the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

I remember that it was bitterly cold but the crowd was joyous. Beyond optimistic. But here’s the thing: I did not vote for Obama. I voted for John McCain. That said, I knew the impact of the moment. The history being created. I wanted to be a part of that positive energy.

I did not travel to Washington to attend the inauguration. I was invited to a reception held the night before at the New Zealand Embassy. I was working in the public policy arena and somehow got invited to that reception. I was a nervous wreck. What would I wear? What are the protocols? Laura could not join me. Someone had to take care of the kids and pets. I bought a new suit.

I felt so out of place at that reception. It was way beyond my pay-grade. Again, I didn’t even vote for Obama. I went back to my hotel that evening relieved. I fell asleep while watching CNN. I awoke early the next morning. Inauguration Day. I checked out at 6:30 a.m., thinking I could beat the crowd for a “good spot” to witness the ceremony. I was dead wrong.

The mass of people descending on the Capitol was mind-boggling. I don’t think I was able to get within one mile of the Capitol. The cold air stung that morning. I had an open-ended plane ticket to Boston. I could have simply turned around and retreated. I did not. I also did not see the swearing-in ceremony nor the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But I was there. I was part of history.

Four years, later I repeated myself. I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Mitt Romney. I was not invited to any fancy parties. I watched that inauguration from the comfort of my office in Portland.

Flash forward almost 12 years and I could not believe what I was seeing on television. The Capitol Building was breached while Congress was in session Protestors scaled the walls. They broke into Congressional offices. They vandalized the epicenter of our Democracy.

Filled with hate, they continued their rampage. They flat-out refused to accept the inevitable (and official) outcome of the presidential election. Fueled by conspiracy theories and their self-righteous rage, they revealed what we may not want to accept: There are a lot of angry people out there.

Watching that fiasco was painful, to say the least. I was ashamed to be a Republican, even if my connection to the GOP was thread-bare. My first thought was to publicly disavow my political affiliation, to retreat safely into a ring guarded by conservative Democrats: a position of relative safety and protected against public disdain and blame.

But as my own anger about the protestors grew, I came to a conclusion. I would not abandon my party. Instead, I would continue to be a Republican with conservative ideals: a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, a voice for limited and more efficient government, a fiscal conservative. I would not be ashamed to be a Republican. It is possible to be a Republican and still condemn the melee that was conducted by an unhinged mob.

I want to a be a Republican like Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary and Maine senator William Cohen, and the list goes on and on.

Make no mistake, there was nothing patriotic about the events that today still seem like scenes from a nightmare. That said, Republicans of good conscious must rise up and let their voices be heard. It is well past time to cower in the shadow of public opinion.

Some in the GOP will mock me. They will call me a RINO (a Republican In Name Only). I will also be disparaged by Democrats. Some say I will be a man with no country. I call bullshit on that.

I am a Republican, but first and foremost, I am an American.

More than this . . .

I have made more than my fair share of bad decisions — from thinking I could drive just a few more miles to the next rest stop, to throwing some kerosene onto a campfire.

For more than nearly 30 years, I lived my life with no clear direction, no purpose, no meaning.

Failure, it seemed, was at every turn. I joined the Air Force but washed out after nearly completing basic training. Then I went to college. Yup, you guessed it: I dropped out. I toyed with the idea of becoming a priest, but that did not last more than one summer.

I crisscrossed the country in search of peace, stability and worthiness: Maryland, Tennessee, Arizona and Oregon. No matter where I lived, I felt lost and lonely, unable to hold down a job for more than a year at a time.

Flash forward to 1997 and my return to Maine. I worked a few odd jobs before being hired as a sports writer (bear in mind I know nothing about sports) but I loved that job. I loved the idea of getting paid to do what I love: to write.

In the autumn of 1998, I was hired as a reporter at the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier. I was working in my hometown, getting paid to be a political junkie. Suddenly, my life had some meaning. I think if you ask my publishers (David and Carolyn Flood) they would tell you that I worked my ass off. But it didn’t feel like work.

It was fun.

I became the editor of that newspaper and David gave me a wide berth when it came to the newsroom. I started a column called All Along The Watchtower. Suddenly, people knew who I was.

I made friends. I made enemies, but I was still having a grand time.

Flash forward to the local election season in 2001. Our country was still grappling with the horrific losses of 9/11. It was a tense time in our nation’s history. Local elections (city council, school board, etc.) seemed so trivial within the larger context of things.

There were three candidates running for two vacant seats on the Old Orchard Beach School Board: an incumbent (Sharon Inkpen) and two political newcomers: Dora Mills and Laura Kidman Hayes.

I made a mistake in my endorsements for that race (one that I didn’t consider very important) Really, what newspaper ever covered the OOB School Board? With only a couple of weeks left before the election, I gave my endorsement to the incumbent, thinking that there was only one seat up for grabs.

It was the best mistake I ever made!

Within hours of that issue hitting the streets, I received an e-mail from Laura Kidman-Hayes. In part, she wrote: “If I were the editor of a newspaper, I would get my facts straight.”

I replied with a snippy response that barely acknowledged my mistake. Later that day, I found myself on Main Street commiserating with a Portland Press Herald reporter about the upcoming elections. Without too much detail: Grace Murphy told me that Ms. Kidman-Hayes was very cute, and she showed me a file photo of the candidate.

I immediately raced back to my office in order to send Ms. Kidman-Hayes another e-mail: a bit more contrite, even though I thought she might be married because of the hyphenated last name.

I loathe hyphenated last names.

Within minutes after I sent her my second email, she sent me another e-mail and that’s how it went for a few days. Eventually, I made her a deal: if she won, I would actually cover a meeting of the OOB School Board. If she lost, I would buy her a cup of coffee because there would be no conflict.

On election night. I was a bundle of jangled nerves as I drove to OOB to “check” on the status of the polling place (yeah, right). Laura was standing in the hallway along with the other candidates, shaking hands with incoming voters.

I took one look at her and I knew that she was way out of my league. I curtly shook hands with her and dashed into the gymnasium to chat with the town clerk. I wanted to appear like I did not care.

Not a thing

The election was over. The streets were quiet and softly lit with a mid-autumn moon. I went to bed, feeling like an idiot.

On the next day, I checked my e-mail messages at the office. Ms. Kidman Hayes had sent me an e-mail. She included three telephone numbers where she could be reached: her office phone, her home phone and her cell-phone.

I could not believe it. I asked one of my coworkers if he thought that she really wanted me to call her. “She gave you three telephone numbers. Are you really that stupid?”

I called her and asked if she wanted to have dinner with me on Sunday. She said yes. I planned on eating at Traditions on Main Street in Saco. But I forgot that they were closed on Sundays. I was a nervous wreck. I was ashamed of my 1993 Ford Escort station wagon that had muffler issues. I was ashamed because she owned her own home and I was still living in a one-bedroom apartment two flights above the Happy Dragon restaurant on Main Street in Biddeford.

We ended up at the 99 Restaurant. We were seated at a back table. We were there for a little more than three hours but neither of us ordered any food. We were too nervous, but we decided — right then and there — that we would like to try embarking on an exclusive relationship.

That was 19 years ago today. Wow time flies. T-Ball games, house hunting, pets, family deaths, kayaking, camping, different jobs and home renovation projects blend into a blur of happiness, of meaning . . .

Of purpose.

The best mistake ever.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Earlier this week, my community lost a great man. Don Wilson was 73 and apparently living with severe depression. Hopefully we all learned a lesson from this tragic event: Mental health disorders can be fatal, especially without professional health treatment.

Can you imagine being in so much pain that you would hurl yourself in front of a moving train?

Mr. Wilson (as I will always call him) was a community hero. Within hours of his death, our community rallied around his family. A multitude of sympathy was shared on social media, and we all wondered what went wrong.

Mr. Wilson was woven into the fabric of Biddeford. He touched hundreds (if not thousands) of lives. He was so dedicated as a teacher, coach and athletic director. Everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell, a favorite remembrance or a funny story about him.

He was a gregarious community leader who spent so many years supporting every life he touched. Smiling, generous, humorous and full of life is how so many of us described him.

But in the latter days of his life he was fighting an inner war with some very powerful demons.

According to reports by his friends and family, he openly talked about his feelings. He was, reportedly, recently hospitalized for depression. But finally, he could not fight the pain anymore.

I simply cannot imagine his pain. His suffering. His fragility.

Tough guys don’t dance.

Mr. Wilson was a role model for me. He was a gentlemen who did not speak a bad word about anyone. As I said before: he was kind and generous; quick with a smile and always willing to help.

Mr. Wilson was from a generation that usually did not talk openly about depression or suicide. Typically, obituaries of those who committed suicide described the death as “died unexpectedly.”

And there is an abundance of stigma associated with mental health, especially among men. Depression is a sign of weakness and laziness, society says. “Stop your pity party and stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

Unlike so many men of his generation, Mr. Wilson courageously bucked that trend. He shared his feelings with friends and family members. But in the end he lost that battle. In the final hours of his life he took matters into his own hands.

Some people die from cancer and some people survive. That is true for almost every illness, including mental illness. Talking about mental health is not easy. In fact, it can be overwhelming.

I still cringe when I hear someone refer to a psychiatrist as a “shrink.” I could write all day about the stigma associated with mental health.

Until we all can accept mental health disorders as genuine and potentially fatal illnesses, we will have people fighting an invisible and overwhelming war.

Depression is not feeling sorry for yourself. Having depression is not a sign of laziness. Depression does not discriminate.

Depression is a pervasive disease, but it can be treated. If you or someone you care about is fighting depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact the national suicide hotline: 1-888-568-1112, 24 hours a day, seven days per week and 365 days a year.

Thank you, Mr. Wilson for all that you gave to your community. As far as I’m concerned, you remain as a role model for me.

Joe Biden: The Comeback Kid?

A few days ago, I was drawn into yet another Facebook political debate. I can’t help it. I’m a political junkie and off my meds.

The debate was about the 2020 presidential campaign, and I made the comment that I identify as a “right-leaning moderate”

Within a few seconds after writing that post, some guy (a “friend of a friend” ) attacked me and said I was not a moderate . . .blah, blah, blah.  . . .because I am not a big fan of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential bid.

At first I thought that I should just move on. I don’t know the guy and we had never met or interacted before. But I could not help myself. I decided to defend my position and my lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden.

In summary, I posted that I was indeed a moderate Republican — to the left of people such as Sean Hannity, former Maine governor Paul LePage and President Trump (even though I did vote for Trump in 2016). Before my ardent friends on the left hyperventilate, I will not be supporting Trump’s re-election campaign.

I voted twice for George W. Bush. I also voted for the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket in 2008. I  posted that I identify with other moderate Republicans such as Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense (and former Maine Senator) William Cohen.

I voted for Barack Obama in 2012, yet I  still considered myself to be a so-called “moderate,” steering left of hyper conservatives such as Mitch  McConnell, Lindsay Graham and Rush Limbaugh, but  to the right of outspoken liberals, such as Rachel Maddow, Jimmy Kimmel and Chuck Schumer.

This year, I will hold my nose and cast my vote for Biden. But I am worried about his mental health and his ability to execute the duties of the president.

>>>>>>>

Jolting Joe has left and gone away

Joe Biden is all but assured to be the Democrats’ choice to prevent another four years of Donald Trump.

But is Biden really the best candidate for Democrats? After almost four years of the Trump Administration, the Democrats throw Biden into the ring to take down Trump? Really? That’s the best they got?

I have my own theory about why Biden came out on top: he is not an extremist. He is experienced and he is likable. But most of all, he is a moderate and may also be able to pull some fence-sitting, moderate Republicans like me: RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

And here’s a conspiracy theory I have heard about:  The Democratic Party is banking on the probability that Biden (if elected) won’t be able to finish his first term; thus his vice presidential pick is critical — not to mention the need to fire up the Dems and increase voter turnout from younger voters who may otherwise stay at home on Election Day.

Several weeks ago there was an op-ed published in the Washington Post   that details several examples of behavior and missteps that lead to a troubling possibility: Biden may have some serious cognitive issues.

In fairness, the op-ed penned by Marc A. Thiessen also reminds us that President Reagan had his own cognitive issues.

Furthermore, Biden’s age could be another chink in his political armor. Thiessen points out the following:

“Joe Biden is 77, four years older than Reagan was during the 1984 campaign. If Biden is elected, he’ll be older on the day he takes office than Reagan was on the day he left office. So yes, his mental fitness is a legitimate issue.”

As I pointed out in my aforementioned Facebook post. I am a political junkie and a second-rate pundit with an internet connection and a keyboard.  But, over the course of my  professional roles (journalist, public policy and political consultant,) I know it is critically important to remember that voters are more likely drawn to voting FOR a candidate as opposed to voting AGAINST a candidate.

Then again, tapping Sarah Palin as a running mate didn’t accomplish much for John McCain. Why? Because voters were electrified by Barack Obama and his charisma. Obama could have picked Vito Corleone as his running mate and still would have won the race by a landslide.

In summary? Biden’s choice of a running mate is of paramount importance.

Joe Biden is no Barack Obama. He needs to widen his base, including young voters, progressives, the LGBTQ community and yes — even moderate Republicans like me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outrageous Fortune

Noam Galai | Getty ImagesEvery time I start to feel a bit of optimism about the future, the reality hammer drops on my head.

Today, we learned that restaurants in southern Maine will not be able to re-open as originally scheduled  because of ongoing concerns about the Cov-19 epidemic.

The social media reaction to this news has been swift from both sides of the political aisle, Republicans blame Janet Mills and Democrats blame President Trump.

There are posts calling for an armed revolution to overthrown Maine Governor Janet Mills.  “. . .Open up anyways and bring your guns!!! ,” wrote one poster on Facebook.

In the Shakespearean play Hamlet, the young prince contemplates suicide, best referenced within this famous soliloquy: To Be or Not to Be.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
People on the right are still referencing mask wearers as “sheep,” unable to discern the truth.
People on the left use terms like “mouth breather,” to describe conservatives.
There doesn’t seem that there is any middle ground.
And now the news released today by the governor: dine-in restaurants in southern Maine will need to remain closed until further notice, as opposed to a cautious opening date of June 1.
Think of all those businesses that purchased food and supplies as they geared up for June 1. Think about the employees called back to work. What does the future hold?
From my perspective, the future looks pretty grim, so I have designed my own plan for businesses that want to open on June 1:
  • Let the restaurant owners decide if they want to open or not.
  • Let customers decide on whether they want to frequent these establishments
  • Let the employees decide whether they want to work.
  • For people who have a weakened immune system (like my wife) stay at home.
  • For people who do not want go to public places, do not go there. You can order groceries and food online.
This my five-point plan. What do you think?

 

The war of the words

I am 56 years-old. I am a white man. I live in the suburbs. I have two healthy sons and an amazing wife.

I have nothing to complain about. But still I have a knack for finding political fights on social media platforms.

I used to be a journalist, and then a columnist. I put food on my family’s table by sharing my opinions every week.

Please, however, make no mistake, I am today a little more than a second-rate pundit with a boatload of opinions, a keyboard and an internet connection. Sadly, a lot of other people I know are in the same boat.

When I was growing up, I was taught that voting, and politics were private things. That’s why we have curtains at the voting booth: to keep our choices private. Back then, however, we didn’t have an internet and access to so many people.

According to Facebook, I have more than 1,100 “friends.” Let’s get real. I can count the number of my friends on two hands,

“We are reckless in our use of the lovely word friend,” or so wrote French author Romain Rolland in 1913.

I am guilty of being a political monger, easily sucked into meaningless debates on Facebook and Twitter. But I also like to think I am a political centrist, and that it would be difficult to discern my political orientation based on my social media postings.

Maybe I am kidding myself. Maybe not.

I find it curious that so many people spend so much time engaged in political debates on social media outlets, some of which become quite heated as these amateur pundits duke it out on the world-wide web.

Both Democrats and Republicans (in almost equal measure) line up in their own turf and pontificate why their points are absolute truth. Are these people trying to recruit more members? Are they hoping to influence our nation’s political discourse?

Following my career in journalism, I accepted a job as a public relations professional. Yes, social media is a powerful communications tool in today’s world of political engagement, but every PR pro knows that it must be handled with precision.

Do you really think that name calling, badgering and screeching hardcore positions will “convert” someone from a different camp?

How much time do you spend on social media platforms, engaged in political debates?

Is it worth it?

A sheep speaks out

I wear a mask when I go to the grocery store or any other place where large numbers of people congregate.
I am not a sheep. I am not afraid of Covid-19. I do not wear a mask to keep myself safe. I wear a mask because it may lower the odds (if only a minuscule number) of making OTHER people sick. I could have the virus, but the odds on that are also minuscule.
I find it sad (sometimes laughable) that some people equate being asked to wear a mask in public is some form of tyranny or as a call to arms. Jesus H. Christ, do these people get their knickers in a knot when asked to wear a shirt or shoes in a grocery store or a restaurant?
Can’t we just be considerate of others? How hard is it to wear a mask when you go to the store? Really, is this the platform for patriots to rise up against a “tyrannical” government? A fucking mask?
The biggest reason I wear a mask?
It’s because my wife is immunocompromised. She has MS, an underlying condition that increases her risk to COVID-19. So yeah, I’m kind of a big believer in wearing a mask in public.
You think I’m a fucking sheep; a dolt who is ready to submit to the evil government, the doctors and scientists who are all members of some grand conspiracy because I wear a mask?
Is wearing a mask such a burden? If you think so, can’t you at least be considerate of your fellow human beings?
Just wear a mask. Please