The coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China is turning our lives upside down. Kids are at home instead of being at school; families can’t visit their aging parents and grandparents; and our economy is in trouble.
Six short weeks ago our economy was the strongest in 50 years. Workers were taking home bigger paychecks, help wanted signs blanketed Maine, and our unemployment rate was the lowest ever recorded.
That promising future can and will return if we’re smart and work together. The historically strong economy was the result of congressional Republicans working tirelessly with the Trump administration and anyone else who wanted to help lower taxes, cut red tape, negotiate fairer trade deals, and provide incentives for increased energy production.
As Americans, we now have a very big job ahead to rebuild our economy to where it was so we can get on with our lives. The foundation of that strong and growing economy is still solidly in place — lower taxes, less red tape, fairer trade deals and cheap energy. But, first, the coronavirus wrecking ball must be stopped so businesses can reopen and rehire their workers. That means everyone working together to defeat this common enemy.
With that unifying goal in mind, I was disappointed to read David Farmer’s BDN OpEd published on February 5. Just as the coronavirus threat was taking hold, he chose to attack me and my record as the former U.S. Representative for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Serving Maine families in Congress was a great honor, and a responsibility I took very seriously. I always went out of my way to engage Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan way to find solutions to serious problems impacting my fellow Mainers.
Farmer has chosen a different profession. He’s a liberal who attacks people like me with common sense beliefs, such as controlling our borders to keep our families safe from illegal drugs and infectious diseases. He also attacks people like me who embrace traditional Maine values, like requiring able-bodied adults to work if they apply for welfare benefits. It’s not helpful, especially these days, for Farmer, or liberal activists, to publicly spew hate toward President Donald Trump and other Republicans.
Our job as Americans is to work together to get through this difficult period and to kill this deadly bug. That means helping each other stay connected while keeping our distances from one another to prevent the virus from spreading. The true heroes of this chapter in our nation’s history are the brave and compassionate medical professionals working on the dangerous front lines.
Every day, a kind health care worker uses FaceTime on her cell phone to connect me with my 90-year-old parents who live in a nursing/assisted living home. I visit them almost daily but haven’t been able to do so for over a week. But, with FaceTime, we get such a laugh actually seeing each other over telephones!
As their only surviving child, this regular personal connection is extremely important for my parents’ health and peace of mind, and for mine. I have no idea about the politics of that caring nursing home aide who goes the extra mile to connect us, and couldn’t care less — neither do my parents. We’re all in this together.
So, let’s be positive and get all hands on deck during the coming weeks. Millions more face masks and test kits are being manufactured here in the USA, and right now are being distributed to hospitals and doctor offices across the country. Our cutting-edge biomedical companies are rushing to develop therapies to treat those infected and come up with a vaccine for future use. Federal and state governments will be extending low-interest loans and other financial assistance to workers and employers whose businesses were asked to shut down to help prevent spreading this highly contagious virus.
Turn off the negative TV news and get some fresh air. Keep your distance and wash your hands. We’re Mainers; we’ll get through this — together!
Bruce Poliquin is the former representative from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District