letter to the editor: Josiah R. Wilson

LD 798 is the wrong way to treat fellow citizens and children of tomorrow

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 11:30am

 To The People: I write you today as an educator, a lobster-fisherman, and most of all, a parent.  There’s a real bad bill up in Augusta.  No, it’s not more taxes you might detest.  It’s about denying specific students access to education, because of their religious or philosophical beliefs. 

I’d rather not be involved in politics, but LD 798 could deny about 9,000 students reasonable access to their right to a free and public education, as codified within the Maine constitution and elsewhere.  Listed in Article Eight, written by President Thomas Jefferson, are specifics for the funding of our system.  (He wanted the money for the kids in place because he recognized the need for communities and the greater good).  This is worth the time to protest, it’s why I’m writing. 

Over even 100 students or 25 percent of students at UMA alone use an exemption, often filing the day of enrollment.  If these students couldn’t produce the proper medical papers at that time, they’d be turned away.  Let’s not forget what we’re talking about here, though.  This isn’t about vaccine awareness.  This is about an agenda.  This isn’t democratic.  This is Orwellian.  This isn’t about helping raise awareness.  This is about imposing on people’s will. This is about big business profit.            

What’s left for our kids?  Why do we get up, and go to work?  Where do we meet other parents, smile, and feel like we’re part of something, folks?  Schools.  Jefferson recognized this.  So do all of us within education.  I’ve worked with innumerable students over the years, never once have I ever thought about seeing their vaccination records. 

This bill somehow made it past the committee along a party-line vote.  This isn’t party politics. There was a 13-hour hearing on this bill, with thousands of heart-felt written testimonies, and tremendous statements.  Opponents to this, they don’t deserve to be made fun of by ignorant memes on Facebook, chuckled at, or dismissed. 

What are we really doing? 

These are families.  Single moms and dads alike, working together.  These are parents, and these are kids.  This is the greater good.           

Since we now live in a society where we can’t simply ask one question;  “Do you support coercive inoculation?”  If that were the question, which it should be, the answer would be “no,” and the lobbyists could all go home.  The question has become convoluted by a sickening fear and smear campaign, fueled in the guise of a false notion of “greater good.” 

So, let’s back off and look at this again.

If we support kicking thousands of kids out of school because their religious and philosophical beliefs, are we still honoring that, “greater good”?   No, we aren’t.  We’ve started trampling down human rights. What would happen to the kids, the classrooms, the schools, after?  What have we become anyway? 

Our State Senator Dave Miramant saw the flaws in this bill.  So, he stood up and said so.  He just did his job.  Now, he’s taking a beating from within his caucus.  It is not easy to think outside of the box, and this is a time where he should be applauded, not demeaned.  We all agree on education.  Some may differ on the way it’s delivered, but it is vital to our society being remarkable. 

Folks, for me it’s simple, Maine can’t segregate out a group of kids, and coerce them into getting imperfect shots using educational access as the threat.  It’s just not the Maine way, this is heavy handed slippery slope, governing, this is the stuff that divides more than political parties. 

As Celtic Red Auerbach said, “There’s a right way, a wrong way, and no way.” 

This bill is the “wrong” and “no” way to treat our fellow citizens and children of tomorrow.  Please call your Representative at 287-1400, and ask them to stand up in opposition of this potentially disastrous legislation, before it’s too late.

Josiah R. Wilson lives in Port Clyde