AUGUSTA – For as long as anyone can remember, informally naming a virus after the geographic region it originated from or was discovered in has been a standard informal naming convention. (See: Lyme Disease; West Nile Virus; German Measles; Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; Ross River Fever, Guinea Worm and many more)
But this week, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Ryan Fecteau, decided that someone referring to the COVID-19 Virus in the same informal manner because it originated in Wuhan, China, deserved to be smeared as a racist.
However, the State Representative who Speaker Fecteau smeared is not backing down – and today released a hand-delivered letter given to Fecteau demanding an apology from Fecteau for the Speaker’s smear of him as a racist. Among other things, Rep. Lemelin, the target of Fecteau’s smear, takes Speaker Fecteau for task for “childish behavior”, “character assassination” and much more in the brief letter.
The letter, which Rep. Lemelin released after Speaker Fecteau told reporters that Lemelin had used a “racist trope” by referring to the virus as the China Virus, is published in full below:
April 12, 2021
The Honorable Ryan M. Fecteau
Speaker, Maine House of Representatives
2 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0002
Dear Speaker Fecteau:
I am writing to publicly call attention to your childish behavior and demand an apology.
You have publicly smeared me for stating that the virus came from China by calling me a racist.
Your actions recently to adjourn the Legislature in the midst of a pandemic are further evidence of your intent to silence the voices of people whom you disagree with and bully the minority into submission.
This type of irresponsible smear is part of the chilling pattern of oppression brought on by the arrogance of one party rule.
The Maine people will see through this and other attempts to use the pandemic to remove the constitutional rights and liberties citizens have enjoyed since our great country was founded.
Freedom of speech: the right to assemble, and the right to defend oneself are foundational to the Republic.
You, Mr. Speaker, are acting as an oppressor through smears and character assassination.