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March 13, 2009 Letters to the Editor

History of prejudice

In response to a recent letter defending traditional marriage: Prejudice and hatred have been two prevalent forces in American history. In the early years, especially in the South, blacks were considered less than full humans, based not only on social beliefs but justified by religious beliefs and institutions. The same prejudice was displayed toward women, with some believing they could not perform the same tasks or think at the same level as men, again, perpetuated by religious views.

As a citizen of the 21st century, I hope we have learned from these mistaken ideas. However, as with all history, without studying and learning from the past we are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

The discussion of homosexual marriage is merely the new prejudice with the opposing side citing religious and social beliefs as their reasoning for opposition. This is simply a legal matter, a union between two people with benefits and tax breaks. No government official is telling you what to believe.

Religious people and institutions need to understand that no one is stealing their institution of marriage; we simply need to extend the opportunity for the same legal rights and privileges to everyone in this country, regardless of sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is no more a deviant behavior, as the author contends, than heterosexuality. It is time to become a citizen of the 21st century and allow everyone of all sexual preferences the same rights, and more importantly, the same respect.

Shane Yardley


• • •

Save Fort from Friends

Rep. Mike Celli, R-Brewer, recently introduced bill LD 509 for consideration by the Legislature. This bill is designed to cede state administration of Fort Knox State Park and give complete control to the Friends of Fort Knox. This opportunistic move by Rep. Celli, a former president of the Friends group, is masquerading as a bill to save Maine’s budget $120,000-$160,000 a year. Regardless of the reason, this is wrong.

First and foremost, Fort Knox belongs to the people of Maine, not the Friends, and should be administered by the people of Maine. Second, where does the Friends think it can make up this money? You can bet entrance fees will increase, perhaps inappropriate use of this heritage site, and maybe even branding of Fort Knox will figure into reconciling the difference.

Just last summer Executive Director Leon Seymour and FOFK president Mr. Popper fought against posting signs noting free admission for seniors, declaring that the loss in revenue would cripple fort finances. Third, the FOFK is a private non-profit organization which means the public won’t even have legal access to its books.

Rep. Celli and the FOFK are attempting to garner ownership of Fort Knox at a fire sale price: for free. This is attractive to the state because of the current revenue problem. This is an outrage!

Let your legislators know you want ownership and administration of Fort Knox to remain with the citizens of Maine. Contact your legislators and speak out against this bill.

J. Gordon Williamson


• • •

GOP here to stay

As a registered Republican, I was at first disappointed to see the BDN climbing on the Republican-bashing bandwagon with a series of negative opinion pieces in the Feb. 23 issue. I strongly disagreed with writer Lawrence Lockman’s portrayal of Sens. Collins and Snowe as somehow locking out their constituents with their efforts to rein in the amount of the so-called stimulus bill and focus the money where it is needed in the country and especially Maine.

Then Bar Harbor’s lead basher of all things Republican, and particularly George W. Bush, Mr. Dan Lourie climbed on the bandwagon with a letter in the March 7-8 issue. Mr. Lourie would have all of the country march in lock-step with the new administration to the new American order devoid of any opposition from the Republican Party, which he desperately wants to dry up and blow away. I have news for Mr. Lourie, the BDN and Maine Democrats. The Republican Party is not going away, and we are here to obstruct this mad rush to American socialism.

He may believe that Republicans, George Bush and “the rich” are the cause of whatever crisis the media wants to dramatize, but there are plenty of us who don’t buy his propaganda.

Maurice Marshall


• • •

Thanks for winter help

On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service, I would like to thank customers for helping us keep the mail moving and our letter carriers safe from injury by paying extra attention to the condition of the approach to their mailbox this winter.

Every winter, letter carriers are seriously injured on snow- and ice-covered surfaces. They suffer broken ankles, fractured elbows and more serious injuries. The costs of injuries take a financial toll on the Postal Service and its customers. The costs of the average fall-related injury are about $4,300 in medical and compensation expenses.

Also, consistent mail delivery to customers becomes more difficult to maintain due to the absence of the injured employee.

This winter we asked the Bangor Daily News for its help in asking customers to clear snow and ice from the path to the mailboxes. We also asked that attention be paid to curbside boxes so mail trucks can approach the box, deliver the mail and drive away without the need for backing or exiting the vehicle. As a result, many more customers have been clearing, sanding and salting these areas to provide better traction to avoid slips, trips and falls, and fewer carrier injuries have occurred.

Thank you for taking steps to improve the safety of mail carriers this winter. It is making a difference in keeping our carriers healthy and on-the-job.

Bill Boughton

district manager, USPS District of Maine

• • •

Split the difference

For years I have pondered this question. There must be an answer. Can any reader give it?

Why not, instead of spring forward-fall back, just adjust the time one-half hour and leave it that way all year? There probably is a scientific answer. Or could it just be too simple a thing to do?

C. Cole Dickinson


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