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September 1 Letters to the Editor

Edited opinion

I first read of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death in the print edition and then went to the BDN’s Web site to read the posted comments. The vast majority of the comments were not flattering; Mr. Kennedy’s own words and deeds were very polarizing. The shear number of negative comments is very telling. I was one of the first to post Wednesday morning and reading the comments affirmed that my opinion was shared by the majority.

In the afternoon I went back to the comment section and most of the negative comments were removed. If someone were now to read the comment section they would assume he was beloved by all. The BDN has done a tremendous disservice to the community by removing the public’s true opinion.

Now that I have seen it happen I will question the veracity of anything that is printed in the future by the BDN.

Charles Graettinger


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Revisit gay marriage

Lawrence E. Merrill’s arguments (“Gay marriage promotes societal risks,” BDN OpEd, Aug. 24) against gay marriage, specious on so many levels, beg to be addressed. We are or should be increasingly aware that there are more than two genders and defining oneself solely by sexual proclivity or apparatus is limiting and inaccurate.

He writes that marriage is in part so that children “see how genders interact and learn their gender roles.” Is it not better to teach our children to be caring and thoughtful individuals regardless of whom they love? A single parent or two parents of similar gender have as much likelihood of passing this on as any heterosexual couple.

We have no innate knowledge of how to be a mother or father and the definitions of these roles are blurring. Men can show more emotion and women can go out in the world and take charge. The gender specific roles are no longer relevant. Arguing that a woman can’t teach a boy to be a father or a man teach a girl to be a mother makes no sense in this context.

Our strength as a species is that we have the ability to learn from our forebears, adapting to changing situations. Holding to narrow definitions of gender under the auspices of religion or social sciences indicates fear of that change. I celebrate the infinite diversity that is humanity and deplore the narrow-mindedness and fearmongering that are our greatest weaknesses.

Lynn Swiriduk


• • •

Liberal compromise

I am a liberal. In the struggle to reform America’s health care system, I maintain a strong preference for a single-payer system. It would be disingenuous of me to deny that such a plan is, in fact, a socialist program, but I do not fear socialism any more than I do capitalism.

We have lived for decades in the shadows of Medicare, the VA, and the Post Office, socialist programs all, and one would be hard pressed to lay blame for our current problems on the failure of America’s “socialist programs.”

Our reliance on the private sector to deliver health care has, for many, proved disastrous. I simply want a system that can equitably distribute care to all citizens and is sustainable. I can, however, appreciate the concerns of conservatives opposed to a single-payer system, for the exclusively private sector system they promote scares the heck out of me.

I am a liberal, and I vote. To deny the bone of a “public option” in a sea of private providers would be no less oppressive to liberals as the establishment of a single-payer system would be to conservatives. In the name of fairness, if private insurers are to be permitted to deliver health care, as conservatives demand, a “public option” is the compromise position.

I am a liberal, I vote, and I matter, too.

Michael Smith


• • •

Question FairPoint

Anonymous e-mail tips have no place on the BDN’s front page, and certainly not as lead stories. If readers cannot identify themselves, they should not be acknowledged in print.

Although a great many of us have had difficulties with FairPoint and sincerely wish for better service, the reasons for it deserve deeper inquiry before throwing more criticism their way. Has the newspaper looked into exactly what part Verizon may have played in the exchange of data and services during the takeover? Did they give accurate and complete account information? And how did Verizon influence the PUC, the legislators and the governor to allow the sale in the first place?

It’s entirely possible that Verizon could benefit from FairPoint’s failure, and I, for one, would like to know a whole lot more before FairPoint becomes history in Maine.

Joanne R. Devlin


• • •

Don’t bail out MMA

The Maine, Montreal & Atlantic Railway wants to abandon and have the state purchase rail line because it is unprofitable (“Legislators seek to save rail line,” BDN, Aug. 25). What they want is the people to pay for something that is going to cost them money which they will never get back, and then to maintain it at a loss so MMA can use it.

I would suggest that MMA donate the line to the state of Maine. All MMA is going to reap are the rewards.

Buying the rail line amounts to giving MMA $17 million. It will still cost the people of Maine $6 million to upgrade and then $2.5 million a year to maintain.

Contrary to popular thinking there is no such thing as free money. If you don’t believe me take a good look at your state and federal tax forms.

Terrance LeTourneau


• • •

Shelter crisis looming

I am writing to urge the city of Bangor to open more shelters before the cold weather gets here. I have written before asking for help for the homeless.

During these past few nights where it has been a quite chilly, we at Acadia Recovery Community have turned away a dozen or so people due to being filled to capacity. Fellow workers and I have been bringing in coats, sweaters and sweatshirts to give to the people being turned away because they are sleeping on the streets.

The other night when I left work there were about seven people lying on the ground in different areas of the property sleeping. They are also sleeping in cars. There is no place for them to go.

They need our help.

Elected officials must open their hearts and start helping these residents of this state.

Marylou Melvin


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