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Sept. 16 Letters to the Editor

Different stimulus

It’s clear that many members of Congress are not representing the interests of their constituents but instead serve special, mostly corporate, interests. So, while members decide whether or not it’s possible to provide health care to all Americans, we should call for their health care plans to be suspended.

After all, isn’t it their job to figure this stuff out? Then, after they pass a bill into law that provides the estimated 45.7 million uninsured with health care, they too will be eligible for coverage. But not until.

I’m sure either of our senators would be happy to introduce such a bill. And I bet we would see a newfound vigor to reach across the aisle and deliver a plan.

John Hafford



Canadian health care

Thanks to the BDN for the recent articles regarding the Canadian health care system, which has been maligned with distortions, half-truths and outright lies by many of the vested interests in our country.

My wife and I recently vacationed in the Maritimes. It was a great opportunity to sample a cross section of Canadian health care consumers. I asked these questions of 47 people I met during our stay:

What is your opinion of your Canadian health care system?

Is the taxation for your system unfair or excessive?

Are you receiving full value of services for taxes paid?

Forty-five of 47 were either generally or enthusiastically satisfied. Two exceptions: One had no use for the system, because she hadn’t seen a doctor in over 18 years nor used the system. The other was dissatisfied with long waiting periods in doctor’s offices.

None felt the taxation unfair or excessive and believed they were receiving full value for services rendered for taxes paid. Some noted a shortage of primary care physicians and nurses and waiting periods for elective treatments, but felt the primary care provided more than offset this problem.

Some quotes from Canadians:

“Our system has its shortcomings, yes, but at least I won’t lose my home and everything I own because of illness.”

“Of course, we’re highly taxed, but at least we’re getting full value for our dollars.”

“I wouldn’t trade our system for yours.”

Barry and Lorie Darling



Animal management

John Holyoke’s Sept. 12-13 column, “Hunters’ success rate is high for bear season” included this line: “lack of natural food sources make for [bear baiter’s] banner year.”

I’m missing something here. Sportsmen are celebrating not the thrill of a challenging hunt, but a handicap of their adversary. The action is not bad, because the number of bears is reasonable, and this is the important criteria. The bad thing is that this mindset to me does not denote a sportsman.

All animals need to be managed, excepting, of course, any feral or free roaming housecat, which should be trapped, neutered and returned.

Frederick Gralenski



Hope over fear

I am at a loss to understand the controversy regarding President Obama’s speech to students. In anticipation of the speech parents were keeping their children home from school in spite of the fact that the entire content of the speech was about staying in school. What on earth were those fearful parents expecting to hear?

I hope they have been duly humbled by the content as it played out and embarrassed by their premature reaction. But sadly I doubt it.

One parent was heard to say in advance of the speech, “I don’t want my child being any community organizer.” I wonder if that parent even looked up the definition of a community organizer or simply made a partisan judgment based upon political leanings. How sad to be so uninformed.

There is such a division in America, such partisanship, that we ought to be ashamed. It was evident the president wanted to endorse the efforts of our children and encourage them to strive for excellence no matter what their circumstances. We adults would do well to honor that request too and to go one step further in giving our president encouragement and support. I hope we will urge politicians to stop worrying about their next election and do what is right for our country. Does anyone out there hear what I hear — the sound of hope floating above the fear?

Jennifer F. Sylvester

New Limerick


Overreaching church

Linda L. Nelson’s OpEd (“Standing up to church leadership,” BDN, Sept. 12-13) is timely and to the point. As a Catholic who years ago left the church due to conflicts with the political body, I returned to the church to attend Mass and worship God in a faith that holds deep meaning for me; but again find myself conflicted with the over-reaching political arm of the Roman Catholic Church.

Lately, the message from the pulpit is one I believe is in direct conflict with

the teachings of the Christ, Jesus. Jesus tells us to love one another and to lead others by living a pure life, not through the propagation of fear and the judgment of others. A church that abides by Jesus’ teachings leads by example, showing tolerant love for all people — even those who, in secular or

other faith communities, choose to enter same-sex marriages that are

in opposition to Church doctrine.

The Maine Marriage Equality law allows for those who love each other and want to bind that commitment through a civil marriage that ensures all the rights and privileges of that legal commitment. No church is required to perform a marriage not allowed under its catechism by Maine law now, nor will it be after the Maine Marriage Equality law is enacted.

I thank Linda L. Nelson for her words and urge all Maine Catholics to

join Catholics for Marriage Equality and all the voters in Maine to vote No on Question 1

and keep Marriage Equality intact.

Ed Oechslie



Backs gay marriage

My niece married her partner several years ago in a big flowery traditional setting with a Christian minister who celebrated this coming together just like the heterosexual couples in her church. Friends and family gathered about, made toasts, and in all respects recognized this as a legitimate marriage even though the government wasn’t involved. The law doesn’t drive changes like gay marriage. It follows. Once enough gay people start having socially recognized marriages, the law will eventually catch up.

There are countless organizations already recognizing gay marriages, perhaps under euphemisms like civil unions. Whether Maine legally recognizes gay couples or not won’t alter the number of gay couples setting up households, raising children and calling themselves married. The law will affect whether they get the same legal protections, which in the name of fairness should happen, but the law will be irrelevant when it comes to people actually joining together.

I’ll vote during the referendum, but I won’t fret if the law continues to lag because I know love between two people will exist regardless of what any legal piece of paper might say. In our recent past, gays lived in the closet, Jim Crow laws permitted bigots to practice racial discrimination and women struggled to get accepted into colleges because society “knew” women should be stay-at-home moms with their focus on raising kids. The changes ending those traditional beliefs happened because enough people decided they could no longer support the bigotry. Eventually that will happen for gays.

Ron Turner


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