Founders and reason
It’s clear from letters to editors, reporter interviews, informal conversations and such that the drive to outlaw same-sex marriage in Maine was a drive led by Christians; by clergy and their flocks. Success in that effort is viewed by most as a victory for Christians. And that’s good, or so some do say, because “after all America is a Christian nation.” They are mistaken. America is a secular state painstakingly organized as such by the Founding Fathers. It is not a theocracy.
Intellectuals of the 18th century saw themselves as freed from the tyrannies of the church of the Middle Ages, from inquisitions, trials of witches, massacres of heretics and corrupt clergy by the triumphs of reason; by the examples of Kepler, Euclid and Newton. Consequently, the 18th century is variously called “The Age of Enlightenment” and “The Age of Reason.” No more powerful message of that sea change was ever delivered than by Thomas Jefferson when he chose to reference “Nature and Nature’s God” in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson could have said, and we would have expected him to, simply write “God,” but he didn’t. He told the world that it was nature, not Scripture; nature’s god, not the god of inerrant Scripture, that justified change.
The way things are going we may want to burn the Declaration of Independence well, come to think of it, the Constitution also.
Proud of rural Maine
I am proud of the rural Maine voters who supported Stand for Marriage in Maine. Marriage is an honored tradition and has been for thousands of years as a uniting of one man and one woman. It is not just a Maine tradition, or a U.S. tradition, but it is a world tradition.
We straight folk do not hate homosexuals, and we want them to have their civil rights as well, and this can be done outside of a marriage ceremony. They can have civil union ceremonies. As far as living in an hostile state is concerned, perhaps they should try living in a country (and there are some) who really are hostile, and will not allow homosexuals to exist at all.
I am proud to say that I voted yes on Question 1. It is my equal right to have rights also. The preservation of traditional marriage is a right that should not even have been in question.
We are definitely reminded every day about the existence of homosexuality, and we are berated constantly about how unfair, and prejudiced, and hateful we, as straight couples, are. Yet, in our society, I do not find that the homosexuals are shunned, rejected, or exiled but they are integrated into the community — not on reservations, not separated as the blacks were years ago, and not exiled as were the Jews from country after country. We need a reality check here.
Thank God for rural Maine.
Wrong on health care
People need to pay attention to the proposed health care bills being considered in Washington. What most aren’t paying attention to is that the government option is not free to the majority of Americans — it will cost you between $6,000 and $15,000 depending on if you are single, married, have a family, etc.
President Obama compares buying health insurance to buying auto insurance. In a recent interview he said that “Everyone has to get auto insurance.” He’s wrong — not everyone has to get auto insurance. You only have to get it if you own a car and there are millions of people who don’t own cars. It’s unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate that anyone has to purchase anything. This is simply a grab at 17 percent more of our economy.
Obama and his liberal friends have no interest in taking incremental steps toward reform — tort reform, allowing for true competition between states, and cracking down on the reported $500 billion in Medicare fraud that he says will help pay for the plan — why aren’t we cracking down on this already? Instead, he want to grow government quickly, take away more of our freedoms, and continue on the destructive path toward socialism.
The Senate version of the health care bill has a hefty penalty for not purchasing insurance — the president is in favor of this penalty. Not paying the penalty will ultimately result in jail time. This must be part of Obama’s jobs plan — build more jails.
Folk festival solution
The Folk Festival in Bangor is one of the most popular and worthwhile events in Maine. We have attended most every one. Here’s my idea: Sell memberships throughout the year starting in January. You could have several categories of membership and you would receive some kind of gift item for your contribution. For in-stance: For a $10 membership you’d receive a pin that you could wear on your clothing, or a patch that you could sew on your jacket; for a $20 donation you would receive a hat, and for a contribution of $30 or more, you’d get a nice polo shirt — not a T-shirt. All these items would display a very colorful crest of the Folk Festival in bright colors.
The Bangor Daily News could have an application on the corner of a page every day from January to August. Think of the advertising that would provide for the festival — people would be reminded of it daily. I think people would be proud to be members of the Folk Festival. On the logo should be written something like: Member Folk Festival, 2010 Bangor Maine. The logo should be bright and colorful to attract attention.
I’ll guarantee that the Folk Festival committee will approach August with a surplus of funds instead of the usual panic. Most people in northern Maine will support this and many who can’t attend would be glad to say that they’ve done their share.
Bangor has become a destination for us in northern Maine. We like to go for the shopping, entertainment, sports, and events such as the Folk Festival. And we don’t mind the drive. We’d like the festival to continue, and I think the pre-sale of memberships is the solution.
I am in complete agreement with Larry Litchfield’s assessment of that strange and complicated situation in Afghanistan (“Our strategic efforts should be focused on Pakistan,” OpEd, Nov. 12). Those people do not understand what democracy is all about. What they do understand is “rule by gangster bosses.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK has already stated that Britain needs to leave Afghanistan — sooner rather than later. A retired Canadian Army general has just written a book on Afghanistan and is campaigning to get Prime Minister Stephen Harper to make that decision now, not later.
Our own leadership is in denial about the facts of the case. Contrary to common sense, they plan to send more U.S. troops over there.
Let’s not forget that Pakistan’s army is the only organized force capable of keeping the Taliban and al-Qaida out of the mountain caves that hold atomic weaponry. We do need to help Pakistan and also to preserve the peace with India, which is easier to do today because of the major shifts in trade and economic leverage that weren’t there a few years ago.
Obama, help Peltier
After President Obama’s meeting with 386 tribal Indian nations, (“Obama to renew relations with Indians,” BDN, Nov. 6), the president stated: “I get it. I’m on your side.” It would be reassuring if the president could listen to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his support to free Leonard Peltier. The justice system allowed “fabricated and utterly misleading circumstantial evidence” in his 1977 trial. Much essential background pertaining to this case was excluded, including much of the government-instigated violence in and around Pine Ridge Reservation. It seems sadly suspicious that even his appeals have been turned down.
President Obama, as a new voice of American government, can certainly soften not only Native American but also all American government paranoia.
According to Barack Obama’s own admittance, he is an “outsider,” who is connecting with the struggles of all Americans. In the name of justice, President Obama can commute that sentence.
Let’s make sure Leonard Peltier will not be forgotten.
Donald A. Joseph
Snowe: It’s time
While traveling through southern Maine last week, Sen. Snowe stated that she has argued against what she calls “artificial time limits” on health care reform. The issue was first raised 100 years ago by Theodore Roosevelt. Our current health care debate is almost a year old now.
She also told constituents that she opposes a public option and favors a trigger option. I think that Anthem has pulled that trigger by suing the state to ensure that its high profits continue. This action should make it clear to her that affordability and increased coverage are not priorities for them. The insurance industry as a whole has already promised that rates will increase because the penalties imposed on people who can’t afford insurance won’t be heavy enough. If this isn’t enough to convince the senator that the need for a public option has already been triggered, then I would like to hear what it would take.
She spoke about her concern that the most commonly purchased policy for small-business owners is one with a $15,000 deductible. I am glad that she understands the kind of burden that places on small-business owners in Maine. I hope the ad that appeared in the Bangor Daily News Nov. 13 will help reinforce for her that we have waited long enough for reform. Denying the public option in favor of a trigger option will only delay relief even longer and force many policyholders to drop coverage when Anthem proceeds with its promised rate increases.