Letters to the Editor for Jan. 25

Posted Jan. 24, 2011, at 9:46 p.m.

Freedom of speech

I have been wondering all week about Gov. Paul LePage’s “Kiss my butt” remark toward the NAACP. I’ve been wondering why the Bangor Daily News is making such a big deal over nothing. Do the editors of this newspaper realize that the LePage family took a young Jamaican man into their family and now consider him to be one of their own?

Gov. LePage on Monday was to attend the funeral of a fallen Maine soldier. That to me was more important than going to other events. That soldier gave his life so that this country can be free and safe, and the same can be said of Rev. King.

Freedom of speech applies to every citizen in the state and country.

Jared Porter

Ellsworth

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Mental health choices

Public safety concerns renewed by the tragedy in Arizona are driving this latest discussion about mental illness, but this alone cannot direct public policy. Decency, compassion and the willingness to treat others as we wish to be treated should be valued as much as fear.

I have lived with my illness for nearly two decades. It has touched areas of my life and affected all those I love. My experiences should give pause to those who look for easy answers and mouth platitudes born of insincerity.

The economic downturn will likely bring changes to the state’s mental health services. Money is tight as it should always be when public monies are used. The conversation of what to do must include this. It must also include doing what is important to us as individuals and citizens. There are decisions to be made about the types of treatment, about how to best provide them and who qualifies for care.

An open, honest discussion about choices needs to take place and it needs to be a dialogue free of characterizations. As a man who has thought of himself as being literally branded with the word crazy, I caution you about living and thinking within the confines of labels.

Lonnie Gould

Bangor

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Too much to ask?

If the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, known by the Right’s wordsmiths as Obamacare, is successful, the American government cannot require participation by the populace and it will mean the end of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Compensation, unemployment insurance and other government programs requiring participation by the American populace which established a safety network for hundreds of million Americans for nine decades.

And, yes, we all know some have abused those programs, and that needs to be addressed.

The American health care system costs were out of control. Far from perfect, the current law, the Affordable Care Act, is better than the situation America was facing. The delivery of affordable health care had been ignored by Democrats and Republicans alike for years, whose inaction created a crisis.

Congress needs to openly address its differences on how to pay for a system that covers all Americans, recognizing there is no free medical care and no free insurance. It was bankrupting the country.

Let’s move America forward to a renewed greatness where “the people” are the focus — not political parties and not corporate conglomerates — but the American people. Is that too much to ask of Congress?

Charles Pray

Millinocket

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An ill-advised action

I am alarmed and deeply appalled by the ill-advised rush on the part of our House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. If this were to be done, it would cancel out a very important step in the right direction on the part of thinking and concerned human beings.

This repeal would add to the national deficit that we already carry. Within our state, it would seriously curtail medical services for the 252,000 seniors like myself, the 69,000 struggling families who have inadequate health services and 3,300 young adults who have no health insurance coverage.

It boggles my mind that our attorney general has taken action to join with other states in a suit against this act. Surely, the funds spent to join in this action could be better spent for more worthy projects.

We have been too often fed a line of untruths by insurers and people with vested interests so that ordinary people trying to make their way through their daily lives are unable to have even the meager help that the Affordable Health Care Act would provide. Thinking that we have the “best health care system in the world” does not mean that everyone who needs care is going to be able to afford to receive it.

Rev. Walter Woitasek

Steuben

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Brusque, fresh air

David Farmer’s column in the Jan. 20 BDN caught my attention in the plethora of media attention over the “kiss my butt” comment of the governor.

The “political truth of the matter,” to use Mr. Farmer’s own words, is that there is a huge difference between the political style of the current governor and the previous one whom Mr. Farmer served as communications director. Gov. Baldacci was the quintessential politician — glad handing, telling you what you want to hear, responding when the polls or special interests demanded but not always following up.

When SAD 37 marched on Augusta demanding attention to the rural school funding crisis, the governor and the education commission felt politically obligated to visit. Their performance was typical for politicians. They paid lip service to our plight, had not done their homework and did not take the time to find out what the truth was as we saw it.

Now, we have a governor who is clearly not the usual Augusta politician we have come to understand. He is blunt, un-political, often rude but a breath of fresh air and I have a strong feeling that the political climate in Augusta might just include the here-to-for ignored people of Maine.

Remember how many references he made to the “people” in his inauguration speech and the dramatic way he is reaching out to get feedback from the people of our state? His style, well, a bit brusque but fresh air. Sorry that your feelings were hurt, NAACP. Get over it. I truly think this man cares.

Peter Duston

Cherryfield

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Distracted by ‘butt’

Gov. Paul LePage’s recent crude remarks have served him well by deflecting attention from his cabinet appointments. Given the assumption there is a parity of women to men qualified for these posts, the odds against his picking all men as his first 10 appointees were over 1,000 to 1. Does this reflect a new Republican attitude towards women in government?

Gene Wilbur

Parkman

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