Feb. 24 Letters to the Editor

Posted Feb. 23, 2011, at 8:16 p.m.

School caste system

I’m a sophomore at Bangor High School, and lately, there’s been something bothering me and many other students, parents and faculty. We recently had a pep rally for the sports teams, and at the same time gave out awards called “All American” awards. These are for athletes with a good attendance record and good grades. While it’s great to honor these people, what bothers me is that there are many of us, including myself, who get good grades and have good attendance, who are not being recognized.

In my time here, we never have had a pep rally for or given awards to the people in band, chorus or drama. Or for the people who paint and sculpt beautiful works of art. Why are the athletes the only ones who are “All American?” Am I not an American because I act in plays instead of playing a sport?

One of the coaches at the ceremony told the rest of us that he hoped we could get the award too — that we had the potential. Why wasn’t he praising everybody for their own unique talents rather than making us feel insignificant, inadequate and inferior to the athletes? The arts programs, as well as all the other programs, should be given equal recognition. There is also a huge, schoolwide anti-bullying campaign going on right now, which is ironic, because we never can expect bullying to stop if we continue to reinforce the social hierarchy we’re trying to prevent.

Emma Howard

Bangor

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Social Security truths

The pilfering of our Social Security fund began more than 40 years ago when it was put into the general fund. This move made it possible, by law, to borrow from the Social Security fund when a surplus exists that is not needed to cover existing benefits. This “borrowed” money, covered by IOUs, is invested in government securities, then used to pay for other programs.

The surplus has grown so large that members of Congress find it difficult to keep their hands out this cash-filled cookie jar. They owe the fund more than $2 trillion. The problem is they have no way of paying it back with today’s shaky economy.

To cover their transgressions, Bob Herbert, in his Jan. 25 New York Times column wrote: “The demagogues want the people to believe Social Security is unsustainable, so they have dishonestly lumped together Social Security with Medicare and called it an entitlement program. The Economic Policy Institute explained that Social Security is not the cause of the federal government’s longtime deficit.”

We are being sold a bill of goods by those who have been trying to destroy the best-run program ever devised for the people of this country.

It’s time Congress stopped playing these nefarious games with our money.

This fiscal charade should be stopped.

Bob Roffler

North Yarmouth

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Hampden plan bullies

The comprehensive plan the Hampden Town Council passed unanimously in October is a plan to take away rights of property owners. The council’s vision is to bully property owners by not allowing them to cut wood, replace rotting decks, construct new barns, etc. We own our property and pay high taxes, but we’re not allowed to live our dream and enjoy our property.

They hide behind the excuse that they’re legislating democratically.

The fact that they do it by a majority vote has no moral significance whatsoever. Numerical might does not constitute right, no more that a lynch mob can justify its act because a majority participated.

We elect men and women to office, but we have to ask — to do what? To abrogate our rights? Restrict our freedom? Destroy our ability to protect our lives, family and property? The answer is a resounding “No!”

We elect representatives to uphold the Constitution and protect our rights. Our forefathers understood that certain rights were inalienable, God-given, untouchable by mere men. That’s why they delineated these uncompromising principles in the Bill of Rights. They knew it was necessary to “bind men down by the chains of a Constitution.”

When the council decides to steal our rights and plan to use their bully tactics through fines, fees, permits, lawyers fees etc., what’s the real difference between them and thieves?

I urge everyone to come out to the meeting March 1. Your liberty, freedom and property rights are at stake. Everyone in Hampden has a dog in this fight.

Cindy Philbrick

Hampden

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