Monday, Nov. 7, 2011: Occupy Wall Street, bath salts and clean elections

Posted Nov. 06, 2011, at 4:18 p.m.

What’s going on

What Americans accept as the political process is a farce at best, a disgrace at worst. Wild card candidates, greedy businessmen, religious zealots, preposterous in their complete lack of integrity and their ambitious self-interest.

Instead of policies we get “talking points” invented by handlers. TV’s no help, blathering pundits reporting a horse race – who’s ahead this week, who’s down. No investigation whatever of the person’s experience, background or plans. Funny, when we go for a job, they want to know those things.

Of course most candidates are really for the same stuff: more defense spending, go easy on Wall Street, more war, more corporate breaks and sweet deals. Of course corporations provide not only most of the political dough, they even run the “debates.”

Politics is a battle of interests, camouflaged as a contest of philosophies. A few at the top call the shots. In the end you get two choices: pretty bad and really bad. We call this a democracy.

Occupy Wall Street is partly about our corrupt political system where the people’s will is ignored for the higher calling of wealthy elites. By keeping choices as narrow as possible, the outcome is assured. More of same. And neither party is about to change anything.

Squeezing the last nickel out of us seems to be the modus operandi of both. The protesters are not going away. Winter may dampen spirits but in the spring they will no doubt turn on the gas. Americans are sick of Wall Street tycoons planning their future servitude, and the phony political parties they endorse.

Dennis Lopez

Rockport

Substance abuse help

In my job as a nurse working with homeless people I have recently been in contact with many who are currently medicating themselves with bath salts. The people I have met are not only homeless but have been previously diagnosed with a mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar, chronic depression, PTSD).

I have read many horror stories of people using bath salts and trying to tear their wrists open. Then, recently, I learned of a woman who tried to remove her teeth with a knife. The people I met need help.

I have not witnessed this type of reaction and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I am saying there is a desperate need for more mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, not less. The waiting period to get in an in-patient treatment program is often more than six months. Money should be used to help them, not to buy Tasers. Putting people in jail who need mental health services is ludicrous. The jails are not set up to help mentally ill people.

Lynne Kelsey-Smith, R.N.

Lubec

That ship has sailed

When are people going to face the truth about the American economy?

Since that first boat landed in California 40-odd years ago and started unloading thousands of foreign autos, the end has been inevitable. Besides a few economic bubbles that burst as they should, the economic power we knew has slowly worked toward this point.

You can blame anyone you wish, but nothing would have stopped the world economy from overtaking us.

Jerry Robichaud

Bangor

Grateful mom

I am a mother of a deployed soldier currently serving in Iraq. My son told me today that his first stop back in the U.S.A. will be Bangor. He said the people in Bangor greet the troops with “thank you” signs. He went on to say that the “greeters” were there no matter what time of day they landed.

It brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you so much for your love and dedication to our soldiers. It is appreciated by our troops and their families.

Judith Rovzar

West Barnstable, Mass.

Make voting convenient

After my wife and I called for absentee ballots (we are not absent), it dawned on me that in a city of over 30,000 people there is only one place to vote and it is not in the center of anything. We might as well be voting in Hampden, driving to the Civic Center, especially with the ingenious design of the traffic flow from the East Side.

Common sense dictates there should be at least two places to vote, one east and one west. I must have been asleep at the switch when the change was made. I wonder if city officials know what divides the city into east and west. With everything on the November ballots, it definitely would be more convenient and take a load off the clerk’s office to use two places.

I realize that common sense seems to be a thing of the past and also understand the need to save some money in this crazy age, but come on, only one place to vote? In the 39 years our family has lived in Bangor, we walked to vote 99 percent of the time and now have forgotten a few times and have to request an absentee ballot, which costs the city money to send out.

The clerk’s office stated that they get a lot of requests from the East Side. I am sure some residents say, “Aw, the heck with it.” Voting is supposed to be convenient. Please make it so.

Ed Hamm

Bangor

Keep it clean

Clean Elections allows our state elected officials to truly represent the voters in their district.

Candidates who run for office raising big campaign contributions will, at minimum, be tempted to prioritize the interests of those giving campaign cash when it comes to governing. Oftentimes, those writing checks are from outside the district or, in some cases, the state. I would like to see more candidates run using Clean Elections in the 2012 legislative races so we ensure our representatives and senators are acting in the voters’ interests, not wealthy outsiders.

To do this we must have a strong replacement to our Clean Elections matching funds system struck down by the Supreme Court this summer. Without legislative action to replace this part of the law, fewer candidates will see Clean Elections as a viable way to win their race and, as a result, fewer will run using our first-in-the-nation law. The outcome will be a greater number of legislators seeking big campaign cash and tainted representation once elected.

I was glad to see this shared sentiment in the recent BDN editorial, “Saving Maine’s Clean Elections protects independent thinking,” Oct 27. We need our lawmakers to act in the interests of the Maine voters who enacted this law in 1996 and make sure our law is more attractive to those seeking public office than ever before.

William Hall

Lincoln

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/06/opinion/letters/monday-nov-7-2011-occupy-wall-street-bath-salts-and-clean-elections/ printed on October 25, 2014