Monday, Nov. 26, 2012: The GOP, labor and religion

By  none, Special to the BDN
Posted Nov. 25, 2012, at 11:02 a.m.

GOP angels

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is right. As I waited to vote on Nov. 6, I saw many people I didn’t recognize. I live in a small town and notice this as I patronize local businesses and institutions. This is the American dream. We live where we want to.

However Webster’s reaction reminds me of the village scold, a tradition stretching back to ancient times. I am reminded of burning at the stake, Salem witch hunts and Jim Crow laws. We don’t like what we see and hear. Society is changing, not for the better, and we must resist any way we can.

Sadly the Maine Republican Party is in a sorry state. This older white male writer, unlike what most pundits think, will vote for progressive candidates who look to better our future as a society, rather than preserve the worst in us that some do not want to change.

As my demographic recedes from this great nation, we must look to the future of the American Experiment and how we want it to be. Narrow, bigoted and protective of a shrinking majority or inclusive, open and welcoming growing minorities?

Webster must be chastised for his egregious behavior if the Republican Party wants a future in politics in Maine and the nation. The importance of at least a two-party system cannot be understated. It is vital to insure a modicum of integrity and survival of who we are as a nation. Come on GOP, look for your better angels.

Larry Sweet

Hulls Cove

Unions losing strength

Maine’s striking Hostess workers say the collapse of the company is a strong message of union resolve. I believe that unions serve a purpose, but for the Hostess workers to say that the company’s collapse sends a strong message of union resolve is to be blind to the reality of the situation. The reality is that thousands of workers are out of work.

The reality is that the company was negotiating in good faith and laying its cards on the table. The union was not taking the facts into consideration. If the union accepted the pay cuts in order to keep the company afloat, they could have negotiated pay raises based upon future growth or profitability of Hostess. They might have negotiated some sort of stock ownership in the company in exchange for the pay cuts. There are so many options that other unions have successfully negotiated. In layman’s terms, the union cut off its nose to spite its face. A good union should be one that acts in partnership with the employer, and a good company acts in partnership with the union. From my perspective, this union did not act in the best interest of its members.

The only message sent is that unions are bad for the people and the country. I do not believe that is the message a union should send. No wonder unions are losing strength.

Jon Greenberg

Westbrook

 

GOP criticized Webster, too

The editorial in the BDN on Nov. 17 was right on the mark when proclaiming, “shame on Webster,” but it smeared the reputation of thousands of good Republicans who want him immediately ousted by adding, “shame on GOP.”

Many of us on the Republican State Committee, including GOP National Committeeman Mark Willis, have spoken out against Webster and his stupid tactics. The editorial did not mention that.

Please separate idiotic acts of one boorish individual from the broad body of people who are good citizens within the Republican Party. One would expect a higher standard from a newspaper that claims it opposes stereotyping. Otherwise, the paper justifies the cries of those who think the paper has a bias.

Victor Berardelli

Newburgh

The common denominator

Each morning, when I walk across Mainstream Bridge to tend my livestock, I am reminded by a sign to “remember me.”

I remember well: the slim, graceful girl who was my granddaughter’s classmate in Harmony, her mother who was a friendly day care worker for Heidi after school.

Amy Bagley Lake went on to higher education, married and had two children. She became a teacher in Dexter. Then she met with an untimely death, together with the loss of an entire family. Remembering and sympathy however, do not restore life. Some effort must be made to understand causes of family violence in order to prevent it.

Telltale signs are misunderstandings, lack of communication, income and education disparity, separation, envy, jealousy and threats. There is a need for clergymen to make house calls to families in distress, regardless of denomination or lack of one. The New Testament is about light and faith, forgiving and abundant life.

Violence and ruin stem from the purpose of a dark common denominator. No breath of life. Not one stone upon another. Ground zero.

Russell Vesecky

Harmony

 

Does the Bible really say that?

Contrary to reader Joel Weaver’s understanding, the Greek word translated in Romans 1:26-32 as “homosexual” may not be the correct translation. The first time the word was translated as homosexual was in the 1800s. Prior to that the word and meaning were disputed by New Testament Greek scholars variously as “pederast” (pedophile) or “boy prostitute” (pagan temple prostitution was common at the time). Just to be clear, I am a 56-year-old Bible-believing Christian, a member of what can only be classified as a conservative denomination, and I am a social conservative (if I have to be called something). I am also a student at one of my denomination’s colleges. My major is Bible and Theology.

The New Testament today is a fairly accurate translation of texts that come to us from a drastically different culture, era and languages (Greek and Aramaic). Translating Greek is much more a matter of interpretation and educated guesswork than it is precise translation. There are known errors in the texts; there are known edits by later translators; there are words and phrases that simply have no English equivalent. What we read in English Bibles is often (and I stress often) not the intended meaning of the texts as originally written.

For me there was more than enough “doubt” about the word homosexual in the book of Romans, and elsewhere in the Bible, to vote yes on Question 1.

Steven Zahm

Hermon

 

Competing for shelter

Hurricane Sandy destroyed many homes. Many are homeless. Volunteers went to these areas. Where will the volunteers stay? The homeless may be competing with the volunteers for what remaining shelter is available.

Louis Batas

Orono

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/25/opinion/letters/monday-nov-26-2012-the-gop-labor-and-religion/ printed on April 16, 2014