Monday, April 29, 2013: LePage, prayer and Biden

Posted April 28, 2013, at 12:19 p.m.

Lack of leadership

I am increasingly dismayed and disappointed by Gov. Paul LePage’s lack of effective leadership in regard to many important matters impacting Maine citizens.

There is no legitimate reason for the governor to threaten to withdraw his support for the newly formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission established to address past injuries imposed on young Maine Native American children.

For years, tribal children were forcibly taken from their families of origin, deprived access to tribal culture and support, and placed in substandard foster care. Emotional, physical and sexual abuse was far too often a grim reality for these children.

The memories of these traumatic events continue to haunt these now-adult victims. In an effort to address these concerns, the state has acknowledged its role in this tragic and misguided policy. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will provide a way for state and tribal participants to be heard and for relationships to heal.

LePage’s recent decision to possibly deny support of the commission is disingenuous. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap was chosen to serve on the commission because of his highly regarded experience with both state and tribal relationships. I suggest the “conflict of interest” LePage refers to has more to do with Secretary Dunlap being a Democrat.

Maine deserves better. Wake up, LePage, you still have time to rectify some errors in judgment, but not much.

Linda Hayman

Otis

Marathon prayers

On the westernmost corner of the Hopkinton Green lies a circular stone trough about 30 inches tall and 30 inches in diameter. I have walked by this trough to view the start of the Boston Marathon since 1958. On April 16, I went back to the Hopkinton Green to try to understand how the joy of the previous day could have gone so hellishly wrong.

As I walked past the trough, words appeared that I had never noticed before, carved into the side of the stone. I looked down with my grief. I read the words again and again: “Blessed are the merciful.”

I had seen the horrific photographs of the bloody scene at the marathon finish. Though not a religious man, I found myself on one knee, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. During this prayer for the maimed and the killed, I stopped and wondered whether I should include the killers. I did.

I asked for the hate to leave their hearts. I recited the prayer until the words, “As we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I realized we were not going to forgive anybody. We were going to chase them down and kill them. Kill them, before they had an opportunity to maim and to kill people, in joy, again.

I am not sure I finished that prayer last Tuesday. I do believe it was merciful to stop the killers in any way possible, to protect people, in joy.

Donald Grillo

Exeter

Don’t interpret the dead

I recently read the interview of Vice President Joe Biden’s views on gun control as conducted by Field & Stream magazine.

Biden is like so many who wish to interpret our dead ancestors’ intent regarding the exact meaning of the Second Amendment. He trivializes this question by saying we were never intended to own tanks, jet fighters or machine guns.

How could Biden read a dead person’s mind? I can barely read his, and he is still breathing.

The authors of the Second Amendment were crystal-clear: The right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Our forefathers did not qualify it further.

Who shall have the arrogance or the temerity to limit my freedom? Whoever does is either an oppressor or a sanctimonious fool. Apparently we are awash in sanctimonious fools or wannabe oppressors. They are most numerous after horrific slaughters like Sandy Hook. Emotion replaces wisdom, and they begin the old mantra, “There oughta be a law.”

With our rights comes responsibility — the responsibility to control our passions. Is Biden really saying, as so many do, that he cannot leave this up to our free will? That eventuality is covered by the severe penalties for acting against the public good. Those penalties are prescribed by law. Enforce the law.

Biden seems to miss the point that criminals and lunatics are always with us. No law can remedy that. Only a wise application of law can separate the lunatic and criminal from his freedom to act irresponsibly.

Frederick J. Mendel

Sherman

Passion vs. emotion

Emotion is not passion. It is so easy to be touched by injustice, tragedy or a sense of duty but quickly transfer what might become passion into that which is emotion. To be upset, angry and feel one’s emotions flaring is the great escape from the deeper possibility of action, which passion would provide.

Emotion will divert our energy, will assuage our focus and ultimately move us from action to empty threats. Recently, the efforts of a few in our country who are profiting on the violence in our culture and spreading fear to protect their deceit have caused the government to follow its fear and not the desire of the vast majority to address the problems of violence.

Listening to the news recently, instills in me a sense of duty to speak up, address this injustice and stand with those affected by deep tragedy. This shadow to passion, emotion, can quickly seduce my energy and need to respond, and dissipate my action into puddles of ineffectiveness.

Passion knows when to be still, knows when to bend, knows when to wait, and most importantly acts fully and with deep conviction and total commitment when the moment is at hand.

Peter Jenks

Thomaston

Recycling electricity

In reference to Steve Colhoun’s BDN letter on April 25, his last paragraph about recycling is simply this: We need to go back to crushed paper for packing. It can then be burned as mixed fuel to generate electricity. This will free up more space at the dump.

Peter Carminati

Stonington

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