A tragic image
This past week, a young man killed a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy, and a huge manhunt took to the streets to capture him. This happens all the time in cities throughout this country with little notice, but in Maine, a manhunt is big news.
This particular hunt was featured on ABC News with a picture of the accused, John D. Williams. This picture was of a skinny, unkempt and terrified young man, his body on the ground and a policeman holding his head up by the hair, his skinny body clear for all to see.
My understanding has always been that one is innocent until proven guilty. As good as it was when they captured this frightened person alive, it was the handling of him physically that was so disturbing and inhumane.
Looking at the photo of this tragic person with his head lifted by his hair so we can see his sad face, I am reminded of our larger issues and our humanity, including mental illness, the opioid epidemic and that this person is someone’s child, deserving of our concern and care.
It will matter when we see how much desperation is here and how our kindness might matter. It will change if we respect these people who are struggling with mental illnesses and think of ways of making life reasonable here, providing food, love and work.
To do this, we need to be deeply grounded in our humanity toward all people and realize that if one of us suffers, we all suffer. Our job is to never let the subtle abuses become ordinary and to speak up when we see them.
St. Clair for Congress
It isn’t often one is afforded a front row seat to history. I was privileged to have that opportunity in my role as president of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce leading up to the designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
I, like many other residents in the region, was skeptical of the idea. I reluctantly went to meeting at which Lucas St. Clair spoke. He spoke as an outdoor enthusiast, hunter, hiker and paddler. By the end of the evening, the skeptics, me among them, were spellbound and captivated by the idea.
That is the essence of St. Clair, a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District: passionate about our state, confident engaging with people who agree and disagree with him, and persuasive in his arguments.
Beyond that seminal evening, I also had the honor of witnessing him speak before Congress. He was authentic, poised, and composed in the face of questioning by opponents of the national monument, which included disparaging statements by our governor about the land, his family and our region.
I have witnessed St. Clair “working the halls” of Congress, listening intently to what people want to know — not just what he wants people to hear. This is what sets St. Clair apart from many people, most politicians and all challengers.
It’s time our congressman listened and acted on our behalf. It’s time the needs and desires of the 2nd District were respected over big money lobbyists. It’s time for St. Clair.
Hills for House District 97
I am so impressed with Caitlin Hills, candidate for Maine House District 97, which covers Belfast, Northport and Waldo, that I have changed my longstanding voter registration as an independent to Democrat, so I can vote for her in the June 12 primary.
I have not known Hills long, but I have seen her remarkable desire and ability to listen and respond with intelligence and compassion to a wide variety of viewpoints during several community listening sessions. Her experience as a working single mom, law-school graduate, advisor to a U.S. senator on environmental issues, author of legislation that actually passed, longtime community activist, life-long Democrat and chairwoman of RSU 71 School Board, enable her to articulate common-sense, workable positions on our most pressing problems, such as the growing costs of education versus rising property taxes. In these give-and-take sessions, young and old were amazed at her thoughtful grasp of every issue.
I wholeheartedly endorse Hills’ views on critical protection of our environment; making the state pay its promised share of education costs; common-sense, effective gun policies; affordable, quality health care for all; protecting voter rights and initiatives; increased affordable housing; fair state education formulas affecting local property taxes; full gender, racial and sexual equality; practicing fiscal responsibility; and expanding post-secondary education and opportunities.
We are lucky to have a woman of Hills’ ability, experience and passion step up to the difficult, time-consuming challenge of campaigning to represent us in the Maine Legislature. She deserves our support.
Where are the Republicans?
Where have all the Republicans gone? Where are their outcries over a Republican president who is undermining many planks in their party’s platform?
Free markets have long been the war cry of Republicans. Much spitter and sputtering went on whenever they perceived former President Barack Obama was “picking winners and losers.” Now, as President Donald Trump continually attacks a growing, thriving company such as Amazon, and seems to favor one industry over another, there is a deafening silence from those Republicans.
The deficit was always of greatest concern when Obama tried to reach out a helping hand to the working men and women of this country, tried to align our country with other countries in health care, education and environmental initiatives. The Republican voices cited high, growing deficits as reason enough to not go forth with many of his initiatives. But suddenly there is money for long-term tax cuts to the richest and a temporary tax cut to the masses. Trump’s tax cuts will add considerably to the deficit. Where are the outcries?
Lies too numerous for us to keep track of have been leaving Trump’s lips almost on a daily basis since his election. Blatant lies repeated about immigrants, the economy, voter fraud, what Obama did and didn’t do, and lately Amazon. Where are those Christian Republicans? Why are they not calling him out?
Hypocrisy shouldn’t be partisan. Honesty shouldn’t be partisan. Facts should not be partisan. Where have all the Republicans gone?
Tonya L. Troiani