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Jan. 11 Letters to the Editor

Poetry justice

The BDN’s article about the raging poets in Belfast catches the eye but sours the stomach. The BDN would do well to promote poetry. Our local paper carries a poetry section.

I thank Mr. Hurley for being a poet critic; may his voice not be silent. He’s done a fine thing promoting the idea of Belfast Poet Laureate. Other communities would do well to follow suit.

I agree; there needs to be more input from your community. Guidelines are drawn.

Why not let your local poets submit some of their work to the committee? In turn, they will choose the nominees and a piece of their work to be displayed publicly. A public vote could be arranged. Is that too simple?

I tend to shy away from things that feel like selective justice. Our world is all to full of that. The laureate not only holds a head for poetry, but also holds the heart of poets. Many years ago, I took a class taught by Barbara Maria. I practice some of those lessons today. She will make a fine laureate. Please represent us all well.

Pamelia Spencer



A learned behavior

In the Jan. 7 issue of the Bangor Daily News, there is one letter from a conservative, another from a liberal. In effect, each blames the other for all of the nation’s ills. And each does it with nasty language. Expressions like “full of it,” “shoveled money,” “power grab,” “biggest lie” and “baseless baubles” scream out from both letters.

Why can’t these writers present their case in polite, soft-spoken sentences? Is it that they do not want to, or is it that they do not know how? Have we become a country unable to disagree amiably? Is rudeness an American epidemic?

In the same issue is a story of a teenager who, after being punished for driving a car on a school athletic field, shot and killed the school principal. Of course, we are appalled, but stories like it are increasingly common. Almost every day, one reads about people who behave as if all their problems are someone else’s fault, and whose solution is to get angry, get mean and get physical.

Where are they learning these attitudes? They are learning them from us, from the way we behave at home, in public, on television, at work and in politics.

Coincidentally, today I read a report of a neuroscientist who has discovered that rudeness is a neurotoxin and that it detrimentally affects the brain, which in turn detrimentally affects behavior.

Do we care? Or shall we just get angry and beat each other up?

Francis Sinclaire



Mixed martial message

I realize not everyone is a fan of mixed martial arts. And frankly, even though the president of the largest MMA organization in the world, the UFC’s Dana White, once lived here in Levant, I’m not thinking he’s ever going to see my letter.

However, considering how much Marcus Davis has done for the sport, including helping to legalize it here in Maine, I must say I’m disappointed that the UFC chose to release him as a fighter. I know Davis is very grateful for his time with the UFC.

I’m also personally grateful to White for giving Davis and a few other Mainers the chance to fight in the UFC. As a former amateur boxer and Toughman USA contestant myself, I can appreciate that it’s a tough way to make a buck.

Having said that, I think it’s a mistake when any professional sports organization chooses to let someone go who is an example of how a professional athlete should behave, conduct himself and represent their sport, whether they’re on the clock or not.

Marcus Davis brings credibility, heart, integrity and gratitude to the sport of MMA. I hope his time away from the UFC is short-lived, frankly, for both his and the sport’s sake.

Chris Greeley



Democratic dialogue

The tragic shooting of Rep. Giffords is a sad reminder of what can happen when people stop talking to one another and instead scream at one another. This past year, we have witnessed a ratcheting up of vitriolic nastiness as politicians sought to best one another.

This past election, Sarah Palin issued a map that detailed the races to win, using a target to indicate each region that was under attack and used the phrase, “Don’t retreat, reload” to motivate her minions, while Sharon Angle, then challenging Harry Reid for his seat in Nevada, said that if election didn’t work, then there might have to be a “Second Amendment solution.”

Whether or not they are to be held directly responsible for the shooting in Tuscon, it must be remembered that those were their words. Our politicians have an obligation to speak responsibly and with extreme consideration. We in Maine are not above hyperbole. Remember our own governor who said he would tell President Obama to go to hell.

Democracy requires dialogue. When dialogue dies, democracy can no longer continue. If we can no longer act with empathy as we speak across the aisle, if we can no longer recognize in the eyes of our neighbors our own concerns, and see not a caricaturized demon but instead another living being, then I am afraid we have no hope.

We must use this time to step back from the brink, to recognize people as people. If we don’t, inevitably, guns will be raised.

Nico Jenkins



Don’t repeal reform

As the House Republicans attempt to repeal health care reform this week, it’s important to keep in mind what is at stake for Maine. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Maine stands to suffer significant losses.

According to the AARP, 3,330 young adults in Maine who are now insured under their parents’ health plans would lose their coverage; 252,000 Maine seniors on Medicare would have co-pays for such critical preventive care as mammograms and colonoscopies; 9,797 Mainers in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” would remain stranded without the 50 percent discounts on covered brand name prescription drugs promised by the Affordable Care Act in 2011; Maine would not receive federal assistance to set up a private health insurance exchange, improving coverage and lowering cost for Mainers.

Nationally, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the Affordable Care Act will cost $230 billion in the first 10 years and over $1 trillion in the next 10. It is always important to weigh the benefits of legislation against the cost when determining the correct course of action; in this case, there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn: Maine can’t afford to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Christopher Urquhart



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