Some people, especially tea party folks, like to compare Gov. Paul LePage to former president Ronald Reagan. LePage compares very well to Reagan when it comes to socioeconomic violence against those he supposedly represents.
In 1981 a strange new disease appeared in two already discriminated-against populations: gay men and IV drug users. It was AIDS.
By 1989 more U.S. citizens had died of AIDS than soldiers who had died in Vietnam. The Reagan administration, along with many religious leaders, seemed to relish the thought that gay men and IV drug users, people they viewed as throwaway humans, were dying as evidenced by Reagan not speaking the word “AIDS” in public until he was asked about it in a 1985 news conference.
In 1988 a presidential AIDS commission spokesman stated that the government led by Reagan failed to take charge of the AIDS epidemic because of who the virus was infecting. This lack of action by Reagan resulted in the death of many more people than if action had been taken when the cause was discovered. I call this purposeful inaction social-economic violence.
We now see the same type of social-economic violence against our Maine neighbors, residents verbally deemed worthless by LePage. LePage delayed action to help nursing homes shutting down. He blocked MaineCare expansion and reduced food supplement support. He wants to take away general assistance from those who came to Maine to escape violence.
LePage and his tea party cronies act as though people living in poverty are throw-away citizens.
The socioeconomic violence against Mainers will continue until LePage is gone. In November, it’s up to voters. A LePage vote continues the violence.
The “dark side”
I was intrigued by Debra Plowman’s analysis of the “dark side” of Mike Michaud’s “obscure” service as our representative in Washington for the past 12 years. She points out that he has not been a Muskie, or a Mitchell, or a Cohen. As far as I can tell, however, none of these gentlemen is running for Maine governor this year.
She avoids mentioning the name of her party’s candidate whose political style is perhaps the precise opposite of Michaud’s. Michaud is thoughtful, respectful, patient and he listens. He has been willing to depart from the official Democratic position when it seemed better for Maine. He has spent his time working on the details, not on the headlines.
The political style of the candidate Plowman supports for governor need not be described to those who have watched in amazement as it unfolded over the last four years. Michaud and the incumbent governor offer Mainers a clear choice this November between two distinctly different styles of political leadership. As Plowman notes, the people will decide. It is likely that they will make that decision on what they already know about each, not on the basis of new attacks by partisans.
I am writing to voice support for independent Eliot Cutler as Maine’s next governor. Cutler began his career working for Sen. Ed Muskie and over the years has served the state in various important ways. Since 2010, Cutler focused his energy on increasing civic engagement in Maine, serving as president of the Lerner Foundation, promoting civic engagement in Maine — improving dialogue between those in public service and the people they serve.
He founded OneMaine, a nonprofit organization working to increase nonpartisan dialogue throughout Maine business, politics and leadership, with a goal of decreasing ideological battles we are facing in our state. Health care, downtown revitalization, money in politics and transportation have all been topics of OneTable forums.
Many people I speak with about Cutler acknowledge he is our best choice for governor, also expressing concern about a three-way election. Ironically, if all who felt that way spoke up, a critical level of interest would be evident, and we could have a governor who has outlined plans for business, education and health care to help Maine grow.
Remember, he is the only candidate who does not accept PAC money; he has no party to look to for support and is beholden only to the people of Maine. We are his support. If Maine residents act on their feelings and demonstrate their support, Maine will elect an independent governor with ideas to help Maine grow, who has focused his energies and interest only upon what is best for Maine and it’s residents.
I recently learned that of the 25 Maine volunteers who were tested for detectable levels of phthalates in their bodies, all 25 tested positive for phthalates. These chemicals have colloquially been referred to as “the everywhere chemical,” as they are used to soften plastic items like shower curtains, food packaging, children’s toys, etc. They are also used as fragrances in the personal care products found in any bathroom.
They have been linked to asthma, among many other mental and physical illnesses. I have asthma, and as any sufferer can tell you, even the most commonplace breathing disorders are horrifying to handle.
I have seen several letters now that have mentioned the Maine citizens’ proposal to have these chemicals labeled as priority chemicals. That means the Maine Department of Environmental Protection would have the power to collect information about which consumer products contain these phthalates. As of now, manufacturers do not have to disclose which products use these chemicals. I doubt many of us have even heard of phthalates; however, even shallow research into the topic could convince anyone that people deserve to know which products contain these chemicals.
There is a hearing to address the citizens’ proposal for full disclosure on Tuesday, July 29. This topic is urgent: I am asking the Maine DEP to listen to the residents of Maine who are asking for more information.