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Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015: Act on Clean Elections, compassion for refugees

Leaders must act on clean elections

I am again proud to be a Mainer. On Nov. 3, the voters spoke. They want a Clean Elections system. Republicans, Democrats, Greens and independents all want solutions to reduce the influence of big money in politics. We, the ordinary citizens, want to be heard by our politicians.

During the fall, I volunteered for the Question 1 campaign, and the work, I realize, does not stop here. We need to make sure our elected leaders listen to and act on this initiative. This is a nonpartisan issue. I believe it is important for us, the ordinary citizens, to press leaders to act now to implement and fund the law.

A Clean Election system is fundamental to our democracy. It affects each of us and our ability to be heard by our leaders. Join me in using our voices to advocate for accountable elections in Maine.

Louisa Beckett

South Portland

Have compassion for refugees

Photographs bring a story closer. I have read much about the Syrian refugee crisis, but when I saw the photo-essay called “ Uncertain Journeys” by Ashley Gilbertson, an Australian photojournalist, that recorded three weeks on the Greek island of Lesbos, I saw it in a new way.

Her pictures made me understand this crisis with my heart. Faces marked by elation, worry, fatigue; a young mother changing her baby in a field; and a man, squatting down to be eye-level with his toddler son, talking to him to comfort him. Photographs convey a story that is missed in the barrage of words we receive every day.

That story inspired in me a compassion and love for the humanity of people that makes them try, against so many odds, to find a life for themselves and the families they love. They are looking for a life in which they can survive from day to day without the constant threat of dying from violence. Most of us have not lived that reality, but we do understand the need to protect our families, and our passionate love for them.

As a resident of Maine, I ask that we negate the message given by our governor and so many others that we are fine just the way we are and we don’t want strangers here. Can we instead send out the message that we are grateful for how fine we are, and that gratitude inspires us to want to share with others, even others whom we do not know?

Carolyn Bower

Surry

Refugees a threat

I find it amazing that people can look at the same set of facts and come to such divergent conclusions, but I suppose internal filters can accomplish anything. Side-by-side with Matthew Gagnon’s well thought out assessment, I found David Farmer’s wishful thinking and incredible leaps of illogic, which compares the current caution about bringing into the U.S. a mob of military-age males who look like they have been well fed and working out for the last year to the Know-Nothings and lynchings.

Does Farmer understand the threat at all? Nobody with a heart is really against helping displaced widows and orphaned children. But when you have an enemy who is doing the kind of things we have seen in Paris and other places lately, it is not being “driven by fear into an age of unreason.” It is merely cautious defense of our own women and children that motivates us to insist that the gates be guarded.

Until he can come up with the “bibbity-bobbity-boo stick” that will let him see who is really a “refugee” and who is a soldier of the caliphate, Farmer should probably stick to topics he knows something about.

Michael Knowlton

Searsport

No pictures of dead animals

The Bangor Daily News should stop publishing photos of people smiling over dead animals they’ve killed like it did in a Nov. 20 article. It’s ugly. I don’t care if it’s a Maine tradition, there is nothing to celebrate here. If people need the meat to survive, fine. Just don’t subject me to their gloating over their trophy.

Kendall Zeigler

Eastport

 


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