Moving to the animal farm

Say, have you read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” lately? I used to think it was just an allegory about Soviet Russia, but I’m not so sure these days. It seems to me we might be heading there ourselves.

Barbara Conroy

Portland

Collins support for Sessions a mockery

I write to express my deep concern about Sen. Susan Collins’ support of the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. attorney general.

Rather than promote her friend for the highest legal office, Collins should work for the people and block approval of a nominee whose record shows such reckless disregard for our most vulnerable communities.

There are myriad reasons to fear the incoming Trump administration but Collins’ decision to support this nomination is especially troubling. I fear for the safety and security of women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, or from communities of color.

Like many other Mainers, I am truly disappointed in Collins’ defense of this man’s record and her blatant mischaracterization of questions of his record as “attacks” on his character. Where was Collins when such attacks were being made against gays, people of color, people with disabilities, Muslims and women during the long and arduous presidential election?

Collins’ support of Sessions does not represent the values held by Maine people, and it makes a mockery of her reputation for being “moderate.”

Aislinn Canarr

Winterport

Take responsibility

How do we formulate our values and opinions despite a raging media and political presence in our lives?

Individuals are impressionable regardless of age, educational history, social status, and so on — even if their parents were hippies. As humans, we have an inner yearning for someone or something to tell us what is morally correct and more importantly, who to blame for failure and discord. Blame has become instinctual for most, because when we take accountability for listening to our inner voice, we run the risk of shifting that responsibility toward ourselves when things don’t go right. Admitting our mistakes and misconceptions is emotionally painful and exudes vulnerability.

In our current world where our president-elect denounces immigrants, people of color and disabled persons, how do we teach our young people to take accountability for their values and beliefs instead of absorbing political propaganda? How can we continue to perpetuate a beautiful culture that was founded upon diversity and freedom?

Initially, we must teach ourselves and others to acknowledge and accept our feelings. Typically, before and after a behavior, experience or thought we attach a feeling to it. If that feeling is not hopeful, loving, inspiring, empathic, forgiving and tolerant, then maybe we aren’t participating or supporting the “right” thing. Are we adopting someone else’s standpoints up until they do something that is no longer accepted by the masses in order to avoid inevitable vulnerability that comes from taking responsibility for ourselves?

Anmarie Reed

Brewer

Trump must divest business interests

While we all hope for the best from the Trump administration, there is reason for concern about Donald Trump’s judgment. His history reveals a need for attention and adulation; great attachment to his business interests; speaking and acting impulsively, especially when challenged; and sometimes acting on the basis of simplistic understandings and incomplete information.

His behavioral issues place an extra burden of responsibility on Congress. In addition to providing a check on policy initiatives, Congress must now be vigilant and ready to respond forcefully to any presidential actions that are exceptionally ill-advised.

One such exceptionally unwise decision is Trump’s refusal to divest himself of his businesses. His intense attachment to them indicates how very important it is that he divest himself completely. Continuing to own his businesses while in office sends the message that the favor of the U.S. government may be for sale. His international business interests will certainly benefit from the fact that he holds office, and he likely will be in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution from the moment he is sworn in. The motives behind every decision he makes will be questioned at home and abroad, compromising his office, his authority and the national interest.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin must let Trump know that anything less than complete divestiture is unacceptable and will result in prompt initiation of impeachment proceedings.

Stephen McKay

Orono

Collins no Margaret Chase Smith

The support that Sen. Susan Collins has shown for Sen. Jeff Sessions, the nominee for U.S. attorney general, is hardly a moment of conscience. She has, now without a doubt, shown that she is no Margaret Chase Smith. I don’t understand how this “moderate” Republican can betray her constituents in Maine so shamelessly and without regard.

We will be watching Collins closely, and if she thinks we will forget this moment in a future bid for office, she is gravely mistaken.

Terry Dubois

Milford

How many people is enough?

Stephen Mihm in an article in the Jan. 7-8 BDN suggested that we need to make America mate again. How about we figure out how to get along with each other as individuals, religions and countries before we encourage making more of us. How about we take seriously the dreadful impact our species is already having on our planet. How about we decide to share what little unspoiled habitat is left for species other than Homo sapiens. How about we prioritize quality of life versus quantity of life.

That we choose to take better care of the existing multitudes before mindlessly advocating for more. How about we learn to live with an economy that doesn’t need to keep growing, like a cancer, or an economy with gainful, meaningful employment and adequate nutrition for everyone. How about we acknowledge that infinite economic growth on a finite planet is suicide. How about we ask ourselves, how many people is enough?

Kathleen VanGorder

West Tremont

A symbolic protest

Has anyone suggested this idea as a symbolic protest to the values expressed by Donald Trump? We all buy postage stamps picturing the U.S. flag and place them upside down on our letters for the next four years.

James Richards

Shirley