Trump makes America irrelevant
With his recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord along with similar actions, Donald Trump has indicated that the real goal of his presidency is not to “make America great again” but to make America irrelevant.
Looking through The Weekly (the Thursday insert to the printed edition of the BDN), I was very disappointed to see a persistent gender stereotype being perpetuated by the Question of the Week.
The question was “What’s the most exciting sport to watch?” and the six people whose answers were chosen to be published in the feature were all men.
Really? No one could find any women to ask about sports? We’ve had Title IX as a legal statute since 1972, but 45 years later we still revert back to sports as being the domain of men? Haven’t we made any progress?
Implement ranked-choice voting
Recent memory recalls rallying political voices loudly stating “take back the government [from special interests] and place it back into the hands of the people.” Well, the people of Maine have spoken clearly with a majority vote in a legal, upright electoral process that ranked-choice voting is the will of the people’s majority in the state of Maine. Overall, more than 388,000 Mainers stood up and clearly said, “Yes, we want ranked-choice voting” by marking their official ballot in the “yes” box.
This was a peaceful, clear, legally sanctioned determination of the will of the people of Maine. The vote is clear. The issue is clear. The will of the people is clear. So what’s the problem?
This is simple. Legislators must do the work necessary to make the people’s will the law of the land. Isn’t that democracy? Isn’t that their job as elected representatives, to do service for the will of the people? Otherwise, the people serve the politicians. Wasn’t that the structure of monarchies, where the people serve the king and his aristocrats?
They might not like the will of the people, but that’s not their call. If the wording isn’t correct, fix it. If the Maine Constitution needs tweaking, tweak it. Please, don’t use legal technicalities to suppress the the people’s will. Otherwise, what’s a vote for?
Take care of the planet
My mother taught me to take care of my things and to take care of other people’s things even better. Borrowed toys, tools and books are to be returned in better shape than when you took them in the first place. I suppose it’s part of empathy and emotional intelligence to pay attention to our individual and collective impact on things. That includes the world around us.
This wonderful planet that we inhabit is not ours. It’s borrowed from our children’s children, and we ought to take care of it and leave it in better condition than we found it. We know how, and we know why. It’s not OK that this great country of ours is abandoning its effort to help curb the impacts of living on this planet.
We’re better than this, and President Donald Trump is out of line claiming his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord will in any way be better for Americans, the planet or our children’s children. He is not a leader, and we need to do everything we can to stop him from making America and the planet worse.
Remember Poliquin’s health care vote
In 2013, I left a full-time job with benefits to become a caregiver for my partner who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. His wish was to die at home. The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies made private insurance affordable, so I was able to scale down to part-time work and provide full-time care for my partner until he passed away in November.
Without the Affordable Care Act, I would have had to continue full-time work, and he would have had to move into a nursing home, costing the state far more than in-home care. Even though I am no longer a full-time caregiver, I still benefit from the Affordable Care Act. I now have a pre-existing condition — sciatic nerve damage because of the heavy lifting involved in caregiving.
If passed, the American Health Care Act could make health insurance unaffordable for me. I will personally remember Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s vote for this heinous bill when the 2018 elections come around. Until then, I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to oppose any bill in the Senate that costs more and covers less.
America now unrecognizable
What happened to our country? One hundred thirty-three days into a new presidency, America has become unrecognizable.
Where we used to say, “Give us your tired, your poor,” we now fearfully reject those seeking safety from war, oppression and starvation. We used to be a world leader, setting an example for other nations. Now, in spite of accounting for fully a fifth of the world’s carbon emissions, we pull out of an agreement in which countries join together to address climate change. We publicly humiliate our allies and make deals with those who have hurt us.
Our public discourse has become abrasive, following the verbally abusive example of our new president, who creates derisive names for those with whom he disagrees. Our intelligence community, once well-respected, has been the target of a concerted discrediting campaign, and our press has been undermined and vilified for reporting the truth. Our president lies with impunity, and America’s institutions suffer an erosion of trust.
Barely four months into this administration, I barely recognize our country. In Donald Trump’s haste to neuter the achievements of Barack Obama, our country is suffering serious damage. I only hope that it is not irreparable and that America can withstand this president and his shameful policies. I hope that “America First” means more than “Me first, the hell with you!”