As a journalist who has lived and worked for decades with documented and undocumented immigrants, refugees and farmworkers in Maine, Texas and California, I find it disturbing and irresponsible for the Bangor Daily News to print Jonette Christian’s patently untrue July 19 OpEd criticizing Democratic Party policies on immigration.
The Democratic Party has never embraced open borders, as the OpEd and its headline state. This is simply false. Such lies are extremely damaging to the prospect of an honest debate on immigration policy, and they feed anti-immigrant hysteria that leads to violence and even murder being visited upon honest, hardworking, taxpaying families that are valuable linchpins in our economy and in our aging workforce.
Poliquin unresponsive to concerns
Tim Gallant’s July 14 BDN letter to the editor assuring the voters of the 2nd Congressional District that his boss “listens” to his constituents and “respond[s] to everyone” is an insult to our intelligence. Listening and understanding are two separate skills. Poliquin’s staff may be listening, but there is little evidence they understand what they hear from many constituents.
A case in point, I wrote a letter to Rep. Bruce Poliquin several months ago raising my increasing concerns about the president’s attack on the press and the erosion of Congress’ role as a separate and equal branch of government constitutionally mandated to act as a check and balance on the executive branch. I expressed my view that the president exhibits little if any understanding of our Constitution and no inclination to defend it as required by his oath of office. I urged him to place country over partisan politics.
The written response I received over Poliquin’s signature was his assurance that he would keep the Republican promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. My letter did not mention health care. His “response” addressed none of the issues raised in my letter.
Poliquin is little more than a House toady whose positions begin and end with talking points provided by the Republican National Committee and House Speaker Paul Ryan. When he is sighted these days, he can be seen standing with his back to his constituents and a wet finger raised in the wind.
A first responder’s burden
The words of Knox County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tim Carroll in a Portland Press Herald article about the victim in a fatal crash in Union have stuck with me this past week and will not let go.
Carroll spoke about having to notify families when their loved ones have died tragically: “I don’t know if I ever do it right. I ask myself after each one if I could have done it differently.”
Our local police, fire and ambulance officials work hard to prevent tragedies, and when there is one they’re the first people there and the last to leave. And the work doesn’t end at the scene. First responders, as front-line caregivers, put themselves in danger every day not just physically, but emotionally as well. They’ve chosen to accept the burden of the stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger and doubt that go hand-in-hand with the already-demanding physical tasks of their jobs.
Many will suffer from compassion fatigue — post-traumatic stress disorder that affects caregivers who regularly interact with other people’s trauma. It takes time, hard work and a lot of self-care just to deal with one traumatic experience. And these courageous women and men get up every single day, go to work and pile more on top.
It’s not enough to just say thank you. They need to know that, as a community, we’ll share that burden. First responders like Carroll need to know that when they have to make a long walk up to a family member’s front door, we’re all standing there behind them.
Find bipartisan health care solution
Vice President Mike Pence has been sounding off about Congress, and specifically the Republicans not doing their job because they are not supporting TrumpCare or whatever they call the health care bill.
Maybe someone should tell the vice president that Congress is doing its job by not supporting it.
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to work with the Democrats to fix the Affordable Care Act if Republicans can’t pass a replacement. Heaven forbid that the Republicans and Democrats would get together on something, but isn’t that how it is supposed to work?
Shift to renewable energy
Increased tick populations and the rise of diseases they carry remind us every day of the threats we face with unchecked climate change. More of these external parasites risks our health and well-being. While the science has never been clearer, the Trump administration and their allies in Congress have been working to roll back climate progress.
That’s why I was happy to see that last week Rep. Bruce Poliquin joined the majority of the House of Representatives in voting to affirm climate as a threat to security by retaining a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Department of Defense to study the impacts of climate change on its operations.
Now it’s time for our leaders to move beyond studying the problem and work to cut the pollution fueling global warming and shift to 100 percent renewable energy.
Monument benefits outweigh negatives
As a former Registered Maine Guide (whitewater rafting) on the Kennebec and West Branch Penobscot rivers, I came to appreciate the Katahdin region in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then, but the natural beauty of the area remains timeless.
While not a full-time resident of Maine, I think the benefits of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and eventually a national park will far outweigh any negative effects. I am thinking of future generations and not some inconvenience folks in their 50s like me might have with it. We should all take a long-term view on things like this.