August 22, 2019
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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017: US troops in 177 countries, don’t pity white men, climate change denial

White men still rule

I was shocked to see the story by Danielle Paquette of the Washington Post titled “ White Men Feel Left Out At Work” in the Oct. 24 Bangor Daily News. At first I thought it was a headline from The Onion, and still have a hard time believing it is not satire.

I work as a sexual assault counselor and educator, and have seen countless times how the feelings of white men have taken priority over the lives of anyone else, especially women of color. Brock Turner, the notorious Stanford rapist, got a limited sentence and was released early. There is outrage over Harvey Weinstein’s dethroning, as his career and status is more important that the well being and livelihood of the women he has assaulted. White men are insulted that football games are interrupted by black men protesting their own decreased lifespan, but are not similarly upset at the constant killing of black and brown men and women.

White men’s feelings continue to be the center of our concerns, distracting us from the real issues of sexual violence, police brutality, racism, endless war, poverty, lack of health care, and so on. We live in a society where white men have historically held societal, financial and systematic power over women, children, queer people and people of color. As historically oppressed people gain more power, and white men cannot hold the reins as tightly, of course they will feel threatened. As long as we continue to focus on their feelings, we are not working toward a reality where the lives and safety of oppressed people are given the same concern.

August Sender


Paradis for Belfast

I served as mayor of Belfast for more than eight years. I know what’s involved in the job and what it takes.

Nearly two years ago, I met Samantha Paradis and she expressed interest in running for the position. At the time, I was wrestling with my own decision as to whether I’d run for mayor or Belfast City Council this November. After getting to know Paradis, observing her service and leadership talents over these last two years, my decision was made easy and I focused on running for a fourth term of Belfast City Council.

I am endorsing Paradis and will be voting for her on Nov. 7. She’s a registered nurse, Maine native, is leading Aging Well In Waldo County, and is extremely hardworking: She has knocked on more than 3,000 doors in Belfast, meeting and speaking with Belfast residents. She’s young compared to me, but she’s old enough to care for critical care patients in a hospital. If she was in the military, she’d be leading troops.

I can recall a time when three very effective councilors had an average age of 25 and lead some of Belfast’s most important changes we still enjoy today. I believe that Paradis has what it takes to be an inspiring mayor. We face big challenges: Growth, taxes, housing, energy and she will help lead on all these issues and more. On Election Day, I will vote for Paradis for mayor of Belfast.

Michael Hurley


Hiding climate change

Recently, headlines have assaulted our sensibilities, but news we probably haven’t read is worth noting because of its dangers to all of us. President Donald Trump continues to nominate people intent on destroying the agencies they represent, and continues his assault on free speech by increasing the censoring of information we all need.

Kathleen Hartnett White has been nominated to head the Council on Environmental Quality, initiated 50 years ago by Republicans to advise the president directly on critical environmental concerns. White has described climate change as “ paganism for secular elites” and denies that CO2 is a pollutant — it’s “the gas of life on this planet.” She has the president’s ear and clearly intends to push for the destruction of our present environmental policies.

As for censorship, three scientists slated to appear at a symposium on the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program in Rhode Island were forbidden to appear, to deliver keynote speeches and even to attend press conferences afterward. Along with the removal of climate information (paid for by us as taxpayers) from all government websites, this move by Scott Pruitt and Trump’s fossil fuel industry-run Environmental Protection Agency is so blatant that it should have been headline news.

In the Middle Ages, malaria was thought to be caused by bad air. In the 1600s, Galileo was punished for asserting that Earth orbits the sun rather than the other way around. During the Ebola crisis, doctors entering a remote African village were murdered for uttering the word. This country and the planet’s health and survival demands that we act responsibly. Knowledge is power and this president wants to take that power away from us by dumbing us down.

Beverly Roxby


Why is US in Niger?

Why are American soldiers dying in Niger? Why do we have nearly 200,000 soldiers deployed in 177 countries? Does President Donald Trump even know where the troops are, and what they are doing?

Who is running America and making policy? Is anyone controlling the American military industrial complex? I’d really like to know.

Steven Roth

Swans Island

Why Gen. Kelly failed

As the daughter of an Army officer, I enjoy reading Sarah Smiley’s column. Her Oct. 25 BDN column, “Politicization of the military leads to worthy questions,” raises a number of important issues and overlooks others.

There was not much in Gen. John Kelly’s remarks that garnered “immediate applause from military families,” including Smiley. Kelly’s advice to President Donald Trump about what to say to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson sharply focuses the appropriate and challenging role of casualty notification officers, who are trained to carry out a most heart-breaking role. This is why most presidents have chosen condolence letters to bereaved military families.

Moreover, Kelly’s performance at his White House news conference was a spectacle unbecoming to any White House representative, most especially a four-star general. Promoting falsehoods, on behalf of his president, and failing to correct his errors, only added to the sordidness of the entire fiasco of not honoring Johnson — or his comrades-in-arms — whose deaths have had no mention by Kelly of Trump.

Finally, I guess the past practice of the military personnel not behaving politically, has been put to rest by Kelly.

Phyllis Merriam


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