End sexual abuse

In our generous community, we pay it forward. Recently, I attended a community forum dedicated to this act. Community members and service providers shared their stories of individuals in need who received something with the hope that they pay it forward when they could. These touching stories brought many of us to tears, inspired us and garnered an overwhelming sense of good will.

While I listened to story after story, I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of survivors who have recently come forward to share their stories of sexual abuse, assault and harassment. Famous perpetrators are being called out for their atrocious behavior — only because brave and courageous women came forward to say #metoo. This is the greatest, most effective act of paying it forward I’ve seen in my lifetime.

What better way is there to help another person, to give them a safe space to use their voices to relay their experiences with sexual abuse, assault and harassment? Every woman who has spoken up has unknowingly paid it forward for the numerous survivors who have been silenced. The disclosures that we are witnessing shouldn’t stop until the abuse does. As a nation, we need to keep listening and demand justice.

Amanda Cost

Orono

Trump gets pass on harassment

I watch on TV, day after day, prominent men being accused of sexual harassment toward women and being dismissed from their jobs. Yet, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, the highest office of our land, has the same accusations from many women and yet he gets a pass. Please will someone explain how that can be? I consider myself anaverage intelligent women but for the life of me I can’t figure this one out.

Estelle J. Bowden

Bucksport

Tax bill will cause harm

The Senate tax bill was rushed through without time for analysis or well-thought-out input. There was no real attempt to make the bill bipartisan. Economists overwhelmingly stated that the result will not be growth, but a massive deficit. It is wealthy corporations and individuals who will benefit, while everyone else likely will lose social benefits like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that will be cut to reduce the deficit.

As a physician working for many years in Maine, I was particularly concerned about ending the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which would lead to market instability, higher rates and millions unable to afford health insurance. Surely a “win” achieved by passing this bill is not worth the drastic consequences.

Philip Elkin

Stonington

Tax bills reveal GOP agenda

The tax bills revealed a lot about the Republican agenda. They would result in millions losing health insurance, reductions in Medicare funding, and increased taxes on college students, while doing little or nothing for low- and middle-income workers. Both would substantially reduce taxes paid by the wealthy and big business, and exempt the wealthiest from estate taxes. Both would greatly increase the nation’s debt, leaving that burden to tomorrow’s working people.

Like the Affordable Care Act repeal bills, the tax bills represent a completely partisan process — produced by a small group of men, with no Democratic input, allowing little time for consideration, expecting all party members to fall in line.

The message could not be clearer — the national Republican Party serves the interests of wealth and power, period. The goal seems to be to return to a plutocratic order, something like the class structure of the antebellum South. If you buy the ideology, there’s no need to harden your heart, because those with little have all that they deserve. Increased income disparity is just and desirable because “haves” are inherently more valuable and important than “have nots.”

Stephen McKay

Orono