Find our better angels
The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about an Illinois primary declaring the “centrist” candidate won. The divisiveness and polarization in America has among other things broken our common understanding of our language. One person’s “centrist” is another person’s jerk.
While winning the next election is crucial for both parties, if our democracy is to survive, it cannot be the ultimate goal. Elections create winners and losers. We have to have a system that will allow the majority to set the course of government while at the same time providing a meaningful role for the minority to participate in the process. In England, there is a long tradition of the role of the “loyal opposition.” Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill were committed to their own ideological values, but this famously did not stop them from sharing a drink and working together.
How do you bring back civility, comity and sense of commonality among our politicians? We cannot expect this to happen in Augusta and Washington, D.C., until we, the public, can first do so in our daily lives.
Gun violence a public health crisis
On March 24, led by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students and their loved ones, took to the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities and towns all over this country to demand Congress enact legislation to prevent gun violence.
These young people have shown incredible leadership and courage in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
We pediatricians are incredibly proud of the students in Florida, Maine and all around the country leading the national conversation on gun violence, and we support their endeavors.
Every day, 46 children between the ages 1 and 19 are shot in this country. Violent attacks, homicide and suicide account for most of these shootings in older children and adolescents. Younger children fall victim to accidental injuries, most of which are preventable with proper gun storage.
Gun violence is a public health epidemic that uniquely affects our country, and our students have figured this out and they are asking the adults for action to save lives.
Members of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics offer their full support. Children deserve to feel safe where they live learn and play.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Support ranked-choice voting
Voters should vote yes on June 12 on Question 1, the people’s veto to restore ranked-choice voting. I will use ranked-choice voting in the June primary and will vote to tell our Legislature that I want ranked-choice voting.
The people’s veto overrides a law passed by the Legislature last year to delay this needed election reform. It brings the voter-approved law into constitutional compliance by not applying it to general elections for the Maine House and Senate and governor. Ranked-choice voting was never in conflict with the U.S. Constitution and does not violate the “one person, one vote” principle, as opined by the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.
Ranked-choice voting gives more voice and more choice to voters. It gives the voters more power, which is why some politicians are vehemently opposed to it. We have a citizen legislature. They don’t know better than those of us who voted them into office. Over 388,000 people voted in favor of ranked-choice voting in 2016. Let’s not let the Legislature get away with rejecting our will as a simple suggestion they can change or eliminate at will.
We rank choices every single day. I look forward to using ranked-choice voting in our primary on June 12, and I will definitely vote “yes” on Question 1. Let’s tell our Legislature we demand a better voting system that gives us all a stronger voice in our government.
Ranked-choice voting good
Governing and decision-making bodies most often are composed of odd numbers. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court is composed of nine justices. Odd numbers are to assure majority rule and avoid deadlock.
A democratic government is one supported by a majority of the populace. Unfortunately, our elections no longer provide for a democratic government.
That’s because, despite the fact that there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for political parties, two well-funded and incorporated major political parties with opposing views now dominate government.
George Washington denounced parties as a horrid threat to the republic. Two incorporated sports-team-type political parties have concluded that winning is what the game is all about, not representative government.
These two major political parties, at public expense, place their candidates on the primary ballot. Nonparty voters whose numbers are greater than the population of either of the two major parties cannot vote in those primaries and non-party candidates find primary ballot access made more difficult by design.
Majority rule is prevented in the primary process and thus a “democratically elected government” cannot be achieved in the general election.
There is a groundswell of opposition to this business as usual. And a movement for restoring majority representation has begun. The June 12 primary election in Maine will be held using ranked-choice voting. Voters will have now more choice.
Pruitt must go
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent more than $100,000 on pricey luxury travel and $43,000 on a private phone booth in his office while advocating for steep reductions in EPA’s enforcement office. The EPA was created to protect our land and the families who live here. Without this agency, a lot of programs will suffer.
We need to move Pruitt out of his position of power and replace him with someone who actually cares about our country. The EPA is suppose to protect people, not polluters. Our country has been working so hard to go green, go solar, recycle and do many more things to help slow down global warming.
Why do we have a man in charge who wants to shut down all the progress we have been making? He is using our taxpayer funds for unnecessary reasons. For someone who claims he has nothing to hide, a soundproof booth seems a little suspicious. I want my tax dollars to go to helping our environment, not to Pruitt.