August 25, 2019
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Friday, Aug. 9, 2019: The kind of neighborhood we live in, Collins’ voting record, we need bold leadership on guns

The kind of neighborhood we live in

One April morning, a neighbor and his friendly, frisky puppy on a long leash strolled down Summer Street. We exchanged greetings. The puppy greeted my wobbly mailbox and, without much effort or intent, pulled it down. He was rather proud of himself.

The owner apologized and offered to fix the post, but I declined. The mailbox had been waving in the breeze for awhile and needed the rest it seized right then on the lawn.

My husband moved the mailbox first on his honey-do list and ordered a new base. Then he was hospitalized. The new steel base came, but he did not come back from the hospital.

The mailbox sunbathed on the lawn for another month. Yesterday morning it stood up — all by itself — and saluted.

Who did this?

I went to Beric. “Thank you for fixing the mailbox.” He said, “I didn’t. Brian did.” I went to Brian. “Thank you for … ” He said, “I didn’t. Try Richard.” Richard said, “I didn’t. Try Pete.” So, Pete: If you didn’t either … that’s the kind of neighborhood we live in. Would that everyone could.

Mary Louis Davitt

Hampden

Collins’ voting record

Trying to track Sen. Susan Collins’ voting record is like trying to thread your way through a maze.

Collins voted against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Then she voted for the president’s tax-cut legislation, which effectively repealed a central pillar of the ACA, the individual mandate.

In an uncharacteristic stem-winder of a speech, she urged confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Then she voted against confirming Wendy Vitter to be a district court judge.

A little to the left, a little to the right, and you find yourself going in circles.

There’s one vote, though, about which there’s no confusion. Collins voted to make Sen. Mitch McConnell the leader of her party in the Senate. With her party in the majority, that makes McConnell the Senate majority leader. His arbitrary and cynical leadership is a continuing disaster.

Collins’ vote for McConnell trumps, so to speak, all the others.

Judith Keenan

Deer Isle

We need bold leadership on guns

We know that the politicians will hold El Paso and Dayton, sites of two shootings this past weekend, “in their prayers.” We must also wonder — after Newtown, after Orlando, after Parkland, after Las Vegas — how many more killings have to happen before they have the strength of character and will to force a change in the laws.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have been in power, as our representatives to Washington, since well before most of these slayings.

This madness must stop. Far more Americans die each year from our own self-inflicted gun violence than from terrorist attacks. And yet, while both senators have offered words and supported some gun control measures, neither has ultimately provided the leadership that we so desperately need in these dark, sad days.

King described, on MSNBC in 2017, an assault rifle as “simply a semi-automatic hunting rifle in costume.” Collins, for her part, did introduce a compromise bill in 2016 which did not pass the Senate. But for all the power they have, both senators, it would seem, have achieved little more than offering prayers and condolences — and this is beyond shameful.

They must demand now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell return the Senate to session. Demand that he bring to the floor H.R. 8, a gun bill passed in February by the House (which Rep. Jared Golden shamefully voted against), but not yet taken up by the Senate.

They should ask themselves what Margaret Chase Smith would have done, and then do that. They should be bold and show initiative, and we will support them. Be weak and cowardly, and they do not deserve their jobs — or our votes.

Nico Jenkins

Blue Hill



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