October 23, 2019
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Friday, October 11, 2019: Quid pro quo and the Golden Rule, Trump abandons our Kurdish allies, addressing an existential threat

Quid pro quo

This phrase from the Roman Empire, can effectively translate as, “If you scratch my back, then I will scratch yours.” Romans believed if they wanted the gods to grant a favor, then first the Roman would favor the gods. If a leader considers himself a god (narcissist) then it would be natural to expect a favor from a mere mortal before granting a request. From theology to a widespread social norm in the empire, Quid pro quo sewed the seeds for the collapse of the great Roman civilization that ruled the world.

Our president has shown his words and actions to be self-serving, asking for favors and for the most part giving much less than what he received. Those unwilling to give what he wants are abased.

The practice of viewing everyone as having a priceless and equal value by virtue of being alive and unique in all the world appears foreign to our president. This ignorance harms himself and his relationships with others, while he gives more importance to himself than others.

The alternative is to honor our equality, and practice the Golden Rule, asking others to do the same for their own good, to insure all will be accepted unconditionally, with reverence given to free will, and a shared interest to work together for the benefit of all. Why live any other way?

The Golden Rule has been a cornerstone of world religions for 6,000 years. Our Founding Fathers declared independence from England, recognizing the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.”

What do we do, but declare independence?

Tom Gaffney
Stockton Springs

Trump abandons our Kurdish allies

Protecting our young people who risk their lives to defend our country does not seem to be considered by President Donald Trump when he makes foreign policy decisions by tweet.

Brett McGurk, working under Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump until last year, organized a coalition of 80 countries and two dozen contributors who gave money and fighters to defeat ISIS and now continue in stabilizing northern Syria. One of the most loyal partners were Kurdish fighters who died in great numbers defeating ISIS with the dedicated young men and women in the United States military. Thousands ISIS fighters are still in the area and in detention ( 12,000) and are ready to fight again as well as thousands of ISIS wives and children.

Turkey and Iraq want to squash the Kurdish people, who desperately want “statehood.”

Working with Russia, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has in one conversation by phone convinced Trump to abandon our military and our allies. McGurk and his boss, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, quit the Trump administration last year in protest.

“The [White House] statement tonight on Syria after Trump spoke with Erdogan demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of anything happening on the ground,” McGurk said Monday on Twitter.

Our young people who join the U.S. military need a commander in chief who understands the situation on the ground and will act to protect them and their partners and the security of the United States of America.

Carole Beal
Bar Harbor

Addressing an existential threat

Climate change is an existential threat. Maine is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation, and scientists have made it clear that we need to stop emitting carbon into the atmosphere by the middle of this century in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Maine is stepping up to that challenge. The state recently set ambitious targets to get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and is taking bold action to boost solar generation, electric vehicles, and efficient heat pumps. Transitioning to a clean energy future will create new jobs, strengthen our communities, and protect public health.

But we need comparable bold action from Washington. We need our elected officials to support a transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy and set a nation-wide goal for carbon neutrality by 2050 – and there’s a bill, the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019, underway in Congress that would do just that. This legislation would build on progress made at the local level that is already spurring clean energy development and creating more green jobs that drive our economy. As a champion of the environment and small businesses, Rep. Jared Golden should support this legislation.

Ethan Tremblay
Winterport

 



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