Christopher Columbus deserves a holiday
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one disappointed when Gov. Janet Mills and the Maine Legislature decided to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day for the state of Maine. As far as having a day for indigenous peoples goes, I think it’s a good idea. But I disagree with replacing Columbus Day for two reasons.
First, it lends itself to the false narrative that Christopher Columbus and the other early explorers were all bent on genocide against the native inhabitants and that all of the indigenous peoples were benevolent and peace-loving. An honest review of history will show that neither is true. We all know that many injustices have been committed against natives in our history. There’s no denying it.
But there’s also no denying the many positive things that have happened, beginning with the Spanish explorers. For instance, before they arrived, the Aztecs were sacrificing thousands upon thousands of people from neighboring tribes to their “sun god.” That stopped with the arrival of the Spanish explorers.
Second, eliminating Columbus Day takes from view a reminder of Columbus’ amazing accomplishments. He is hailed as the most intrepid and famous explorer of all time for sailing west from Europe into the unknown and bringing civilization and Christianity to the New World. If that doesn’t deserve a day on the calendar, I don’t know what does.
I hope we never stop teaching our children about Columbus and his famous journey with his three ships — the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria — and that they will learn the simple rhyme that we all remember: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
Collins tax vote hurt
How does it make you feel to read the study showing the wealthy pay a lower tax rate than us middle-class citizens, “ Billionaires paid lower tax rate than working class last year,” (BDN, Oct. 11)? Sen. Susan Collins’ vote to approve the Republican tax bill, in my opinion, is the worst vote of her tenure. She could not have hurt us more.
Trees, not power for Massachusetts
In an Oct. 9 letter to the editor, Paul Gray seems to suggest that ruining the Maine woods is the preferred environmental energy alternative to fossil fuels. On the contrary, the environmental choice would be to tell Massachusetts energy users to use locally deployed solar power and to reduce their consumption through conservation measures. Those would be much less costly and are the solutions to climate change, not cutting millions of trees to erect electricity transmission lines.
The Maine woods are not for the taking to supply energy hogs in other states.
Credit unions work for Maine
Many government programs are trying to address Maine’s economic challenges. We have an aging population, more jobs than qualified candidates to fill them, and far too many families struggling to put meals on the table. Government assistance helps, but we cannot rely on it alone.
This is where we come in — the owners and managers of businesses throughout the state. Since Oct. 17 is International Credit Union Day, I wanted to share what Maine’s credit unions are doing to grow Maine’s economy.
Earlier this year, Maine’s credit union network launched a strategic initiative designed to improve the financial lives of all Mainers. The plan helps people own their future, take control of their finances and make meaningful contributions in the communities where they live. With a focus on three pillars — economy, community and people — we hope Maine’s credit unions’ initiative will serve as a positive catalyst for change.
We just established a new loan program to encourage more skilled labor training. We also are strengthening our already deep commitment to raising money to fight hunger. And we are doing more to ensure people of all ages and from any nationality have the tools they need to manage their finances, access sound financial services and prevent fraud.
Maine’s credit unions hope other businesses will be inspired by our efforts. By working in partnership, we can help ensure Maine remains a great place to live and work for generations to come.
President and CEO
Maine Credit Union League