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Redeeming the American soul
Bangor High School’s attempts to fight racism must be intensive and communitywide. Remember Nicole Maines, the transgender student from Orono? Mostly one man caused a situation that resulted in a lawsuit settled for the Maines family in 2014, barely six years ago.
If diversity training is a video or one-off class, teachers will be no farther ahead than the troubled police departments. Also any committee must report to a designated diversity officer. It’s too easy for a committee member to dismiss name-calling with “I was called worse than that and I got through it.”
Every class should have a diversity component. In music, for example, it doesn’t take long to introduce western and Asian tonal systems, African drumming and Indigenous peoples’ flute playing. And include the barriers that women have faced trying to publish their music. In science, talk about past medical school descrimination. If a teacher knows this is required, the information can be condensed and then introduced at the opening session every year. Repeated? Yes. And keep adding truths such as that President Woodrow Wilson was an extreme racist.
Neither the United States nor Maine is wrong or bad because we shared a culture that in the past hid the truth or preferred silence. Yet it’s time to begin to heed John Lewis, who said, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and redeem the soul of America.”
Janet Mills deserves praise
Thanks to Gov. Janet Mills, Maine has recently been one of two states to be declining in COVID-19 cases. She recognized the threat and got right on it, and as a result, Maine can begin opening up when other states are shutting down. Sure, the shutdown hurt the economy, but not shutting down just means you wind up with an unhealthy populace and a wrecked economy. Look at Sweden, look at Florida, look at Texas.
Former Gov. Paul LePage, after leaving for Florida in part so he wouldn’t have to contribute to the public resources (he’s OK with taking our tax dollars as his salary), has come back and says he will challenge Mills in 2022 here. I can only say — bring it. Mills has her campaign slogan all ready to go: “She kept us alive.”
Call me old-fashioned
I believe in the U.S. Postal Service. They have a proud history, from the old days of the Pony Express, to the technical age of today. You can call me old-fashioned, but I still like to pay my bills by mail.
The idea that my financial business is floating around in space somewhere, susceptible to fraud or prying eyes, scares the heck out of me. What is scaring me more at present is that I have not received any mail for three days. Not even a grocery flyer. Nothing. I called the inevitable 1-800 number to find out what’s up only to hear that the pandemic is holding things up. “Please be patient.” I don’t believe that nonsense for a minute.
The scuttlebutt is we have a new postmaster general who is making us distrust the U.S. Postal Service, forcing us to pay bills online and local bills in person like my mother used to do. Will the bills I did get in the mail this month and sent back with a check enclosed even get to their destination? I envision phone calls from my creditors looking for their money. Will my good credit rating now suffer because of yet one more aggravation foisted upon us by our dysfunctional government?
This matter should definitely be investigated. If the pandemic is slowing things down, hire more people. Yes, I said “hire” not “fire.” There must be some vets out there who would like a job.