Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be watching the Republican convention
Rarely do I find Matthew Gagnon with anything significant to say; his column last week, “Political conventions don’t matter,” is no exception.
His assertion that today’s political conventions are “pointless, meaningless, self-indulgent wastes of time that no longer have any real significance” is somewhat cogent, but his attempt to seal the case with his conclusion that people watching either the Democratic National Convention or Republican National Convention “have already made up their mind in the election, and want to experience the self-affirming warmness of validation in that decision” is way off the mark.
To be clear, I am unenrolled and have been since 1968. I hardly watched any live coverage of this year’s COVID-abbreviated DNC, but you can bet your last Roger Stone Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card that I won’t be missing any of the upcoming Trump reality circus that the RNC will certainly provide us.
With many leading Republican figures coming to their senses — albeit three years too late — and opting out of participating in this horror show, others along with the president himself will certainly provide entertainment we won’t be able to keep our eyes off. Sort of like trying to drive by a highway wreck without looking.
So Gagnon, who seldom hits the nail on the head with his commentary, comes up with another sore thumb. Contrary to his assertion, millions of us concerned with the possibility of four more years of Trump inanity, incompetency, and destructive policies will be watching the RNC. Fox News will certainly cover it, but I expect to watch it on the Comedy Channel.
Rodney L. Hanscom
Maine’s failed leadership
The people of Maine deserve responsible legislators who will address, fix and resolve issues and problems and serve us. Unfortunately, the Maine Legislature’s “leadership,” including both Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon, have failed to do so.
Under their leadership, the Legislature adjourned more than 150 days ago. I believe both Gideon and Jackson have shirked their duties and their responsibilities during this COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, Gideon seems to have abandoned her responsibilities as House speaker while running for U.S. Senate.
Where is her “leadership” and action on all state issues? AWOL, that’s what! Do we want more of the same thing? No. We need better, more responsible and accountable leadership in Maine. We don’t have that with either Gideon or Jackson. We need real leadership to responsibly continue reopening Maine businesses, libraries, career centers, etc. and do the necessary work. Both Jackson and Gideon have failed to do so, sad to say.
The Legislature and its leadership must reconvene, and belatedly address, fix and resolve many of the challenges and issues involving Maine state government and services (or the lack thereof). That includes reopening Maine career centers for in-person services, and addressing and resolving the ongoing disaster of non-payment of unemployment insurance weekly claims to claimants that legitimately claimed their benefits.
Lastly, it is time for meaningful problem resolution with better, reformed services for the people of Maine. With all due respect, “failure is not an option.” Time to fix it all.
Anthony pardon a publicity stunt
Susan B. Anthony intended to make a spectacle of her arrest for voting in the 1872 presidential election to draw attention to women’s suffrage. While the federal marshal hoped he could transport her to the U.S. commissioner’s office quietly and privately, she demanded to be handcuffed and boarded a public streetcar for all to witness. Anthony worked tirelessly for years to win the right of women to vote and, I believe, would have vociferously refused a recent posthumous pardon from Donald Trump who has shamelessly attempted to disrupt voting by mail-in absentee ballot. Trump’s pardon is an obvious and inexcusable publicity stunt.
This pardon dishonors the memory of Anthony, and all women jailed for the vote, sometimes beaten and force fed. While these women may finally have won their right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920, there remains work to do to guarantee free access to the polls for all citizens.
Voter suppression continues to exist in the form of voter ID and registration restriction, voter purges, felony disenfranchisement and gerrymandering, all of which disproportionately affect people of color, people with disabilities, low-income communities, young and elderly citizens.
The Trump administration has actively sought to diminish the voting rights of citizens, and until the day when government policy completely eliminates all types of voter suppression, Anthony’s work remains unfinished.