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Phil: In honor of your ancestors, let’s dedicate this column to Hanukkah, which starts Dec. 10.
Ethan: Commemorating the bravery of an oppressed people over a tyrant king feels especially poignant this year.
Phil: The ritual is you give a gift a day for eight days to honor the “miracle” of the menorah remaining lit with only one day’s worth of oil. Is that right?
Ethan: Yeah, and we eat a lot of latkes and jelly donuts.
Phil: You can explain what a latke is later, but how about we offer one present for each day of Hanukkah to our favorite politicians?
Ethan: That sounds fun. I’ll start. On the first day of Hanukkah I would give Gov. Paul LePage a rocking chair. He keeps saying he is going to run for governor again, but for the sake of all of us, please just retire.
Phil: You always think you know what is best for Republicans. Speaking of governors, for the second day of Hanukkah, I would give Gov. Janet Mills an abacus, because she needs to get back to some basic math before the checkbook bounces.
Ethan: You mean like she better invest X amount of counting beads into our economy, if we want to bring back Y amount of jobs?
Phil: More like, she needs to cut Z amount of expenses to keep us from wiping out more small businesses.
Ethan: On the third day of Hanukkah, I would give Sen. Susan Collins a signed copy of the book “Profiles in Courage.” Now, more than ever, America needs her to find the strength to stand up to Mitch McConnell.
Phil: I thought you were going to say she needs to stand up to Joe Biden and his higher taxes, loan forgiveness and open borders agenda. Speaking of senators, on the fourth day of Hanukkah, I would give Sen. Angus King a dictionary. A dictionary with only one word.
Phil: “Independent.” As a senator, he rarely departs from Democratic ideology. At least when he was governor, he actually worked with Republicans.
Ethan: Republicans were a lot easier to work with back then. And besides, Democrats are usually right. Speaking of Democrats, as you know, Rep. Jared Golden and his wife Isobel are expecting their first child! In honor of that joyous occasion, on the fifth day of Hanukkah I would give Golden a pen.
Phil: You do know that newborns can’t write?
Ethan: I did read that somewhere. But the pen wouldn’t be for the baby. It would be for the congressman to sign on to HR 1364, “The Child Care for Working Families Act.” Already, 176 of his colleagues have cosponsored it and maybe he will now join the club.
Phil: I can’t imagine what that will cost. Staying with our members of Congress, for the sixth day of Hanukkah, I’d give the honorable Chellie Pingree an all-day fly fishing trip with me in northern Maine. Get her out of those corporate jets and Bloomberg fundraisers, so she can experience how regular sportsmen and women live in that part of our beautiful state.
Ethan: Somehow, I suspect Chellie is a better shot with a rifle than you realize, but if she turns you down, I will definitely take her spot!
Phil: The thought of you on the Allagash or Penobscot River trying to cast a rod is almost worth taking you up on that offer. Almost.
Ethan: Speaking of outdoor equipment, for the seventh day of Hanukkah, I would offer a dog muzzle to those Republican lawmakers who were complaining about having to wear masks. If you don’t want to wear a mask, we don’t want to hear you speak.
Phil: I’d like to offer a few muzzles to your side of the aisle for other reasons, but point taken. And while we’re on the topic of COVID, for the final day of Hanukkah, I suggest we give all Mainers a much needed vaccine!
Ethan: Here, here. Talk about freeing ourselves from tyranny.
Phil: So, what’s the greeting for Hanukkah?
Ethan: Chag Sameach. Which basically means Happy Holidays.
Phil: Chag Sameach, my friend.
Phil Harriman, a former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth, is the founding partner of Lebel & Harriman, a financial services firm. Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland, is the president of Swing Hard. Turn Left, which promotes progressive policy at the local, state and national levels.