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Start with honest dialogue

Over the past four years I have witnessed our nation become increasingly divided. It seems that as time goes on, some of our political leaders, activists and members of the media have either directly or by suggestion portrayed their opposition as at best ill-informed and irredeemable, and at worst, evil. As these sentiments become increasingly prolific, honest dialogue is lost.

I recently read a letter in the Portland Press Herald in which the author stated, “When I drive around southern Maine and see the Trump flags flying what I really see is swastikas.” I believe that this is in no small part due to the media’s portrayal of the president and his supporters during his election run and subsequent presidential term. In pursuit of clicks, shares and influence on the internet, politics has become sensationalized. Movements like “QAnon,” whose supporters seem to have made up a large portion of the crowd that stormed the capitol building, see their opposition as a cult of pedophiles seeking to establish a new world order.

It may be naive to believe that we can find common ground between the two ends of the spectrum, but honest dialogue is a good place to start.

We must start by not assuming anyone’s motivation for their actions, instead, the individual should be allowed to justify their actions in their own words and explain their own motives. A Trump supporter is not racist unless they are prejudiced based on race. A Biden supporter is not a communist unless they oppose the ownership of private property.

Timothy Murphy

Orono

Piscataquis County Commissioners should resign

On a day when the state of Maine has had a run of its highest infection numbers from the COVID-19 virus, the Piscataquis County Commissioners, James L. White, Wayne E. Erkkinen and Andrew R. Torbett, decided to release a ” Resolution of Protest” to Gov. Janet Mills, purporting to represent the will of Piscataquis. This “resolution,” aside from being poorly written, is littered with falsehoods, conspiracy theories about face coverings that would likely be flagged by Facebook and debunked partisan talking points. Further, in the letter they use a racist moniker for the virus that, while perhaps making Donald Trump proud, is an embarrassment to all residents of our county.

County commissioners should be largely apolitical positions, working to help the residents and businesses of their region. Instead of doing their job, our commissioners instead seem to be looking to take political stabs, not only undermining our governor, but also the CDC. Their conspiracy theory, anti-science rhetoric will only harm our citizens and businesses, and their casual racism is directly in opposition to Foxcroft Academy’s International Student program, which is essential for Dover-Foxcroft’s economy during the school year.

This “resolution” from White, Erkkinen and Torbett, appearing on the county website, paints Piscataquis as an epicenter of anti-science ignorance. Releasing such a letter is a disgrace, displaying their incompetence for their jobs. All three should resign immediately. 

Bobby Keniston

Dover-Foxcroft

A stronger and better community

I’ve been debating about displaying a Black Lives Matter sign at our house. I’d like it to be something that sparks conversation instead of inciting anger or creating distance. I want to be a reliable, visible ally to people of color in my community and I’m learning that allyship is a verb, not a noun. It involves sustained actions, not just words.

So when my church minister offered Black Lives Matter lawn signs, I immediately grabbed one. But then I hesitated and began to wonder, “Where will I put it? How will my neighbors react?” I’m not fearful for myself and I know that a couple of my neighbors would be on the same page, but what about those with whom I only share a wave or a comment about the weather or a gift from our overabundant garden? Will the appearance of this sign shut down our friendly, uncomplicated interactions or will it deepen those connections?

I’m hoping, actually trusting, that some of these neighbors and passersby will not only give us a thumbs up or a smile but will ask where they can get a sign as well. In any case, “actions speak louder than words” and displaying our Black Lives Matter sign is at least a small step toward opening a door, getting a conversation going and discovering more allies in the effort to make all people of color feel welcome in our community. It only makes us stronger and better.

Suzanne Kelly

Bangor

What I believe and what I accept

I am unabashedly Republican. I am in the 99+ percent of Republicans who did not storm the Capitol. I believe President Donald Trump’s speech was inappropriate but not impeachable.

I believe Trump’s policies were very good for our country. I accept the election of Joe Biden.

I know all three branches of government will be controlled by Democrats. I know the cancel culture and big tech are now censoring conservative speech. I am now trying to discern my political options.

Doc Wallace

Rockport

Emperor’s New Clothes and Fahrenheit 451

Anyone reading this should reach back into the dusty caves of grey matter. The Emperor’s New Clothes, a folktale published in 1837, teaches us to speak the truth and not be influenced by silly buggers following a crowd mentality. Fahrenheit 451, a novel published in 1953, is a dystopian novel about book burning by a controlling government that strives to keep citizens ignorant and fearful. Paper burns at 451 degrees, hence the title.

Does anyone see a plan that has been evolving? We are being controlled at every level of our lives: no social gatherings, postponed medical care, education on hold for many, small businesses barely holding on and a biased media.

What are we doing here? We get the government we deserve, and we deserve the government we get!

Lee DeRoche

Hampden