Open Maine’s primaries
The political process should not be about political parties, but about people. Open primaries are a way to increase voter participation, and create dialogue and change across party lines. To believe that citizens owe loyalty to a political party is to have it backward. The parties have an obligation, if not a sacred duty, to engage with our citizens at every opportunity.
Unenrolled independent voters have become the largest block of voters in Maine, due in part to the polarization of our political climate. We have more unenrolled voters than registered voters of either party. We need to make room for the participation of these citizens to create a more robust and representative process.
For many voters, being unenrolled is a way of declaring their ability to think for themselves. Allowing open primaries gives voters an opportunity to choose candidates that are most closely aligned with their values, regardless of party affiliation. These voters have a lot to offer in the primaries, and can help parties turn out nominees who best represent the desires of the voters.
Greater participation in the primaries can only lead to better representation for all, and that is what our government needs to operate democratically. Open primaries could be a key tool in helping to prevent situations where great numbers of voters feel boxed into voting for what they consider to be “the lesser of two evils.” Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let’s move forward with open primaries.
Solar getting better and better
According to Pope Francis, “When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society.”
Of all the energy sources that exist, solar will take Maine into the energy future. Solar is a source that keeps evolving and getting better and better. It does not create pollution as other fossil fuels do. Solar power can even be in our sidewalks. According to the BBC, a solar power panel sidewalk project has won an award from the Qatar 2022 World Cup organizing committee, and the committee is supporting the project with the goal of creating a prototype to demonstrate the solar power sidewalk idea during the tournament.
There is a lot of potential in solar. Also, the falling price of power from large-scale solar projects reflects the lower cost of building them. At the same time, according to a report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, solar farms have seen a “notable improvement” in how much power they put out, thanks to smarter siting and better technology.
Time to change gun laws
The time is now for us to prove to our loved ones that their lives are more important to us than unfettered access to guns. An overwhelming majority of Mainers support the passage of sensible gun laws, which is also true of many responsible gun owners. I speak as a parent, concerned citizen and gun owner. Many of us see the importance of proper gun storage, red flag laws, background checks and, above all else, public safety.
Our school-aged children nowadays learn how to read, write, add and subtract while making lifelong connections and friendships. It is devastating that they also learn how to crouch under desks, stand on toilets and hide in closets. Pursuing an education should not equal to going to war. Yet we are asking those that mean the most to us to carry a burden too heavy for their years.
We should have taken action immediately following Sandy Hook. Instead, we continue to watch our leaders deny the passage of sensible gun laws over the very real lives that we continue to lose every year. While thoughts and prayers have their place, policy and change is the only way to move us away from public masacres being accepted as normal. The world we live in is very different than when our country was founded, and it’s time for the laws meant to protect us to reflect our modern world. Our children deserve more than what we are giving them. The time for change is now.