A resignation and the two Daves

By Reade Brower | Sep 15, 2016

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on 'I am not too sure'...”

--- H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Let’s be clear, this resignation is based on one thing; I am highly unqualified to write about politics. I did not study political science, nor do I spend any significant time reading about world issues. I know as much about Aleppo as presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

I am not an economist, nor do I play one on TV.

Plus, two of my sons commented to me (at length!) that my political columns feel condescending to views unlike my own. They called them "preachy" and “know it all”-like. Perhaps my “hate mail” will end as a bonus: the haters who believe Obama was born in Kenya and that Trump and LePage are just “misunderstood” and it’s the media’s fault they are vilified.

I won’t miss writing about politics; it is not a good “bedfellow.” Seldom should one talk politics or religion with friends and family who have foundations of their own and aren’t asking for an opinion from a dope like me.

I will stick with writing about ideas and people and, when I do touch on politics, will try to keep it general and generic, in context with commonsense ideas and philosophy.

Here is the commonsense challenge with this election cycle; nobody likes the choices that are before us, and that is because we have an electoral system that doesn’t serve us or meet any commonsense parameters. When you read that voters from both sides of the aisle will “hold their noses” and vote for the least evil, you know something stinks.

I went to a forum on ranked choice voting and think that is a step towards the right direction. In general, wouldn’t it feel better to be voting for someone you want, rather than voting for a candidate so that another candidate won’t win? When Eliot Cutler ran for governor of Maine, many felt it propelled LePage into office because Cutler took away votes from the Democratic candidate.

Whether that is true or not, I think reality and history tell us that many times we have voted defensively because we don’t want to waste our vote on someone not perceived as an electable candidate, even when we believe they are best suited for the job.

We rely on polls, or on fear, rather than on our own good judgment and trust that others have good judgment too.

With ranked choice voting, you rank your candidates and through what appears to be a very fair process, they count the votes, and then recount them if no candidate tops 50 percent, until one candidate gets more than 50 percent. By dropping the last-place candidate and using the second choice of his or her voters, candidates continue to garner votes until someone has a majority. The fear of picking the wrong candidate dissipates.

Commonsense also tells us that if something isn’t working, you need to change it and try to fix it.

Is what we’re doing now working?


In an exception to the norm; the two Daves give me hope, at least for local Midcoast politics.

Dave Emery is the Republican candidate for Maine’s Senate with a long pedigree in politics. He began in the early 1970s serving in the Maine House of Representatives and then became a U.S. Congressman for two terms in the mid-1970s to early 1980s. He has also run for the U.S. Senate against George Mitchell, and in the Republican primary for governor of Maine.

He has a history of sane politics, representing a conservative/moderate position on both social and economic issues.

Dave Miramant currently serves in Maine’s Senate as a Democrat and previously did a stint in the Maine House of Representatives.

He also has a history of sane politics representing liberal/moderate stances on social and economic issues.

My personal life has intersected with both Daves over the last three decades.

My children have played with their children; that is where you get to see the core of where a man or woman is. When you look at the child, you can often see the influence of the parents, and both of these men have helped raise fine children. That alone doesn’t mean they’ll be good politicians, but it bodes well to me that both men would represent us with dignity and integrity.

What is especially encouraging is that they both will run campaigns promoting themselves without degrading the other; I am confident of this.

As a voter, I can vote my conscience rather than worry who will represent special interests, or who is nuts, or who is dishonest. A vote for the person who best represents my values and my social and economic philosophies – how good is that!

My challenge with politics boils down to the negativity and the fear that both parties have brought to the game.

Frankly, I don’t blame Trump or Clinton for their continual bashing of each other, because that is what works. I believe Bernie lost because he, like me, believes our country is better than that. Hate to tell you, Bernie, apparently we are not. If you wanted to win, you should have kept harping on emails, emails, emails as your major issue.

A nail in the coffin for our political system came recently when the Republicans blocked President Obama from doing his job and appointing the next Supreme Court justice. It is despicable to me that they disrespected our political system to play partisan politics. However, I am quick to postulate that the Democrats might have done the same if the situation were reversed.

That’s the problem; there aren’t many “good guys” left in politics who are hell-bent on just doing the right thing. Our state of Maine has both Sens. Collins and King who serve us with integrity but, in general, partisan politics brings out the worst in our elected officials.

This election cycle, I’ve noticed that very few bumper stickers or lawn signs are out for public display. I think both sides carry some shame or guilt, and don’t want to put up with the “haters” from the other side. This is a sad commentary.

We need more Daves; only then will we have a system that we can all be proud of.

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