Letters to the Editor, April 13
Response to Clayton column on diversity
In response to Mayor Will Clayton’s letter, “For the Record”: I work in Rockland, and while I appreciate hearing your specific stance on the Diversity Resolve, Mayor Clayton, I am disappointed that you waited until this point to express it publicly.
At your own motivating, the council opened a round table to discuss the specific language that Councilor Glaser presented for the resolve. While it is true that you met with various individual community members, the majority that were in support of the resolve, to seek answers to your questions prior to the round table and the vote, almost none of these questions or concerns were expressed to the council and community members attending the round table on the resolve.
It feels underhanded now for you to come forward with your valuable thoughts and concerns, when you were not willing to do so when asked directly during the round table -- a space when all community members were at an equal playing field. The round table’s purpose was a place to discuss the wording of the resolve. You designed that meeting and you designed the purpose. Yet you sought out changing the wording in private meetings prior to the round table, but then were not an active participant in the discussion at the round table.
You state in your letter than you sent these concerns out to individual councilors and community members, but what about those who did not receive these concerns? The open table was a time to share your concerns with your fellow community members, but as Amy Files stated, “You were holding your cards close to your chest,” and rarely participated. I wish we had heard these concerns at a time when we could’ve acted on them within the wording of the resolve. As the mayor, I would have wanted to see you lead by example, and fully participate.
Bill is deceptively named
n a recent article (4/6/17), a new bill called "An Act to Support Death with Dignity" (LD 347) is presented as an ideal way for terminally ill people in Maine to control the end of their own lives. While this may sound acceptable at first glance, the name of the bill is dishonest.
"An Act to Promote Physician-Assisted Suicide" would be more accurate. Yes, suicide -- as in, killing yourself. And yes, with the “help” of a physician -- professionals who have sworn to do all in their power to heal, not kill. The choice is not between “[continuing] to live in pain or choosing to rest in peace." The choice is between caring and killing.
But what if the pain is extreme? Pain management and palliative care can effectively control almost all types of physical pain. Proper palliative care and, if needed, hospice care also offer a support system, including psychological help to assist the patient in living life to its fullest until death occurs naturally.
Did you know that before physician-assisted suicide can kill you, you must first swallow pills of barbiturates commonly used to administer the death penalty? Did you know that no doctor or nurse is required to be present when you ingest the lethal dose?
Physician-assisted suicide robs patients of treasured time to share memories, to forgive and be forgiven, to pray. It also robs family members and friends of a chance to love until it hurts. Compassion means “suffering with.” Let’s choose to care for each other and keep physician-assisted suicide out of Maine.
Maybe avoiding taxes really is smart
I’ve just finished paying my taxes for another year. I don’t especially like this expensive chore, but I recognize that it’s a responsibility and the price we pay to maintain a civilization.
I wonder if our president is paying any taxes this year? Probably not I’d guess, since he bragged that he was “smart” to not pay taxes. Maybe we should all follow his inspiring example and get “smart” like that.
Of course, then we couldn’t give 50 billion more dollars to the bloated military, or build a ridiculous wall across our southern border, or offer even more tax breaks to our millionaires. Maybe it really would be smart?
After Syrian air strike, what next?
Listening to the reports of Syrians dashing home in the wake of the chemical attack to find their entire families gasping desperately for a last breath that never comes, I found myself applauding the United States’ response.
Of course my enthusiasm for the air strike was as impulsive and ill-considered as many of us think the president’s consideration of options was. Or was it? Consider that in those few minutes, not only was the Syrian regime’s attention focused on the consequences of its own behavior, but America’s attention moved instantly from the investigations into Russian meddling in Trump’s election, from his baseless assertion that Obama bugged his tower, from his failed health care initiative, from these and the miserable first hundred days of his administration to the empty flag-flapping we’re all so fond of indulging when hollow opportunity presents itself.
Further, given that the attack took place while he was entertaining the president of China, he very effectively leveraged those talks, particularly as they related to the behavior of North Korea. I’m still supportive of the air strike in Syria and proud of our country for having responded to that horror, for having done what Obama promised to do but didn’t, but I can’t help but wonder whether more thought went into this than most of us thought. In either event, I hope some serious thought attaches to where and how we go from here.
Bill would discriminate against the least-fortunate
The rise of anti-immigrant fervor in the United States in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency has caused me to question the application of the most basic of American principles, like the idea that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have held these truths to be self-evident. Yet I find myself alternately heartbroken and angered by the rise of xenophobia and racism in my country that directly contradicts these principles. Little did I know, until after I attended a recent ACLU meeting in Rockland, that this sentiment had reached even my quiet little state.
A recent bill in the Maine Legislature, LD 366, would require local law enforcement to act as immigration agents. A wave of these bills is washing over state legislatures all across the country, but as a citizen of Maine, it is my responsibility to identify and combat the dangers of such a bill.
It is the responsibility of all of us who hold firm to our principles of life, liberty and equality to reject it.
The rationale behind this law is simple. By requiring our police to act as ICE agents, the state would ostensibly decrease the supposed threat that undocumented immigrants pose to the social, political and economic fabric of our state. However, the enforcement of this law would do nothing to keep our streets safe.
Indeed, this law might even make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to perform their actual duties. Our police force is already stretched too thin. Imagine if police officers had to detain any undocumented immigrants. Not only would they have to find a way to detain them in our already-crowded county jails, but they would also have to divert their attention away from other noble pursuits, like stemming the tide of opioids flowing into our state. The valuable intelligence undocumented immigrants sometimes offer in the efforts against such crimes would be called into question as the fragile trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement splinters and then breaks.
This law is nothing but a thinly-disguised attempt to discriminate against the least-fortunate among us. America is a nation of immigrants. Our ancestors came here seeking a better life for themselves and for their families, and the vast majority of the immigrants in our state are no different. If this law passes, these communities will constantly live in fear, their lives in constant danger of being uprooted. Their pursuit of the same values we hold to be self-evident, like life and liberty, would be made all but impossible.
I have lived in Maine my whole life, and I will always remember our slogan: “The way life should be.” If this law passes, if we empower our local law enforcement to seek out and detain those who only desire a better life, then Maine will no longer be a state in which I am proud to live. Immigrants do not weaken the fabric of our state or our nation, but rather, they make it stronger. Diversity improves our state, not tarnishes it. I hope we all can band together to fight this bill and fight for our state to become a beacon of hope for those who need it the most. By loving our neighbors as ourselves, by not rejecting the sojourner amongst us, we will truly exemplify the way life should be -- for ourselves, for the nation and for the world.
Children's Museum says thank you
On Thursday, March 30, The Coastal Children’s Museum hosted Shaken Not Stirred, a James Bond-themed fundraising event, at The Strand Theatre in Rockland. The evening was magnificent, complete with delicious food from Maggie McGaw, of Heirloom Catering, raffle baskets filled with amazing things to do and see on the coast of Maine, a photo booth and photographs provided by James Sunne, a James Bond-themed trivia contest, and a special viewing of the very first Bond film, "Dr. No."
The Coastal Children’s Museum would not exist without the generous support of a caring community. Shaken, Not Stirred was a tremendous success because of the support from our community. We deeply appreciate this support as we continue our efforts to make our community a more vibrant place.
We would like to thank the following sponsors whose generous donations added to the success of the event: Allen Agency, Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River Co., and Penobscot Island Air. The following businesses graciously donated items and certificates for our raffle baskets, and we thank them for their donations and for supporting the Coastal Children’s Museum: Maine Gold Maple Syrup, Lori Huff, Christine’s Gallery, Sharon’s Haircare, Cape Air, In Good Company, Fiore Oils, Whales Tooth Pub, Save Your Thyme Catering, Bufflehead Schooner, Sail Power and Steam Museum, Maine Sport Outfitters, 16 Bayview Hotel, Rockland Harbor Hotel, Skydive New England, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Amtrak Downeaster, Camden Snowbowl, Suzuki Sushi, Green Tree Coffee and Tea, Jess’s Market, The Good Tern Co-op, The New England Aquarium, Schooner Isaac Evans, Lilly Lupine and Fern, and PDQ Photo. We would also like to thank The Strand Theatre for hosting the VIP Cocktail Party and viewing of the film "Dr. No." Thank you to Lori Huff of Kitschville designs for creating our fantastic raffle baskets -- true works of art, each one based on a James Bond movie.
Finally, this event would not have come together, nor would it have been as successful as it was, without help from our board of directors and our wonderful volunteers. Special thank-you to Jane Frantz, Robinsunne, Connie Hammermeister, and Dean and Deirdre Felton for their help in ensuring the event’s success.
Three simple words define the Coastal Children’s Museum: Discover. Learn. Play. Together, the three deliver superior educational and interactive experiences for children and families in Midcoast Maine. Funds raised from this special event will enable the museum to continue to offer educational programs for the community. For more information about the Coastal Children’s Museum, programs, and other offerings please visit the web site, coastalchildrensmuseum.org.
Volunteer and Fundraising Coordinator
Coastal Children's Museum