Comfort for those missing a pet at the holidays

The holidays can be a most joyous time of the year. It is a time to celebrate and appreciate those who have brought us kindness and friendship. For many, though, this can be a lonely and sad time if they have experienced a turn in events, a loss or a tragedy. Please do your best to be mindful and extra kind to those who are navigating through this holiday season.

For pet owners, their worst fear is losing a beloved companion. From one pet owner to another, I understand the intense pain and emptiness that occurs following this type of loss.

There is no correct way to grieve and work through this process, as everyone walks a different journey with a pet. Many people will reject your sadness or not understand the significance it has in your life.

Many people, especially those who aren’t pet owners themselves, will often question or dismiss the immense grief you are experiencing from losing your best friend. However, you should never feel ashamed of the grief you are feeling. You only need to know that you are not alone. There are many who walk that same path.

Having said goodbye to many pets throughout my life, and knowing that there were others out there having undergone or undergoing the same emotions, I wanted to create and offer a symbol of solitude and light to visit and reflect upon to help keep your memories with you and to include your pets in your holidays.

The Tree Lights of Love, located at P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center, on John Street in Camden, was lit Dec. 11 and will be lit each evening through Jan. 7. Each bulb on the tree represents a special pet, past, present and future. It is intended to be a symbol for those who wish to include and remember their bests friends. Remember them that we lean on when we are sad and know we can count on after a long day. reflect on their unconditional love, infinite trust of us and loyalty, and honor for the unending joy they give us each day.

I invite anyone who is in need of comfort or missing their best friend to stop by and reflect, remember and honor. My hope is that it brings you comfort and solace to know that you are not alone. This tree is a symbol for you to visit to remember then, cherish now and open your heart and your home to many more.

Happy holidays from our home to yours. “Semper Fidelis”

Ginny Ryan

Hope

Collins can still vote against the tax bill

My dismay at Sen. Susan Collins' voting for the wretched tax bill has only increased as the rationale she offers for doing so is so flimsy and indefensible.

Sen. Mitch McConnell made certain promises about fixes to the health care system that will be severely damaged by the tax bill. There is no assurance that the required legislation can get through the Senate and House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said that he feels no obligation to pass any such bills in the House. All the funds "saved" in the ACA by repealing the mandate are subsidies to allow low-income citizens to afford to sign up. An estimated 13 million people will lose their health care coverage.

When confronted on a Sunday talk show about the massive increase to U.S. debt if the tax bill were to become law, Susan Collins resorted to the totally discredited notion that the tax bill will increase economic activity enough to "offset this tax cut and actually lower the debt." A snake-oil salesman could not have said it better.

My general admiration for Susan Collins as a sensible and thoughtful legislator is blown away by this transparent and self-serving nonsense. Her character and good judgment are undermined so long as she backs the highly partisan and totally skewed tax bill. Are there that many millionaires in Maine who deserve to be rewarded? Sen. Collins has a chance to redeem herself and restore her reputation as conscientious senator: Vote against the final text of the tax bill when it comes back to the Senate.

James Matlack

Rockport

Patriotism vs. nationalism

Timothy Snyder has written an essential $6 book entitled, "On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century." This 45-minute read is rich with historical references to events that transpired around the world in the 20th century in countries that saw oligarchs, tyrants and dictators come to power. The predominant message of this book is to pay attention and not take anything for granted, even our right to vote. Early on, Snyder states, “… societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary men and women can find themselves standing over death pits with guns in their hands.”

The book is stocking stuffer-sized and I cannot recommend reading it more as an act of pure democratic citizenship. In one of the last chapters, Snyder importantly discusses the difference between nationalism and patriotism. The not-so-subtle distinction between these -isms is worth spending a moment thinking about. Patriotism, he proposes, is practiced when one wants one's country to live up to its highest ideals. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. “A patriot has universal values by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well and wishing it could be better.”

A nationalist, on the other hand, is more about “encouraging us to be our worst and then tell[ing] us that we are the best.” To be nationalistic is to live in a zero-sum world where there are only winners and losers. It’s us against “them,” and it is a country preoccupied with revenge, victory and power.

What a patriot is not is someone who mocks war heroes or compares his sexual pursuits in the '60s and '70s to serving in Vietnam. Being patriotic does not mean avoiding paying your fair share of taxes, nor does it mean refusing to accept the fact that a foreign power has meddled in an election when the facts say that is the case. Being patriotic does not mean appointing a national security adviser who has lied to the FBI and taken money from a Russian propaganda organ. Being patriotic does not mean instigating hate with inflammatory and questionable video tweets.

What being nationalistic means in the extreme is that you view others as inferior. It means that you would prefer to go it alone, as opposed to joining the family of man in the global issues of poverty, climate change, nuclear weapons reduction and hunger. Believing in nationalism can lead to a need to preserve some culture at some normative moment of perceived greatness and being fearful of change in a changing world. Nationalism can be a dangerous pretext for behaving badly in defense of something that probably never was.

Snyder’s final comment on this difference should freeze us in our tracks. “A nationalist says that tyranny can't happen here, while a patriot says that it could happen here, but will resist it at all costs.”

Des FitzGerald

Camden

Organizers say thanks for FitzyStrong 2017

On Nov. 25, the communities came together to support one of our own young men, Brian Fitzpatrick, as he fights liver cancer. A community alumni basketball event was held at the Camden Hills gym, with more than 300 people in attendance. In the girls' game, 10 players participated, while the boys’ game had more than 30 players take part. And in between games, some real oldies came out of the stands for a free-throw contes , won by former Camden Hills girls’ coach Jay Carlsen. More than $8,000 was raised to support Brian and his family as they battle this disease.

We would like to thank the following businesses and people for their generous donations for this event. Fitzy LLC and Downeast Homes bought the T-shirts the basketball players wore for the game.

Quarter sponsors were: Adventure Advertising, Friends of Fitzy, Jo Ellen Designs, Marriner’s Restaurant, French and Brawn, Cold Mountain Builders and Gartley & Dorsky.

A giant raffle took place throughout the game . Many businesses and community members donated items for the raffle. We would like to thank the following: Uncle Willy’s Candy Store, Waterfront Restaurant, Hoboken, Rockland Savings Bank, Addie and Ella Blake, Julia Hart, Rockland Golf Course, Pen Bay YMCA, Gig Best, Curator, Hampton Inn, Camden Snow Bowl, CMT Country (donated by Allie Parent), Village Soup, Paul and Carolyn Russo, Derek O’Brien, Hops and Chops, Charlotte Hornets (Steve Clifford), Lincolnville Center General Store, Jay Fischer, Casey Murphy, La Bella Vita, Samoset Resort, Sunny Hill Stable, Simon van der Ven, Cody Wilson (Infinite Fitness), Earl Sprague, Joe and Kim Kuhn, Applewood Dental, Travis and Kelly Reynolds, Gary and Shasta Minery, Nate Neville and Jeff Hall.

Many people came forward to volunteer their time for this event. Paul MacDonald and Juan Ocala were our game officials, while Bob Withey, Bill Curtis, and Steve Alex manned the scorer’s table. Jeff Hart handled the announcing for the evening. The Camden Hills boys’ basketball boosters ran the concession stand headed up by Michelle Ford.

If you are interested in helping out the Fitzpatrick family, contact Melissa Hart , Sue Wootton or Anna Dugal. We appreciate all of the community support we were given for this young family.

Sue Wootton

Rockport

Melissa Hart

Rockport

Anna Dugal

Camden