The use of anger

Patricia McLean hosted an evening about domestic violence at the Camden Library. Alas, I arrived late, just before the end. The packed house had already been sitting there for an hour and a half! It was like entering a gymnasium after an intense sports event. The air was charged: Solidarity. Comradeship. And anger too.

Hooray for anger. Sometimes it's all we’ve got. We’re in a situation bound by fear, by isolation, by habit force. And anger is the necessary hinge of transformation towards community, confidence, liberation. And given how entrenched many of our social hang-ups are, we might as well fasten our seat-belts for a century or two of anger.

But in our personal lives, we don’t have centuries. A lifetime of anger seems a sad thing. The oppressors have then won their goal of power. I can imagine situations of extreme oppression which may take even generations of anger and remembrance to heal. But I think we still need to stand by for the time when anger can quiet into a deeper understanding. Then softer-edged feelings can follow. There’s no need to push that change, but let it naturally happen, knowing that in the interim we may need the power of anger not to fall back.

When that understanding does ripen, we might see the oppressor as a fellow victim — a victim of far larger conditioning that has little to do with our own story. Then the raging beast is transformed, though still guarded against.

"Any final questions ?" Patricia asked. I dared not raise my hand. I could imagine braceleted arms escorting me to the door. There’s nothing more infuriating than mis-timed goodwill. Ah, if we men could only shut up for the next hundred years. Still, it was an honor to be in that room. It was a tiny step in a dream of transformation — the transformation of all of us. We’re all on this rusty, wonderful, sinking ship together. And the liberation of each victim is, in the long run, the oppressor’s gateway as well.

Jory Squibb



Health Care for All

We are inching towards having a health care system that covers everyone, like the other “developed” countries of the world. Towards being able to afford to take care of those who are bankrupted by illness, to escaping the byzantine and unaffordable health private health insurance system, where the sick must navigate impossible seas of costly health coverage, in the midst of their illness (likely as not online or through endless phone mazes). They call it “choice,” but the choice doesn’t bring peace of mind or health, it is only insurance.

With everyone in the same pool, pharmaceutical prices can be negotiated and brought down to something reasonable, and there are other like savings to be had. They say we can’t afford it, that taxes would be too high, but in the countries that cover all their citizens, the total amount spent on medical care is much lower than here – here where many of us left bare, suffering and anxious. People are healthier and more confident in their lives. People can change jobs if need be, without fear.  Small businesses can start up more easily, without having to worry about covering their employees. Big corporation should be grateful too!

On Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m, at the UU Church in Rockland, there will be a legislative forum on health care reform, with short presentations from legislators followed by Q&A. Sen. Dave Miramant, Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center, Vicki Doudera, and Bill Pluecker will join us. This is a great opportunity to have legislators hear from our members and the public. And please also join Maine AllCare’s Director Phil Bailey, Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Public Library. Come and participate in the effort to get affordable health care for all of us. Things are moving!

Beedy Parker  


(The following letter is a response to a column by Reade Brower in the Feb. 14 Courier-Gazette.)

Illegals should stay home

If people routinely broke onto my posted and fenced land, slaughtered my livestock and made me fearful for my personal safety and that of my family, while local law enforcement agents’ attitude was basically “deal with it,” I would be spitting mad too.

The Suttons had every right to defend their property in southern Texas, and people need to be more concerned with legal taxpaying citizens in this country, rather than ones who are breaking and ignoring our laws.

We all support legal immigration, and if you cannot follow our laws, then you should stay in your home country. Work on fixing your own country and stop harassing people like the Sutton family.

Gene Graves



Volunteerism is a Klivans family tradition

Since its founding in 1942, United Midcoast Charities has relied on dedicated volunteers to help raise money and distribute funds to local nonprofit agencies.

In some cases, serving UMC has been a family affair! The recent retirement of Elinor Klivans from UMC’s board of directors prompts us to express how thankful we are for her family’s efforts on our behalf for close to 50 of our 77 years.
Elinor’s father-in-law, Howard Klivans, joined the board shortly after moving here in the 1970s. Howard's son Jeff — Elinor’s husband — became a board member when Howard moved away about 20 years ago, and Elinor began serving on the board after Jeff’s passing in 2007. Since then, she has served on our nominating committee, executive director search committee and grants committee. And although she has left the board due to newly instituted term limits, Elinor will continue to serve on UMC’s grants committee, helping us review applications and guide the board in awarding grants each year.

A high level of commitment among our volunteers has built UMC into a regional organization energizing nonprofit agencies in Knox and Waldo counties through finance and guidance, supporting a network of resources stronger than any single organization.
We’ve come a long way in 77 years, thanks to the efforts of people like Howard, Jeff, Elinor and many other caring neighbors who have served UMC. We couldn’t be more grateful.

The Board of Directors of United Midcoast Charities