May 2018 Are you tired of some Maine politicians saying “We know better” and “You don’t know what you voted for”?
I started to focus on just a few divisive statements politicians have made, but recently they became too numerous to keep up with. Fortunately numerous articles, focused on bringing us all together, asked if we preferred obstructionist politics where nothing gets done or would we prefer compromising for the good of us all? A Portland Press Herald editorial summed it up very well that obstructionist politics “shouldn’t be confused with normal ideological competition between liberals and conservatives” and that obstructionist politicians “would rather accomplish nothing than something, if accomplishing something would require compromise”.
George Smith wrote about his desire to have obstructionist politicians attend a symposium on civil discourse at which participants will be asked how incivility and divisive politics impact us all and what can “you” do to revive civility and respect in the face of differences.
We are all Mainer’s here, Left, Right and Center and we all want the same things from our government such as safe schools, fair taxes, economic opportunity, respect for who we are and for our voice’s to be heard. We never argue about these or any other common goals. What we argue about is how we get what we all need and rightfully deserve from our elected officials. The best way to get what we need is to vote for the candidates who will respect the people’s vote.
Some people say they don’t get involved with politics because they think nothing anyone does will make a difference. Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead came to a different conclusion: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Columnist Doug Rooks wrote “government can function effectively only if it truly represents the people’s will, as it plainly does not now”. To have a Maine government that truly represents the people’s will, we need to elect politicians that will respect the people and their vote.
Unfortunately some politicians show they don’t respect the people by making divisive statements. One politician “widely regarded as a polarizing lawmaker who frequently uses divisive rhetoric during floor speeches and press events” worked to further divide us by making the recent statement “leftist politicians are hell bent on silencing their adversaries in America’s escalating culture war”. It seems to me the speaker is a proponent of, and a leader in, the divisive Culture Wars.
Other politicians show they don’t respect the law by saying they may challenge election results if they get a plurality of first choices but fail to earn a majority of the votes with Ranked Choice Voting. In my opinion anyone running to represent you would abide by the results of an election run by the constitutionally compliant and Maine Judicial Supreme Court approved Ranked Choice Voting system.
Recently 68 Maine House members voted against a bill to prevent state licensed therapists from harming children by using conversion therapy, a practice the American Medical Association calls “a coercive practice that may cause long-term psychological harm, particularly to young patients”. One representative believes the bill is “an attempt by the LGBT community to legitimize the unnatural inclinations (over) the “natural” inclinations as taught to us in the bible”. Another representative claimed the conversion therapy ban would force therapists to follow the Liberal orthodoxy on gender identity if they don’t believe an 8-year-old is capable of knowing what gender they are.
Columnist Liz Soares wrote about how ingrained violence is in our culture. In my opinion anger, but not violence, is often justified when it comes from, in Liz’s words, “the ugly moral morass (our) country (and state) has fallen into, the rampant racism, the mistreatment of women and children, the apparent acceptance of social injustice”, from knowing we “are constantly being swindled, duped and conned” by, as an example, “a duplicitous tax cut that ultimately benefits the wealthy and corporations, while shredding social-welfare programs” nationally and in Maine.
I urge you to get out and vote for politicians who will end these injustices and who support the Maine we all want; one where politicians listen to the people, where you and your vote matters, a welcoming state where everyone, regardless of politics, race, religion, income, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity feel valued and included. We can have the kind of Maine we all want but only if you get out and vote for it.