Issues, not glamour

As a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, I must congratulate John McCain. In choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate, he has achieved what George Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove failed to do: dumbing down the election of the president of the United States to the lowest common denominator. Instead of focusing on the issues, we have a movie star figure who exemplifies all the virtues of motherhood, apple pie and Chevrolets.

These are admirable qualities, but if they are the only ones, we might all qualify. In the short time that Sarah Palin has been the nominee, she has inspired such deep intellectual endeavors as action figure dolls. Take your choice: Will she sit down with Ahmadinejad in cleavage? With Putin in a miniskirt? Or with Sarkozy in a Hillary knock-off pantsuit?

By the time we get to the vice presidential debates, I’m sure a new position will have been created in the Republican campaign: that of Sarah Palin, foreign policy coach. Hopefully she will understand what the Bush Doctrine is, that Czechoslovakia is no longer a country, and that the Iraq-Pakistan border has moved.

We need to focus on the compelling issues of our time — our shredded economy, how to deal with the terrorists, our health and education problems. We need substance, not glamour.

Judith Hart


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Impact of budget cuts

I have suffered from a mental illness since I was 20 years old. I have had weekly therapy sessions in New York, and now here in Bangor at Community Health and Counseling Services. Lately, I have been seeing my therapist twice a week. She has now brought to my attention that I will only be able to have therapy eight times in a six-month period, because of state budget cuts.

This is a drastic reduction, and state leaders who are doing this do not realize the effect it will have on us. I feel as though my right to be treated as a decent human is being ignored.

Therapy is my chance to connect with someone, get support to make my life better, to express my feelings and emotions and make sure that I am not living in isolation. Many people like myself will be left on their own if they don’t have this opportunity. We need to make sure we are taking care of each other, not leaving people on their own with no place to turn.

Matt Costigan


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Quorum echoes

It’s happening, again. I moved here recently from the tiny town of Chamberlain, S.D., where we, too, had a wonderful, small community-owned hospital that had been struggling financially. We, too, unfortunately, hired Quorum, as has Down East Community Hospital in Machias.

It was a fiasco. The very same thing happened. Good things at first — bringing in doctors and equipment and all — and then, the bad things began to happen. Our community was in an uproar, and eventually our community-owned hospital was lost.

The opposition to Quorum in Chamberlain was well-documented in the local paper, the Chamberlain Register.

Linda E. Pletka


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Pro-life and pro-war?

It’s election season and some of the old stock phrases are being thrown around. We need to question the meanings of some of them.

What does it mean when politicians say they are “pro-life” or support “a culture of life” while also supporting unnecessary war? They know that since the 1930s more than 90 percent of casualties in wars have been civilians, and the Iraq war is no exception.

Is it really OK to kill lots of people so long as it is “them” and not us? Is that the only way we can show that we “support our troops”? Don’t all those people who are killed represent “life,” or is it only fetuses that the “pro-life” folks are talking about? Even if that bizarre definition of “life” were to be accepted, what of the very many pregnant women, along with their fetuses, who die in wars?

Being both pro-life and pro-war is a contradiction, since those two things are polar opposites. Corrupting our language for political purposes is wrong. Corrupt language leads to corrupted thinking. There are sincere beliefs on both sides of the issues of war and of abortion rights. At least we should be using honest language as we discuss these matters.

Peter Rees


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Can’t trust GOP ticket

Would you feel safe with a commander in chief who thinks we could be in Iraq for 100 years, who sings “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to a Beach Boys tune? A 72-year-old president who doesn’t remember how many houses he owns, regularly confuses Shiites and Sunnis and can’t operate a computer?

Do you like spending $10 billion a month on a war that should have been avoided? John McCain assures us “there will be other wars.”

Shouldn’t we question a candidate’s judgment in selecting a running mate who repeats a self-serving, bald-faced lie about her support for the $398 million pork-barrel “bridge to nowhere”? She doesn’t believe in evolution or understand the Constitution of the United States, and has traveled outside North America only once in her life.

How does McCain represent “change,” when he has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time?

Can we tolerate continuing the corruption, hypocrisy, lies and bad judgment of the past eight years? Look what happened when we elected a president people wanted to have a beer with! Would we really elect leaders just because one’s a former POW (and she’s a hockey mom), and the other guy is black? I hope not, because McCain and Sarah Palin simply cannot be trusted with our lives.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden are self-made men from humble beginnings, devoted to their families and country. It would be a change indeed to have smart and level-headed leaders with integrity that we can actually trust.

Nancy Glista


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Housing crisis victims

How should one feel when losing one’s home? I guess it’s a different kind of storm. You can see it coming and you can try to protect yourself, but there just isn’t enough sand to go around. I guess Bob Seger said it best in his song, “I Feel Like a Number.”

So my wife and I will become part of this housing crisis. And we will sell off our memories to strangers at our yard sale, and life will go on. Good luck to those who are trying to keep their sandbags full in this storm of life.

David J Williams