Reform two-party system

Sen. Susan Collins’ decision not to support Donald Trump was brave but falls well short of Sen. Margaret Chase Smith’s Declaration of Conscience. When Smith denounced McCarthyism and the Red Scare in 1950, she became an American profile in courage. In the 1950s, Americans were either Democrat or Republican. What courage she had breaking through the walls of fear and party loyalty.

Collins stated in her OpEd in the Washington Post, “As we have seen with both major party nominees — neither of whom I support — these passions are real and the public will demand action.” Should the main emphasis be on party nominees? Isn’t the public already demanding action? Doesn’t the rapid rise of “outsiders” such as Trump and Bernie Sanders represent a far deeper dissatisfaction with the two-party system?

Today, independents make up 43 percent of the American electorate. Smaller parties have millions of members. Our future voters, the millennials, are now almost 50 percent independent. Many Americans don’t want to be members of any party. The public’s demanding action at a far deeper level, through citizen petitions, referendums and lawsuits, attempt to break the major parties’ control over our American election system.

May Collins and collectively Maine’s congressional delegation put America first. May they put forth a new Declaration of Conscience to support real structural election reform in the form of open primaries and presidential elections, including working to end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. If such a Declaration of Conscience was issued, our congressional delegation would become American profiles in courage. And Maine would truly live up to its motto: Dirigo.

Joe Pickering Jr.

Bangor

Fulford for Legislature

Spend any time talking with Jonathan Fulford and three things become clear. First, he listens. He gives people his full attention and actually takes in and gives careful thought to what they say to him.

Second, he treats people with respect. Whether he shares their opinions, he will honor their beliefs and thinking and never berate, demean or scold them.

Third, he is a model of integrity. From casual interactions to the considerable demands of public service, Fulford holds himself to the highest possible standards of behavior. In the overheated political climate, these characteristics alone would make voting for him an easy choice for me.

Fulford is an unbelievably hard worker. He is on the road every single day, knocking on doors and personally connecting with as many prospective voters as he can. His dedication, his attention to detail and his dogged persistence are the hallmarks of a real can-do person. He knows the issues, he knows the system and he knows what it takes to get things done.

Most importantly, the future Fulford believes in is a future for all: a sustainable and equitable economy, responsible stewardship of the planet, a compassionate and just society, and civil and rational discourse at all levels of government.

This Election Day join me in supporting Fulford for state Senate. He will hit the ground running from Day 1 in Augusta, and he will work his tail off for the people of Maine.

Steve Chiasson

Belfast

Trump’s campaign profiteering

I see that Donald Trump has decided to raise the rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower steeply from what it paid in March. I guess he now must have a much bigger staff than he did then, right? Wrong.

Trump’s staff has stayed the same or slightly shrunk since March. So, why does he need to raise that rent almost fivefold? Good question. I think the people who have sent this man money ought to know.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s no longer self-funding his campaign? That’s another pledge Trump dumped without anyone bringing it up. Wasn’t he supposed to be the guy who didn’t take money from corporations and lobbyists? He said people who did that are corrupt.

Of course, Trump also is the guy running around telling people that the system is rigged. Looks like he’s right. After all, he should know. He’s one of the people rigging it.

Ed Woods

Newport

Not all immigrants bad

There was sharp contrast by our elected officials to the recent reporting of the death of Adnan Fazeli while fighting for the Islamic State. Gov. Paul LePage used this opportunity to spread fear and malice toward immigrants, with little regard to possible retaliation on innocent people. Sen. Susan Collins on the other hand praised the Fazeli family members for their courage and patriotism for contacting the FBI about his radicalization.

It is obvious by this act that Jabbar Fazeli, Adnan Fazeli’s brother, loves his adopted country. He also has contributed to this country with his medical practice, and he is esteemed by his colleagues to become president of the Maine Medical Association. Two brothers with two very different lives have been revealed.

Collins focused on that which is good in humanity and shows that immigrants have much to offer us. We must not buy into the fear that all people of one race, one religion, or nationality intend to bring harm. Instead, let us like Collins praise those that deserve our respect and gratitude.

Sharon Fields

Frankfort

Keep elections simple

It seems Valerie Kelly, who wrote an Aug. 23 Bangor Daily News letter to the editor in support of ranked-choice voting, is a excellent example of the type of person who would be in favor of this kind of voting system: a well-educated person who is most apt to keep informed of all candidates in any given election.

But it is my understanding that ranked-choice voting can be confusing to the average voter with lower education attainment and that would include many voters throughout the state of Maine. Some voters may choose to just stay home or, worse still, their votes may turn up in the pile of ballots not counted because they were not correctly marked.

I’m for the simple method: one person, one vote. Vote No on Question 5.

Wanda Lincoln

Old Town