How to sell a border to Mexico

President Donald Trump is in a stalemate with Mexico’s President Pena Nieto. Mexico’s refusal to pay for a wall and our president’s financially backward suggestion to place a tariff on imported goods from Mexico can be remedied simply.

The Pew Research Center found a net loss in migration from Mexico to the United States between 2010 and 2014 as legal Mexican immigrants sought family reunification and left the U.S. for Mexico during the recession. Further, the number of illegal immigrants from all countries residing in the U.S. has stabilized recently, declining from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2014. The proportion of those illegally residing in the U.S. from Mexico has declined relative to the proportion of those from elsewhere. In another change, Mexican demand for American marijuana appears to be growing, and with California recently legalizing recreational use, that portion of the agricultural trade balance with our southern neighbor is likely to change as well.

Consistent with our president’s other executive orders, Trump fails his homework and bombastically seeks to solve a problem that looks different in his imagination than it is in reality. But if the administration really wants a wall on our southern border, just pitch it to Mexico as a way of keeping in Trump and federal troops seeking “bad hombres” rather than keeping Mexican nationals out. It’s not much of a spin, and I’m sure then that Mexico would happily foot the bill.

Robert Baskett


Our ancestors would be ashamed

I wonder what our immigrant ancestors would tell us about the state of affairs in the United States today. This excludes our First Nations brothers and sisters, who were here before our ancestors arrived, experiencing the wrath of so-called Christians in North Dakota. Most of our ancestors came to America to escape religious persecution or seek safe haven from murderous dictators such as Adolf Hitler or the kings and queens of Europe. Today they seek safety from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, considered by some a war criminal.

I dare say our ancestors who made this country great would be ashamed of the leadership that now holds sway, spouting a nativism and a hatred of immigrants not seen since the Irish immigrant influx of 1840s and 1850s. Our ancestors would shout shame on us. Our ancestors would believe President Donald Trump is an evil non-Christian and wonder how he ever got elected in a so-called Christian country.

They would say we have forgotten our past and have bought into the lies and fears of Trump. Our ancestors would ask, “How can you just sit there and do nothing while Trump destroys what has made America the greatest place to live on Earth?” We even have people here in Bangor who proudly fly the Confederate flag, which represents economies and ways of life built on the slave trade. “Shame on them,” our ancestors would say.

How will you respect your ancestors?

Tim Rogers


Trump tramples values

I am afraid this country is in danger of a serious constitutional crisis, a threat to the very validity of our sacred values that no period of our history can rival, except for the Civil War.

The Trump administration seems determined to shape the objectives of our country in the world for the benefit of a small percentage of the nation, not for the greater good of all citizens as the Founding Fathers intended.

For the sole purpose of supporting his loyalists, President Donald Trump tells half-truths and full lies, unabashedly calls any opponent derogatory names, and breaks many diplomatic lines to do just whatever he wants. He denigrates our judicial system and in his own words “keeps us guessing” about how he will respond to judgments he doesn’t like. This is no way to run a stable, well-founded country.

One can only imagine that in his attempt to stir things up, Trump may use his supposed supremacy as commander-in-chief to round up anyone on his “enemies list” he perceives as a threat. That’s the kind of leadership Vladimir Putin would like.

Steve Colhoun


Abortion not health care

It is frustrating to keep reading that Planned Parenthood provides vital health services for women.

It does not list any cancer screening on its web page of services, and it does not have a single mammogram screening device in the country. It lists screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, flu shots and other services available at many community health clinics.

The millions of tax dollars it receives from Medicaid and Title X cannot be justified as needed health care. Yes, Planned Parenthood can perform an abortion, but that is not health care.

Donald Lewis III


Grateful for Rep. Tipping’s work

We are proud to live in a state where our citizen-legislators work hard every day, not only at the state capitol but also in their communities. Whether for businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions or other entities, our legislators’ daily work enables them to stay in touch with the needs and aspirations of the neighbors whom they represent.

Orono Rep. Ryan Tipping’s efforts on behalf of better-funded education for Maine’s children clearly demonstrate his commitment to serving his community and our entire state. Before accepting a compensated position in support of education funding, Tipping sought advice from the Maine Ethics Commission. Having been assured the position would present no ethical concerns, he did his job: working to insure that every child in Maine has the opportunity to succeed, thanks to appropriately funded education.

Rather than chastise Tipping for his sincere and ethical work on behalf of Maine’s school children, scrutiny should be directed toward those legislators and state officials who have neither the ethical commitment nor the moral courage to fund our children’s education at an appropriate level. Their effort to malign Tipping’s character, undermine his committee role and repeal a voter-approved funding law could eventually cost our state jobs, revenue and the hope that should be cultivated, not crushed, in our children.

We are grateful Tipping represents our district and is working in Augusta for all of Maine.

Mary and Jim Bird