Trump’s unpresidential fight with media

President Donald Trump appears to be on a campaign to convince Americans not to trust what they hear in the news. When he tweets about “fake news,” he isn’t talking about the National Enquirer. He is tweeting about the “dishonest news media,” the “failing New York Times,” and the “failing Washington Post.”

It is shocking to me that a president would strive to discredit the national news media, including some of the most respected news organizations in our country. A free press is a hallmark of democracy. An informed citizenry requires access to independent information and analysis in addition to official government sources.

Why would a president encourage the public to disbelieve what’s being reported in the news? Few presidents love the press, but this seems to me to be entirely inappropriate and unpresidential.

Carey Donovan


Collins should hold a town hall

Annie’s Clark’s April 6 BDN letter to the editor in response to concerns about Sen. Susan Collins’ accessibility points to the problem rather than the solution.

Most of the senator’s constituents are not members of chambers of commerce, the Sierra Club, the Maine Association of Public Housing, or other special interest groups. Most of us cannot travel to Washington for a coffee meeting.

But more than 600 people signed a letter in the BDN on March 30, asking the senator to have a town hall meeting in Bangor. This is the best way to meet with constituents not tied to special interest groups. To date, the senator has not responded.

The purpose of a town hall meeting is to dig deeper with follow-up questions. This does not happen during a radio interview or a Facebook Live meeting. We deserve to understand how and why the senator makes very important decisions that are affecting our lives.

Other states have set standards for town meetings. For example, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon holds a town meeting in each county every year. He has done this for more than 20 years. I encourage the senator to look in our eyes, hear our voices, and listen carefully.

Joyce Mallery


A cynical electoral strategy

With so much chaos engulfing Washington these days, it’s easy to miss the threats to our democracy that lie closer to home. Enter LD 155, a bill recently introduced to the Maine Legislature by Republican Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport with the ostensible aim of protecting “voting integrity,” even though voter fraud is extremely rare. If signed into law, it would require college students who live on university property to receive a new driver’s license or other form of state-issued identification whenever they switch addresses to retain their eligibility to vote.

The real objective of this bill is clear to anyone who has attended college. Students move — a lot. My address changed four times in three years when I attended the University of Maine in Orono, either because I needed more affordable rent or because the residence halls closed during the summer. These are stumbling blocks nearly all of us must overcome as young adults. It is cruel and stupid to penalize voters for them. Unless, of course, one is more interested in partisan gain than fair elections.

A survey conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics last March revealed that 61 percent of Americans under the age of 30 prefer Democratic candidates over Republican ones. It is understandable for conservative politicians to be worried about those numbers. Instead of trying to convince young voters to support their policies, Republican lawmakers have simply decided to discourage them from civic engagement by making them jump through hoops.

This strategy is not just cynical, it’s also short-sighted.

Roy Meredith


Implement ranked-choice voting

There’s a lot of reasons to love Maine: good people, rugged mountains, sparkling lakes, loons, lobster. Last November, Maine voters added another reason to the list: ranked-choice voting for most statewide elections. We have always had an independent streak, and we’re tired of being asked to choose between bad and worse when it comes to our leaders. After living through 2016, I think we can all agree on that.

Ranked-choice voting can help bring in better candidates and better ideas. It will give us freedom to vote for the candidate we really want. It might take a little effort to set it up, but it has worked in some U.S. cities, and it’s worth it to make it happen in Maine.

We voted last fall to use ranked-choice voting starting in 2018, but right now, some in the Legislature are trying to delay or undermine our new law. Maybe they didn’t get the memo, so here’s a helpful reminder for them: Maine has already decided that it wants this. We care a lot about it, and we won’t stop until we get it. We expect the Legislature to honor the will of the people, not bury it with bureaucratic hold-ups.

Luke Beland


The end is in sight

I encourage my fellow members of the underclass, by whom I mean the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and all those others that have been the target of the hubris of the governor, that, at least on the state level, the end is in sight.

They need only to survive until January 2019, when Gov. Paul LePage and his cronies crawl back under their well-funded rock.

Until then, while the young, the wealthy, and the wise pontificate on the sorry state of affairs, driving home in their $40,000 cars, and natter away on blogspots and electronic social networks, secure in their health and their moral superiority, it is we, the underclass, who must survive the remaining days in vulnerability and despair.

Do what you must for yourselves, your children and your brothers and sisters by whatever means at the ballot box or in the streets, and don’t lose hope.

Peter Froehlich