Let the band play ‘Dixie’

My great-great-great grandfather served in the 16th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. His name was Evarts P. Plummer, and he was at Gettysburg during the first day of the battle. I am so proud of his service.

I fear that in one important area, though, we are not following the steps of my ancestor, nor are we heeding the spirit and words of Abraham Lincoln or Joshua Chamberlain. Going by what I am am reading in editorials and hearing on the news, Lincoln surely executed those treasonous monsters of the South, right? Far from it.

The South was wrong. No doubt. Yet, the heroes of the Union were able to see the humanity in the Confederate States of America’s veterans after the war.

Rather than eternally banishing or executing the Confederate generals and veterans, leaders like Lincoln and Chamberlain welcomed them back into the Union. Most of the surviving Confederate generals lived to old age — and were pardoned. Congress went on to list Confederate veterans along with other U.S. veterans.

The end of the Civil War left Lincoln desiring a healing of the Union, not an eternal hatred and division against a misguided South. The retribution and revenge we see in the streets toward all symbols Confederate is not the path Lincoln or Chamberlain showed us.

Recall that day after Lee surrendered, Lincoln instructed the band to play “Dixie.” One of the greatest challenges of character is still seeing the humanity in those you despise.

Jeremy Hiltz

Cary Plantation

Tax carbon emissions

Recent news of the day has been a diversion from what Congress needs to cover, namely to stem the tide of climate change. Human-caused climate change is slow compared with a human life span, so we barely notice. Yet, the costs of battling wildfires, floods and rising sea levels continue to rise.

Climate scientists the world over have shown that climate change is due to emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, which, together with other “greenhouse gases,” keep more of the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and oceans.

Conservative economists agree that Congress should impose a steadily increasing price on CO2 emissions (at the coal mine and oil and gas wells). Such a tax would not support government programs, but would be given back to people in equitable shares as a dividend.

Economic modeling has shown this carbon fee and dividend can build the economy, add jobs and stimulate innovation by industry. The dividends would be greater than the increased cost of goods for 70 percent of people, according to a Treasury Department study. And, of course, slowing or stopping the burning also would pay health dividends with cleaner air.

So let’s put our trust in the courage already demonstrated by Sen. Susan Collins, who understands the need for action on climate change, and Sen. Angus King, who knows the science. Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree have both expressed interest in joining the House Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which is considering proposing such a plan in the near future.

Peter Garrett


Robert E. Lee an honorable man

I am extremely disappointed by BDN columnist Amy Fried’s Aug. 16 blog post on Charlottesville, especially coming from a supposedly learned university professor. She defends the removal of the statue of Gen. Robert Lee in Charlottesville simply because he served in the Confederate army. By quoting Vice President of the Confederacy Alexander Stephens, she implies his opinions must be the opinions of Lee, which is like saying every word tweeted by President Donald Trump is the opinion of every true American.

Contrary to what she would have us believe, Lee was opposed to both slavery and secession. He actually freed some, but not all, of the slaves his wife had inherited from Martha Washington’s family. He was personally torn by Virginia’s decision to secede, wanting but unable to remain loyal to both his state and the union.

At the end of the war, Lee did perhaps more than any other man, North or South, to reunite the country. While many Confederates wanted to continue the war as a guerilla war, Lee admonished them to accept the results of the war and become good, productive citizens.

Roger Sproul


Disrespecting the National Anthem

Can someone tell me what’s wrong with me when I get so darn outraged when I see these highly paid National Football League players disrespecting our unanimously esteemed National Anthem, with the latest stunt of sitting on an orange cooler and nibbling on a half-eaten banana during the anthem? How are we as proud Americans of our nation and all that it stands for, including our soldiers who gave their lives during our wars for our veterans and for our rights and privileged democracy, supposed to respect “their cause” when these NFL players view our national pride so dismissively and disdainfully?

Our newest Colin Kaepernick wannabe is Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders. Lynch seems to have forgotten that it is our very hard-fought-for democracy that gave him the right to protest as he did through our First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

I believe we all can justifiably find fault with the way many things are handled in our country, and it is incumbent on us as citizens of our democracy to address these injustices if they truly exist by subjecting them to our laws, our courts and the principles of justice available to all of us.

Maybe the answer for this is to give Kaepernick and Lynch a government-paid, extended stay in Russia and North Korea and maybe they would come back being able to see why everyone else in the stadium is standing and respecting our anthem.

Peter Pinette


Remove Trump

Republicans could be rewarded for removing President Donald Trump. What is holding Republicans back from impeaching Trump? Fear they may lose one election? Fear Republicans might lose their base? If the base is neo-Nazis and white supremacists, what does that tell you?

If as a legislative body Republicans do not act, we might lose the country.

Act now. Germany waited, and look what happened. Don’t let history repeat itself. Heck, impeaching Trump now might gain respect for the Republican Party from rational and real American citizens, those of us who know and honor the Constitution.

Not removing Trump will forever be a stain on the Republican Party and upon our nation.

Keith Newman