Let Confederate statues stand

There is a movement to remove statues from all parts of America because they allegedly represent racism. Why don’t we destroy all the paintings depicting the Civil War as well? After all, don’t they represent the same thing?

Further, there has been no mention of the original reason for the Civil War, the desire of the Southern states to secede from the union. The statues should remain and be used as examples for people to teach and discuss with future generations what they believe they represent.

There are people in the United States who vehemently opposed the Vietnam War but I don’t believe we should destroy the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Stop the fighting and think beyond the visceral emotions.

Paul Haslam


Throw off Big Tobacco’s yoke

Referring to the Aug. 17 BDN editorial, “Being 21 To Buy Tobacco,” has it occurred to anyone that if we are to be free of the deadly effects of this poison and its poison merchants (Big Tobacco), we must first cure government’s, both state and federal, addiction to the tax revenues from tobacco on which they seem to be so dependent.

The tobacco industry depends on its willing drug addicts and purchasers to keep buying their product. Shut Big Tobacco down. Completely. Then and only then can we, as American citizens, throw off Big Tobacco’s yoke and be serious about this nation’s health.

Has this obvious bit of information not occurred to anyone in the BDN editorial department by any chance?

David Daigle


Maine fought against secession

Whenever I see the Confederate battle flag displayed in my travels through our great state, I cannot help but think of the 20th Maine’s heroic stand at Gettysburg under the command of Brewer-born Col. Joshua Chamberlain. The Aug. 17 BDN article about the Steuben blueberry raker who flew the Confederate flag while on the job triggered again my thoughts of the 20th Maine.

The Steuben man was miffed that he was forced to take down the Confederate battle flag. He is self-described as a “red-blooded Yankee Mainer.” Chamberlain and his men would take serious issue with that claim. He claims to believe in “our veterans,” including Confederate soldiers who died fighting for their rights.

I’d ask the man exactly what those “rights” included. Many, if not most, of the Confederate infantry were dirt or tenant farmers too poor to own slaves. So what “right” worth treason and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men is left; the right to subjugate a race of people deemed by Southerners to be inferior?

The antebellum South and Southern generals have been sanitized and mythologized by unreconstructed Southerners and fellow travelers. The act of secession and war constituted treason against the United States. No patriot — and especially no Mainer — would or should display the colors of the enemy of our country.

So when I see the Confederate battle flag displayed in Maine, I think of the men of the 20th Maine and their valor and sacrifice in defense of the United States.

Alan Lieberman


Fascism has no place in America

Figuratively speaking, we all live in Charlottesville, Virginia; Barcelona, Spain; Charleston, South Carolina; Newtown, Connecticut; and every other place hateful fascism raises its grotesque stench.

As the most prominent former Charlottesville resident, Thomas Jefferson, declared in 1800, “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Nazis and nationalists, racists, white supremacists, bigots, misogynists, religious fanatics and fundamentalists are, in general, all tentacles of fascism.

Fascism has no place in our pluralistic, tolerant civil society. It thrives on willful ignorance, terror and fear. As an indivisible part of the human community, we are each duty bound to resist, repudiate, and stand in clear opposition to these misanthropes in every violent or apathetic passive form that they appear.

Americans and our allies fought, died and ultimately won World War II to prevent fascism and the hell on earth that it seeks to manifest. As Jefferson’s clarion call reminds us, it takes “eternal hostility” to prevent the slide of civilization back to the dark ages of totalitarianism. We are called by God, the great spirit, the higher power, or whatever spiritual force we each believe in to stand on the side of love, compassion and justice, and to speak and act coming from this truth.

Scott Denman


A jerk is a jerk

If there’s one thing in my life I always disliked, it’s a jerk. To this day, I can stand them. I don’t care who they are or how good they are at what they do for a living, if they’re a jerk then I have no use for them. On that, I would like to think that most people would agree with me.

But it seems the most recent phenomenon is politicians that are distinctly unlikable yet get a pass because they are seen as productive. Whether each is productive is a matter of debate, of course, but their being rude, low-class and highly disagreeable is a distinct indicator of how far our current society has degraded.

I may be from the “old school,” but my first measure of a politician is whether I would invite them into my home to have dinner with my family. If I wouldn’t, then they will not get my vote. Period. Full stop. Game over. I don’t care if they are blue or red, man or woman, conservative or liberal. And if this jerk does make it to office, for instance, as governor of Maine or as president of the United States, I will just stand and wonder how far we have fallen to accept being represented by a jerk.

We make excuses for them like “He is not a politician.” Or “She’s just talks plain and simple.” Or “He tells it like it is.” Nope. They’re just jerks.

Anthony Winslow