It is so difficult for me to understand what is going on within my government. This is not something new, though President Donald Trump seems intent on pushing the envelope well beyond sanity.
I would like Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to explain to me why Congress makes it so difficult for the American people to enjoy clean water, clean air, and food free from pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, GMOs, and other suspicious manipulations.
Why are we not allowed to sue Monsanto?
Why is it necessary for Americans to actively protest against ongoing political and corporate movements that tend to further erode our health, environment and well-being?
Why are supporters of our Constitution being treated as criminals? Why have certain members of our police forces become so intimidating and murderous toward Americans without repercussions? Why is my government going around the world creating conflicts, threatening destabilization?
Why is Congress opposed to allowing all Americans to earn a “living wage”? Why are federal income taxes so titled in favor of the wealthy?
What are the long-term goals of my elected officials and the corporations the senators protect?
Enemy of the Constitution
With all the attention and controversy around athletes kneeling when the national anthem is played, I want to share my reasons for kneeling. First, the words from the Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The national anthem pays homage to our flag, asking if our flag still waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I can’t speak for all who kneel, but for African-Americans, this country has never been the land of the free. There has never been liberty and justice for all. The white men who penned the Constitution wrote in its very first article that my black ancestors were only three-fifths of a person. From those very words, they divided our nation by race. We have fought a war over that division, and the recent presidential election shows that the division is still alive and well.
I am a disabled veteran. As a commissioned officer, I took an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” What does it mean to be a domestic enemy of the Constitution? It does not mean not waving the flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, or standing during the national anthem. It means criticizing those who exercise their rights given to them by the Constitution. When you label us as unpatriotic or un-American, you are a domestic enemy of the Constitution.
John T. Spruill Jr.
Maine needs Collins in Senate
Sen. Susan Collins has every right, and a few good reasons, to conclude her political career as governor of Maine. But more than ever before, Mainers and Americans need her to remain in the Senate.
Her courageous stand against Graham-Cassidy, despite or because of last-minute bribes to amend the legislation to give Maine more financial support through 2026, is a powerful reminder that independent-thinking senators, especially in the GOP, are needed more than ever.
Additionally, cleaning up after all the messes made by Gov. Paul LePage would require a Gov. Collins to issue countless apologies for LePage’s innumerable misguided actions. Collins does not need that grief. Collins should stay in the Senate and continue to serve as a voice of reason and compassion for Maine and for the nation.
Where are all the birds?
There has never been a time when we haven’t had dozens of birds at the several feeders we always have out and filled with sunflower seeds. But now, for the last several weeks, we have hardly seen any birds at all other than an occasional nuthatch, one or two phoebes, and a few sapsuckers.
Has anyone else had this experience?
Anthem protests show discontent
The impulsive comments about the national anthem protests President Donald Trump made last month at his rally in Alabama and his following tirade on Twitter left some Americans with a bitter taste in their mouth, while empowering others who feel their values are now shared with someone in power. Although the Constitution allows Trump the freedom to call for the termination of football players who kneel during the national anthem, his authority ends when it comes to any sort of action on the matter.
The players who choose to take a knee are simply taking advantage of their First Amendment right as well. After being criticized for protests and rallies, black Americans have found a way to peacefully and unobtrusively show their discontent with the state of the country. And even this silent display of solidarity has people up in arms.
These NFL fans that are voicing their outrage and threatening to boycott the NFL over the peaceful protests of a few players are the same ones who continued their viewership while several players have been accused of domestic violence and assault since 2016. They are the same fans who “booed” during the anthem, causing more of a disturbance during “The Star-Spangled Banner” than those who silently knelt for the duration of it.
NFL games are one of the most watched events on TV, and the players are simply using their platform as an opportunity to speak for those whose voices go unheard.
Anthem protest hypocrisy
A few years ago, there was an athlete, Tim Tebow, who drew attention to his Christian faith by taking a knee at the end of games to give prayerful thanks. He was soundly criticized for using a sports event for such a purpose.
Now we have athletes using the national anthem as a political event. The people who disagree with that process are now criticized for being critical of these athletes. It appears that the athletes have a First Amendment right of free speech, but those who disagree with them do not.
The hypocrisy here is astounding. I guess taking a knee in prayer is bad and taking a knee to make a political statement at the expense of your national anthem is good.
Are there not others that see the problem here? As the old quote goes, “we have met the enemy, and it is us.”