Trump no role model

Our family can (usually) remain respectful and agree to disagree when it comes to politics. This year at Thanksgiving that changed due to the current political climate and some of our family being ardent Donald Trump supporters. After my teenage son stated that “Trump is fake news because facts prove that he lies constantly,” bedlam broke loose and Thanksgiving dinner turned very unpleasant.

Worse yet, on the drive home, our son asked my husband and I if we thought our family members were like the Trump supporters who threaten to rape, kill, or beat up anyone who criticizes Trump. It deeply saddened us to think that children are sitting around dinner tables looking at their relatives and wondering about such things.

There can be no denying that Trump in a very short period of time has created more anger, hatred and divisiveness than any other president in history. Trump’s ignorant, hateful, angry rhetoric has badly affected national and international relationships, family relationships — even football. Trump doesn’t represent what’s best about America or Americans and is a very bad role model for children.

2017 was a difficult year. Our family has made a promise to approach 2018 (and Christmas dinner) with more civility, kindness, respect, understanding and tolerance of our differences. Change for the better is possible, and it begins with us as individuals (and families) behaving in ways that helps our children look up to us — and have a happier holiday season.

Cathy Thompson


Harassment never acceptable

As a baby boomer, I remember parents saying that proper social discourse should not include topics of sex, religion or politics. So much for that in today’s news coverage invading our homes daily.

The relationship of women to men in our society needs to be discussed because apparently the social cues are either ignored, misunderstood or avoided. One would hope that “stop it” or “no” would be sufficient to end any harassment or abuse.

Women need to assert their limits and boundary issues more effectively. And men need to heed the efforts of a woman to stop crude, rude and abusive behavior. And women need to learn how men react to certain behaviors that seem to press the “maybe” button.

Let’s hope that the recent cleansings of bad male behavior also promote women’s awareness of their possible ambivalent cues. And let us remember that unwanted intimacies between a person with power, such as a boss, and a subordinate, such as a worker, dependent on that person with power is never acceptable.

Jane Fairchild

Orneville Township

Diversity benefits students

In the recent article, “White Maine students are least likely in nation to see kids of another race at school,” the BDN singled out charter high school Baxter Academy for Technology and Science for its lack of diversity compared to other Portland high schools.

While Baxter Academy is located in Portland, Baxter is not primarily a Portland school but rather a regional resource for STEM access. The school’s catchment area reaches into 60 largely rural communities that are underserved with STEM opportunity and where families are eager to connect with the school’s rigorous college prep for STEM majors.

Students enroll from across the state, which is the whitest in the nation and whose schools don’t encompass much diversity. The school enrolls based on a random lottery and runs buses across a landmass four times the size of Rhode Island.

The article also doesn’t reflect what has happened since 2015: Baxter’s percentages of students of color have increased with each incoming class. Our current freshman class includes 15.32 percent students who identify as other than white. The percentage stands at 12 percent for the school as a whole.

The article states that 83 percent of Maine’s white students attend schools where 90 percent of the student population is white. For the current school year, Baxter Academy does not fit into that statistic. We believe deeply that our students benefit from coming together as a community of learners from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Kelli Pryor

Executive Director

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science


No reason to shun ‘Dreamers’

In his Dec. 7 BDN OpEd, Lawrence Lockman makes a fervent denunciation of the “Dreamers,” those who, as children, were illegally brought to the country by their parents and who know only America as home. He fears that extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would reduce the number of jobs available to native Mainers and depress their wages.

Lockman cites important figures that put the matter in perspective: There are 95 DACA recipients in Maine out of a workforce of 679,000. If these numbers are accurate, then DACA recipients make up only 0.014 percent of the workforce. Thus they can have only a trivial effect on employment or wages. (For the country as a whole, the figure is 0.3 percent.)

Given the above, it is hard to see why Lockman is so worked up or why Maine workers should be at all concerned. We can easily afford to be generous to these young people who find themselves in such difficult circumstances.

Michael P. Bacon


Joyless commenters

I can feel nothing but the deepest sympathy for many of the online commenters on the recent article “Stressed-out UMaine students get a break with therapy dogs,” for the world truly has robbed them of joy if they feel the need to express that college students taking comfort in a dog is a “problem.”

I have hardly been so disappointed. What kind of person feels the need to take the happiness of others and patronize them for it? Who are any of us readers to judge the lives of a present day college student and the lives they lead in this tumultuous world?

Many express their concerns that the students are not being prepared for the “real world,” which is as logical an argument as I can find among the bitter population. Why should people have to suffer in order for people to validate them?

Truly, if you feel that students far from home finding comfort in an animal is a problem we need to face, I must direct you to the current state of the world — the shootings, the wildfires in Los Angeles, the threat of war. But, of course, let’s belittle college students for finding happiness, because, apparently, that’s the problem in the world today.

Emily Patrock