Nothing noble about Old South

I was sad to see the story about the production of the variety show at the Sanford Maine Stage. I am in my 70s. I grew up in the South. Growing up, it was part of my culture that the “gallant boys of the South fought for a way of life those Yankees didn’t understand. We lost the war between the states, but our motives were noble.”

It is easy to forget that this was a period of the buying and selling and forced labor of other human beings. Sure, wealthy plantation owners and their wives wore beautiful clothes, spoke in soft, drawling syllables, were mannered and courtly. But, at the end of the day, the person serving the food, cleaning the house, tending the gardens, and working the cotton, sugar and rice fields was not there willingly.

I’m sorry that the theater in Sanford, which probably had sincere motives to produce an evening of enjoyment with good music (and some of that music is wonderful, regardless of its origins), has gotten caught up in this, but there is nothing gallant or pretty about subjugating one group of people by another. Romanticizing of this period of our history is wrong.

And drawing attention to how wrong it was, over and over again, is not “silliness” nor is it just people who are overly sensitive to “political correctness.” Some things are just wrong. We should come to terms with that. Learn from it. And not do it again.

Carol Lenna

Maine is making progress

Over the last 24 months, unemployment in Maine has decreased to a record low of 2.7 percent while the workforce has remained remarkably stable. These dropping rates have been consistent across all 16 counties. These statistics are consistent with a long-term downward trend since 2012 and are the result of a variety of policies and initiatives.

The implementation of minimum wage reform by 2016 referendum has had no negative effects on employment and has increased financial security for low-wage earners in Maine. Republicans in the Legislature, led by candidate for governor Kenneth Fredette, voted to lower the minimum wage and literally take money out of the pockets of Mainers. This caucus has a long way to go to get back in touch with the reality facing low-wage-earning Mainers and the remarkable progress being made in cities and towns across Maine despite the GOP’s best efforts.

As Mainers, we should be proud of the progress we have made as a state. In early 2011, the unemployment rate in nine counties was over 10 percent,and Washington County’s rate was 13.1 percent. Today, it is 4.6 percent. Businesses are opening, new industries are coming to Maine, and employees are well positioned for wage growth.

If your representative only sees threats to the status quo where you see success and opportunity, it may be time to shop around come November. We have the opportunity to find success and lift up our neighbors. I hope we don’t let anyone tell us we can’t.

John Quinn

St. Clair for Congress

I am writing this letter in support of Lucas St. Clair to be the next U.S. representative for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

This is a time when Maine desperately needs an inclusive, compelling, imaginative and realistic vision for the future of this state. Climate change is real. Health care issues are real. Transportation issues are real. The need for jobs is real.

I have known St. Clair and have seen how he has worked across sectors and across politics. His tireless efforts to gain broad support that led to the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a remarkable example of his effectiveness in working with many diverse interests. This is a truly visionary initiative, one that will stand the test of time, and just the sort of inclusive, compelling, imaginative and realistic vision that Maine needs more of at this pivotal time. Now is not the time for inaction. Bold, well thought out and developed solution driven steps are needed.

I am confident that if elected that St. Clair will continue his tireless efforts to reach out to and build consensus among diverse interests and help move Maine forward in a visionary way. Make St. Clair your first choice in the Democratic primary on June 12.

Hugh French

Obstructionist boomerang

During the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans took obstructionism about as far as they could go, from promising to block any bill the president introduced to delaying his nomination for the Supreme Court for 293 days until his term ended — the longest delay in the history of the Senate.

But now comes Hugh Hewitt of talk radio fame insisting that the “GOP must get tough on Dem obstruction.” Keep in mind that Hewitt approves of what the Republicans did to Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, calling it a “preservation of the country’s right to choose” the next justice. And yet he is fuming because the Democrats are stalling on the appointment of federal judges.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Democrats have all worked at a snail’s pace.” According to Hewitt, the cause of this delay goes back to former Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid who “took a wrecking ball to the actual rules.” The actual rule Reid “wrecked” required a two-thirds vote for Senate approval of judicial nominees. Reid changed it to a simple majority. If it weren’t for Reid, Trump’s nominees wouldn’t stand a chance.

This is not to say Democrats aren’t stalling. Why are they doing this? Perhaps because they see an upcoming election that may be dicey for Republicans and have decided that it’s time for a “preservation of the country’s right to choose” its judges.

Paul H. Gray

Kick Pruitt out

With EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt under investigation for 11 different situations now, let’s be firm about getting him out of his position. We put a fox in charge of the hen house. Let’s do our research and nominate someone who actually cares what the cause is about.

The EPA stands for environmental protection; I don’t know how Pruitt got that confused with his plans. Andrew Wheeler, the deputy administrator of the agency, is not a good candidate either.

Sydney Shields