Fourth of July woes

I’m having difficulty with the Fourth of July this year. It’s supposed to be a day of pride in our country, a celebration of independence, of what is best about being an American. Flags fly high, salutes ring out, bands play, we have a good time.

But we have a country that separates kids from their parents and locks them up separately. We have a country that once asked “give me your tired and poor,” and now want to lock them up. We have policymakers who forget how their ancestors got here.

We will soon have the highest national debt since World War II. My neighbors, boat builders and fishermen, are facing tariffs that will raise the cost of their business by 25 percent.

We have representatives who are real good at yelling at each other but not working together to solve problems. We have a string of uncensored rudeness coming out of the White House. We have voting districts drawn to suit party needs, not representing constituents fairly. We have citizens, frustrated at the voting process, being uncivil to public officials. And we have an endless war.

What do I do? Fly my flag upside down or at half staff? Put a black armband on my old cammies? How do the organizers of our parades feel? What if the honor guards showed up with flags at half staff? What if Souza were played as a dirge?

Ben Fuller


A theory about LePage’s obstruction

Here’s a theory concerning Gov. Paul LePage. You may have experienced or observed in your workplace, as I have, managers who focus not on the performance and welfare of those they supervise but on what they think will please those above them in the pecking order, regardless of the effects on others.

Does this perhaps explain the otherwise scarcely understandable mind of LePage, who resists steps that obviously would benefit the people of Maine, such as Medicaid expansion or approval of bond sales essential to financing maintenance of our roads and other infrastructure? Is his major concern not, as he claims, the fiscal health of the state, but rather proving his ideological purity to conservative operatives at the national level who might be in a position to offer him his next job when he leaves Augusta?

Just a thought.

Thomas Eichler


Herbig for Maine Senate

I am very pleased and proud to endorse my friend Erin Herbig to represent Waldo County in the Maine Senate.

Herbig has represented Belfast, Northport and Waldo in the Maine House and also served as House majority leader. She is experienced, thoughtful and hard-working.

Herbig is a real people person. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She communicates well with people and she wants to solve problems and get things done.

Herbig is a local person and is responsive to local problems, projects and groups.

Small towns and rural areas need representatives who experience and understand their particular issues. As a retiree, homeowner, mother, grandmother and community member, I appreciate Herbig’s work to lower property taxes by restoring municipal revenue sharing and adequately funding public schools; offering student debt relief; expanding high-speed internet to rural areas; supporting a community college center in Waldo County; and supporting families with affordable child care, health care and paid family leave.

I have admired Herbig’s support of local businesses, tirelessly visiting businesses — large and small — all over Waldo County. She listens, and she asks questions and offers support.

One important issue Herbig has been fighting for is better access to services for our fellow community members with autism and intellectual disabilities.

I couldn’t cast my vote for a more hard-working and responsive candidate.

Diana Hauser


Ringelstein a game changer

Self-made, determined and genuine are the first words that come to mind when I think of Zak Ringelstein and his campaign for U.S. Senate. I first met Ringelstein when I joined the Old Town Area Democrats marching in the Riverfest parade in fall 2017.

As we took our place in front of the high school’s marching band on that crisp fall day, Ringelstein and I hoisted the parade sign and started discussing politics. He asked which political issues I was most concerned about under the Trump administration, and I explained that I was hugely concerned about crippling student loans and the fate of the Affordable Care Act. He told me he had come from modest upbringings and had to take out huge student loans to put himself through college. Upon graduating, Ringelstein and his wife, Leah, were faced with more than $150,000 in student debt. He also shared my concern regarding the ACA being stripped by Republicans but was determined to keep former President Barack Obama’s lifesaving program alive and well.

What initially struck and captivated me about my conversation with Ringelstein was how deeply and genuinely he related to my concerns. Never before had I heard or encountered a politician or candidate who could listen and say, “I know exactly what you are feeling, I have been in your shoes before.”

Ultimately, Ringelstein should be Maine’s next senator because he is a game changer for the Democratic Party and an exemplary advocate for positive change.

Hannah Holte


Terrorism against Native Americans

I write as an Indian, aka Native American, to thank the BDN for its June 15 editorial about family separations, a practice that has been used against Native Americans, and to point out several historical facts regarding Indian and white relations since contact.

The terrorism spoken of was brought to our homeland in 1492. Since those first European refugees had received permission/instructions from their kings, queens, popes, etc., in how to deal with trust so-called infidels. Through this official “permission,” those pilgrims brought malice and forethought in all of their dealings with Indian infidels.

If one reads the papal bull, one will read that the Indians as infidels were/are considered to be non-human and should be killed and eradicated or enslaved and have their homeland taken from them.

For the skeptics and revisionists, their required reading should be Howard Zinn, David Stannard and Ward Churchill in order to learn how 95 percent of Indians of America were eradicated in a very short period of time by the invading Europeans.

Dan Ennis

Traditional elder