America diminished

The America I pledged allegiance to as a child and grew to love and respect has diminished before my eyes. “Democracy” has slipped into nefarious hands, as recently demonstrated by the mysterious Electoral College. I no longer trust that my vote in federal elections will be taken seriously.

The prevailing theme in Washington seems to be one of mean-spiritedness. Promised freedoms of speech, freedoms to assemble and protest inhumane treatment have also diminished, to put it mildly. Thanks to both major U.S. political parties, I breathe foul air, drink tainted water and eat poisoned food.

I find it difficult to believe that being spied upon is for my protection.

The disastrous direction my government has chosen leaves me with little hope for the future. Sadly, I can offer no immediate solutions, but I am reminded of a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed on a plaque fixed to the Statue of Liberty’s base. In the second verse, she wrote:

“‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she/With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

That “golden door” has tarnished beyond recognition. We are the sons and daughters of immigrants and slaves. But today the prevailing mood might be better represented if the Statue of Liberty were temporarily disassembled and replaced with a block of ICE.

Les Simon


Poliquin puts Maine first

As politicians continue to divide along party lines, Rep. Bruce Poliquin leads by reaching across to the aisle to work with Democrats. Poliquin has been working alongside fellow Democratic Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree to be able to better serve the people of Maine.

Poliquin has helped reduce regulations and unnecessary costs to Maine’s lobster industry by passing legislation in Congress. Poliquin has always put the people of Maine first, and does not let party affiliation affect what he was sent to Washington to do. He is committed to ensuring that Maine’s economy continues to grow.

Reducing regulations allows small businesses to be able to enter the market without any constraints. This allows small-business owners more opportunities to create jobs and expand their businesses. But more importantly, this shows that Poliquin is dedicated to his constituents by showing leadership to reach beyond party lines. Maine’s fisheries are important to its economy, and Poliquin is protecting Maine’s biggest assets.

Thomas White


Climate change fueling Lyme disease

Recent studies have show that Lyme disease — a tick-borne illness with debilitating consequences — is on the rise. If left untreated, this disease can cause arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling. For children under 18, it may severely impair cognitive function. However, far from getting closer to eradicating this disease, it is growing more and more prevalent.

As global warming causes warm temperatures to extend deeper into the year, the season in which ticks are most likely to latch on to a host is being extended. Ticks are now able to thrive in environments where they previously would have frozen to death. This is disastrous for Maine, particularly in areas along the coast. Here, Lyme disease has reached more than 1,000 cases per year since 2011, with a spike to almost 1,800 cases in 2017.

There are ways that you can avoid picking up ticks; by avoiding long grass, and staying in the center of the trail, to name a few. In the end, there is only one way that we may truly combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses: combating global warming.

While there are small things we each can do in our own lives to combat global warming, the most effective way is by voting for leaders who will enact legislation that will mitigate its effects. If we allow those we elect to protect us to continue to pass legislation that is harmful to our planet, diseases like Lyme disease will only become more and more prevalent in our communities.

Sophie Davies


Right to life

In response to Mollie Barnathan’s recent OpEd, she makes a compelling case for allowing abortion, but I totally disagree with her reasoning and conclusions.

Her “choice” to spare her daughters and whole family grave suffering is understandable. However, is terminating human life ever an acceptable “compassionate” choice? Where does this stop? Should we kill a 4-year-old with cancer, a teen with addictions, a relative with decreasing mental abilities? What about the fifth of the Ten Commandments? It is always wrong to kill innocent human life.

At 42, I live with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. I have a brain shunt for intracranial hypertension, and I am a survivor of ovarian cancer. Many people might deem my life too full of suffering to be worth living. However, as a person of faith and hope, my life is rooted in purpose and meaning, and I treasure my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I find creative approaches to pursuing goals and dreams (including working part-time online as a technical editor). If, someday, I can no longer “do” anything useful, I hope no one will be so “compassionate” as to end my life.

Barnathan warns of “the very real possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court” and that “Senators now hold the keys to women’s … fundamental freedoms.” The right to life is our fundamental freedom. We need justices who believe this.

Sarah M. Menkin


Loaned words

For years, the English language has borrowed words from other languages, such as hors d’oeuvres or czar. Now that President Donald Trump has forged such close relations with Vladimir Putin, I think we should adopt the Russian word “nyet,” which means “no.”

When asked whether he thinks the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election, Trump could simply say, “Nyet.” This would save a lot of time at press conferences. It would allow the president to spend more time saying how wonderful he is and blasting his critics.

We could also modify “nyet” to make it “n’yet,” which could stand for “not yet.” So, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s chief apologist and obfuscator, is asked whether she thinks the president has reached the Constitution’s standard for impeachable offense, she could simply say, “N’yet.”

Steven Colburn