Dana’s mascot OpEd convincing

I want to thank Maulian Dana for her OpEd on changing Skowhegan’s mascot, “ Indian mascots do not honor us.” I am embarrassed to admit that I was one of those people who didn’t see the harm in a school having an Indian as their mascot. With one sentence Dana made it clear to me where the problem lay.

She recalled watching a Skowhegan game on TV as a teenager and seeing “fans prancing around in fake feathers, making hand over mouth war whoops, beating on fake drums and carrying signs with racist language on them.” I get it now. What a warped view this provides of the rich and varied culture of Native Americans! I hope the effort to change this last holdout of a misbegotten idea is successful. I’d like to think Maine is better than that.

Kate McLoud


Dead deer pictures are ‘heartbreaking’

As a longtime BDN reader and lifelong animal lover, each November I must endure the heartbreaking pictures of dead deer in the Outdoors section, the hunters beaming at their prize.

But I was completely unprepared for the Dec. 1-2 edition, with a front-page story and photo featuring a horrifying deer “adventure” continued, with photos, on page 3. I understand it was irresistibly tempting to put this on the front page but please consider the feelings of your deer-loving readers who are deeply distressed and offended by such.

Trudy Nelson


Ranked-choice a ‘fair method’

I’m getting really sick of Rep. Bruce Poliquin insisting that Mainers are stupid and can’t understand a simple voting method like ranked-choice voting. Maybe he has problems with understanding, but most Mainers are smart and understand the simple math in this voting method.

They also research all the candidates before voting. Poliquin’s so-called expert claims that people are voting blind because they don’t have a chance to look at the candidates left standing if there is no 50-plus percent winner after the first round. That is nonsense. Voters have already evaluated all candidates in order to select first, second, etc., place for each of them. What does that expert think? That voters throw darts to make their selections? And if a voter chooses not to select anyone in the second, third, etc., places, that’s their choice. They know the rules.

Poliquin expects a judge to invalidate Mainers’ votes who followed the rules and selected their preferred candidate, even though they knew it was unlikely that their preferred candidate would be elected, because they knew their vote wouldn’t be a spoiler. This is a very fair method which has the bonus of saving the state money and time by not needing a runoff election.

Deborah Ferrell


Swedish girl inspires hope for climate action

I want to tell you about Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old from Sweden. In conversation with her parents, she learned the importance of turning out lights and reducing waste. And why? Because, she said, there is something called climate change, something very strange because humans seem to be causing it. “I couldn’t understand why, if that were so, we would be talking about anything else. It would be our first priority.”

She’d heard of students in the U.S. striking on a school day to protest school shootings and figured it was just as important. So she sat outside the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm for days at a time. Then the movement spread to other countries. She says to anyone who will listen: “I will not beg our world leaders to care for our future. I will tell them that change is coming, whether you like it or not!”

Greta is at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, where everyone is learning that, despite a worldwide leveling off of carbon emissions in 2014-15, they are now rising again at something like 2 percent per year.

When asked “What gives you hope?” she answered “not having hope is no excuse for inaction. When you start acting, hope is everywhere!”

Greta gives me hope and gets me into action. What about you?

Peter Garrett


Citizens Climate Lobby in Maine