How to restore civility in government

I have been hearing a lot about the lack of civility in our government. That lack of civility increased dramatically a few years back and is increasing still. Here’s, in my opinion, why.

The House or Representatives has always been very combative and raucous. The Senate, on the other hand, was a deliberative body as it took 60 votes to pass most substantive bills. That required compromise to get members of the minority to vote for a bill. The minority had some power. There were not enough votes to pass the Affordable Care Act, so President Barack Obama and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to require only 51 votes on that legislation. Compromise and consensus were no longer necessary, it was just a matter of power. The minority was irrelevant.

They also changed the rule from 61 votes to 51 for judicial nominations. Under the old 60-vote system neither Justices Neil Gorsuch or Brett Kavanaugh would have been nominated because the president would have known from the onset they could not be confirmed with 60 votes. With the minority party having no way to effect these things the only thing they can do is bluster and name call.

The responsibility for all that rancor lies directly at the feet of Obama and Reid.

It will stay this way until we have a party in power willing, for the good of the process, to relinquish some of their power and return the rules to the 60-vote threshold for all legislation.

Good luck on that one. I see no one with that kind of wisdom anywhere in the government.

Bob Mercer


End shutdown, fund border protection

I, too, oppose $5 billion spent on a brick-and-mortar wall along our southern border. However, this partial government shutdown is junk.

Democrats must show leadership. I want to see a unified House of Representatives showcasing an alternative spending bill, which includes funding for border protection via drones and additional boots on the ground, more judges to expedite asylum cases, and a comprehensive plan for vetting and legalizing or deporting the millions of illegal immigrants already in this country.

Solve the problem.

Standing by with smug looks watching President Donald Trump drown in his own stubbornness might be fun, but does not benefit our nation.

Lead for crying out loud. Govern.

Jennifer Tibbetts


Thank a security guard

I have been a private security officer for about 30 years. I started working at Bangor International Airport in the 1970s screening passengers. I am 71 now and was just recently hired by a local hospital part time. I am well aware of the risk of a security officer working in a hospital, but they need us. Hospitals don’t allow armed guards for good reason.

A group started tracking security officer deaths and injuries. Prior to that, no one else had done that. We didn’t matter. We were just security guards. The stereotype was someone retired, overweight and stupid.

According to Private Officer International, 112 private security officers were killed in the line of duty last year. Most make minimum wage and there are few if any benefits. According to preliminary FBI statistics, 93 police officers were killed last year. Tracking the number of security officers injured is difficult because most companies do not report those figures.

With the increase in opioid use, people who are suicidal and abusing alcohol, things will get worse as many end up in an ER. These people often spit, kick, bite and try to stab us with whatever they can get their hands on. Our job is to keep everyone safe, including them.

Next time you see a security guard, thank him or her. We are there to keep you safe.

David Winslow