Credit: George Danby / BDN

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A republic, if we can keep it

Not since Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1959 film, North by Northwest, has South Dakota — the Mount Rushmore State — been so prominently featured in national media.

The July 4 Bangor Daily News headline, “At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions” was echoed by many media on the 245th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.

CNN summarized numerous media reports: “When Americans are wrestling with the racist misdeeds of the country’s heroes and confronting an unrelenting pandemic with surging cases, their commander-in-chief is attempting to drag America backward — stirring fear of cultural change while flouting the most basic scientific evidence about disease transmission.”

The National Park Service withdrew its support for the Hitchcock film because it believed that the violence portrayed on the screen ”desecrated” this shrine of democracy.

It is highly probable that the National Park Service may regret that they did not make the same judgment to ban the visit of the president, who used Mount Rushmore to deliver his divisive culture war message.

In the iconic chase sequence across the faces of Mount Rushmore, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and U.S. secret agent Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) are pursued by ruthless traitor Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) who sells government secrets. When they discover that they are on top of the Monument, Eva asks, “What’ll we do?” Cary responds, “Climb down. We’ve got no choice.”

“We can’t,” says Eva. Cary replies, “Here they come. We’ve got no choice.”

Americans can exercise their choice about the commander-in-chief’s divisive vision of America on Nov. 3, 2020. It will still be a republic, if you can keep it, and if everyone votes.

Robert F. Lyons


Our hands are full at the moment

I am writing in response to an OpEd written by Stephen F. Thode on July 4, in which he objects to measures that Gov. Janet Mills has implemented to reduce the likelihood of spreading the COVID-19 virus to Maine from states with higher infection rates. In Thode’s piece, he described the many inconveniences that have burdened him and his family. He places blame for these inconveniences, and his decision to forgo vacationing in Maine for 2020, on Mills.

I find it puzzling that Thode apparently feels that the governor of Maine is personally ruining his vacation plans, and has no regard for his history in Maine. I, on the other hand, as a lifelong Mainer, have watched the spread of this virus across many states and its present death toll of over 135,000 lives so far, and I feel our governor is doing an amazing job protecting us in Maine from this deadly pandemic and it shows in our numbers. There are many people coming here from other states and some are careful, while others are not, and we have to protect ourselves.

By the way, millions of Americans have been way more than inconvenienced by the COVID-19 virus, and, unfortunately, many more will be. People have lost their lives, loved ones, employment, homes, health and more.

We may miss Thode this year, and we hope he and his family are doing well; however, right now we have our hands full.

Thomas Woodman


Health care clarification

The Monday, June 29 edition of the Bangor Daily News included an article entitled: “How Maine Democrats in US Senate primary differ on voters’ top priorities.” One of the issues is health care.

In describing the position of two of the candidates who support Medicare for All, writer Jessica Piper describes such a plan as “a health care plan … that would replace private insurance with a single, government-run health care system.” This statement is at the very least misleading.

I work with a statewide organization, Maine AllCare, comprised of physicians, healthcare administrators, nurses and other concerned citizens who are working to change Maine’s healthcare system. What we envision is a single-payer system, publicly funded but privately delivered. This is not a government-run system.

Of the dozen or so countries that have some form of this type of health care delivery system only one, the United Kingdom, is government-owned and run. All of the others, France, Japan and Australia among them, have some combination of payment systems, which includes private insurance and publicly funded payments. All have better health outcomes than does the United States.

Andrew Sarto


Banging pots and pans

In 2007, journalist Molly Ivins died shortly after writing these words in her last column:

“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action… We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, ‘Stop it, now!’“

Now here we are with people all over the world saying we need to be heard and respected no matter the color of our skin. We ordinary people matter, and we want inequities to stop!

In Maine, we are marching for fairness in law enforcement no matter who we are. We have also signed petitions to be heard on the issue of foreign interference in our state. We live here and we care how our state is treated by those who want to overtake our home to make obscene amounts of money to run an electric corridor through Maine to deliver power to Massachusetts.

Nearly 70,000 Maine people signed a petition to get the transmission corridor issue on the ballot in November. Central Maine Power keeps trying to find a way to thwart our efforts, and then on June 29, CMP was shot down by the Cumberland County Superior Court judge. We signed that petition to be heard! Our way of banging pots and pans! The judge heard us!

These corporations are so large and influential, apparently they won’t tolerate us saying no to them. All of this is being done by the lowest-rated utility in the U.S., Central Maine Power. We need to bang those pots and pans even louder in the streets! We the people matter, regardless of our color or status. We the people matter, not the corporations.

Marjorie Monteleon

Southwest Harbor