Proud to be an American

I am proud to be an American again. The sun has literally flooded throughout our land with hope, truth and redemption. We need to unite as one people around our love of country and we need to hold a reckoning for those who have sought to destroy our country. We cannot have one without the other.

Republican President Gerald Ford who took his oath of office on Aug. 9, 1974, after President Richard M. Nixon had resigned in disgrace, pronounced these historic words: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

Ford characterized his words as “just a little straight talk among friends… Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws, not of men.” He was the leader we needed then and Joe Biden is the leader we need now. Despite all of the GOP bluster about upholding the Constitution, that document worked this year because it allowed for voters to decide

elections not lies, misinformation and propaganda out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump.

We need to acknowledge the gigantic, historic turnout of Americans in the voting booth especially among people of color from African Americans to Hispanic voters. Even more importantly, we need to honor the successful and difficult work of poll workers to count every ballot in every town and city here in Maine and around the country. Most are volunteers who show their true patriotism by their devotion to the law and the truth.

Let us move forward with one purpose to restore America as a republic of laws and project the U.S. once again as a beacon of truth and justice to the world.

Mac Herrling

Bradley

Early childhood language learning

In an increasingly borderless world, it is important to be able to communicate with people around the world as well as people within your community. Fifty-six percent of Europeans are bilingual; however, only 20 percent of Americans can speak and understand a language other than English. That is 80 percent of Americans who rely on technology to translate and communicate for them.

Worse yet, that includes many Americans who have never communicated to non-English speakers at all. In Maine, this can not be tolerated. As a state, we have the highest percentage of French speakers in the country, but the majority of us would not be able to even ask one for directions. This is the sad truth, however there is a solution.

Why are Americans so behind? The answer is that many students take their first foreign language classes in high school and middle school when, in reality, this is far past the prime-time for language learning and retention. It has been shown that learning a language is infinitely easier before the age of 10 than at 16. The period in which children learn the most is from birth until age five because the brain is still developing and taking in as much information as it can.

If a second language was introduced, it would be considered part of this development and the information would be better retained. This is what needs to be done to widen our communication skills in America and especially in Maine.

Jamie McQuarrie

Brewer

A challenge to Collins

In George Mitchell’s memoir, The Negotiator,” he tells a story of his 1988 Senate race. Remarkably, in that race, Mitchell won all of Maine’s 673 voting precincts, save for one small town in Washington County. By early December, he had arranged to meet with the people of Talmadge to understand why he had not garnered their support.

As Sen. Susan Collins accepted her victory this week, she spoke of the win as an “affirmation” of her work as our senator. I would remind her that only 51 percent of Maine voters thought that she deserved a fifth term. And I would challenge her to get out in this state and try to understand why 49 percent of us do not believe she is representing our interests and values in Washington.

Prentice Grassi

Freedom