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Where is our regional recycling solution?
We are living in a spectacular state with abounding beauty. However, since our recycling in Bangor no longer exists, every day I feel guilty placing glass jars, tin cans, paper and plastic bags all in the same trash bin.
Our Bangor Daily News, in fact, regularly arrives in a 20-inch orange or blue plastic bag. Imagine – I have four entire bags stuffed full of these plastic bags since January of this year – and we are just one household of hundreds, piling up thousands of un-recycleable plastic bags!
While recycling can be complex and not a financial windfall, someone must begin a program in our region. How can we attract a solution to this environmental issue?
At present, the United States recycles an estimated 35 percent of its waste whereas Germany leads the world by recycling 63 percent, diverting this amount from its landfills. Perhaps a graduate department at the University of Maine could take on recycling through a grant program. The greater Bangor region could lead by creating a waste-to energy plant, as done in Copenhagen, Denmark’s artificial ski-slope at CopenHill, where the Amager Bakke uses a technology that filters its emissions and provides one of the cleanest plants in the world to handle its city’s waste. The brilliantly designed recreational hiking and sports center sits atop the structure that recycles the region’s waste.
Brilliant! Who can help create our region’s solution?
Today’s Republican Party
Estimable Maine Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith indirectly called out infamous demagogue GOP Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1950 and the Truman administration in her brilliant “Declaration of Conscience.” She implored her party “not to ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny – Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear. I doubt if the Republican Party could – simply because I don’t believe the American People will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely, we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.”
Where is the GOP now? The party of Lincoln is indeed “desperate” enough to win that they embrace the entire Calumny. Piscataquis County Commissioners voted to protest the mask mandates by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration regarding “the Wuhan virus,” using racist language of former president Donald Trump. Bigotry. They question Mills’ constitutional authority to enforce public health law. Ignorance. The commissioners cite nonsensical claims that wearing masks does not prevent COVID-19 virus from spreading. Ignorance.
Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas repeats fatuous claims that the virus was manufactured to defeat the 45th president. Smear. The state GOP voted 41-19 to defeat an attempt to censure Sen. Susan Collins for voting to convict Trump of impeachment. Nineteen Republicans still voted to censure her. Fear. GOP Aroostook County Commissioners voted to censure Collins. Their Chair John Deveau said “many of us in the party feel like we’re being disenfranchised.” Ignorance.
This Maine GOP has codified Trump’s lies. We need leaders like Sen. Smith who stand for truth, knowledge, tolerance, and justice. They do not exist in today’s Republican Party.
Maine doesn’t need a ‘stand your ground’ law
The state Legislature recently held a hearing on LD 1138, a “stand your ground” law for Maine. With national tensions seeming to be at an all-time high, with the shredding of social norms regarding basic courtesy, with the hate rhetoric we see spewing from various sources, with the results of a pandemic and its associated stress, illness, loss and financial ruin, with the levels of gun violence already tragically elevated, the last thing Maine needs is a stand your ground law.
These laws are a threat to public safety. There is no evidence that they deter crime. On the contrary, states that have enacted stand your ground laws have seen a marked increase in senseless homicides. Traditional self-defense laws are already sufficient. Making it legal for anyone to use lethal force as a first step (shoot first and ask questions later) at the slightest provocation, with automatic legal immunity, is only asking for trouble.
In the best of times, it is not necessary. With current stress levels, enacting this law would be like throwing a match into a can of gasoline. I would like to see Maine citizens spared this additional grief. I sincerely hope that LD 1138 is not passed.