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The wrong side of history

In 1820, Maine celebrated its first Fourth of July as the newest member of the United States of America. It did so as a so-called Free State with its own Constitution that recognized Black Americans as citizens with the right to vote. However, Maine’s admission to the Union was a quid pro quo for the congressional imprimatur of the expansion and entrenchment of slavery in the South — a political compromise that sacrificed individual liberty and endorsed state-imposed racial inequality.

Today’s Maine congressional delegation has an opportunity, indeed a duty, to stand up against those states that seek to constrain the fundamental right of their citizens to vote by imposing rules that disproportionally impact citizens of color and those descended from the enslaved peoples that were disenfranchised by the Compromise of 1820. Today it appears to me that Sen. Susan Collins aligns herself with such discriminatory rules.

Collins resurrects  arguments that propelled the states rights assault on the Union, a threat once vanquished by Mainers who died in defense of color-blind suffrage. Collins seems to subscribe to essentially the same premise congressional partisans used in 1820 to compromise Black Americans’ freedom in parts of the country whose dedication to white supremacy led to secession and Civil War.

Today, Collins stands on the wrong side of history — both the history of Maine and the history of the United States. But more importantly, Collins stands on the wrong side of America’s future.

Richard Riese


Respecting human life

Bangor Daily News reporter Emily Burnham wrote an article published on June 17 on how Saundra Pelletier, a Caribou native, wants to revolutionize the way women use birth control.

The article says, when in high school, Pelletier’s mother “took her to a family planning office in Presque Isle to get her on the pill. She wanted the best for her daughter and an unplanned pregnancy was not going to be part of the equation.”

Pelletier is now promoting a new non-hormonal birth control product that, “with typical use, is 86 percent effective, about the same as a condom,” according to the article.

In other words, it is not effective 14 percent of the time, and reliance on this product could result in an unplanned pregnancy — and would now be “part of the equation her mother was trying to prevent.”

With contraceptive failure rates so high, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how recreational sexual activity now contributes to the annual killing of over 600,000 American unborn babies.

While there are risks for people participating in recreational sex who are unable or not willing to care for the human life they may create, the risk for the unborn child is often deadly. Better to leave human reproduction to committed married couples who understand and respect that they may be creating a precious human life with a heart and soul.

Gerald Thibodeau


Collins has been there for bus companies

The pandemic has been difficult for so many Mainers. Here at VIP Charter Coaches, the economic fallout has been brutal due to the cancellation of school trips, sports, tours and other events. As it stands today, our business, which is one of only a few bus companies in Maine, is 18 months in debt. Although Maine banks and national banks have been very understanding to most people in the bus business, these trying times have caused one-in-four charter bus companies in America to shutter.

But thanks to Sen. Susan Collins, relief is now available in the form of  Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services grants. She co-authored this program, which became law last year. She has also been pushing relentlessly for the administration to begin accepting applications. The program finally opened less than a week after she raised the issue directly with the secretary of transportation at an appropriations hearing.

The $2 billion available in relief for buses, motorcoaches, and passenger vessels will be a huge help to us and countless other small and family-owned companies across the country. We are so proud that it was our senator, Susan Collins, who made this program possible. We’re confident that Sen. Collins knows more about the motorcoach industry in Maine and the nation than any other U.S. Senator.

Lana Sawyer

Pat Penfold

Jason Briggs

VIP Tour & Charter Bus Co.