Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Collins should call for immigration changes

Sen. Susan Collins’ office  recently announced that Maine organizations had received $150,000 to reduce drug use among youth, a significant message as drug overdose deaths in Maine have reached a new high, with  504 Mainers dying from overdoses last year. Also noteworthy, Collins was with a group of U.S. senators who visited our southern border  on March 26, and Border Patrol has  reported they have intercepted a record high amount of fentanyl. Collins remarked that the Border Patrol “… need our help. They need better policies from Washington.”

Is this the best Collins can do? Someone should inform her that she is one of the policy makers. And why isn’t she imploring the Biden administration to take measures to secure our southern border? Those measures would include the very effective policies of the Trump administration, especially the Migrant Protection Protocol, known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, that required migrants to make their claim for asylum before entering the United States. Under the current system, only 10 to 15 percent of asylum seekers allowed into the country have their cases approved in the immigration courts, according to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).

Sen. Collins should be urging the Biden administration to change its policies, and reinstitute the effective measures employed by the previous administration.

Robert Casimiro


Facing our collective history together

This letter is in response to Suzanne McCurdy’s “Teachable Moment” letter to the editor, and to Dick Campbell’s explanation of the decision to continue tours of the replica of Santa Maria despite local protests from the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and others. In McCurdy’s letter, she puts quotation marks around the word “atrocities,” suggesting doubt that Christopher Columbus’s actions were violent, despite graphic documentation of rape and captivity in the journals of friends and the pages of his own diary. And despite vocal protests, the replica of the Santa Maria was scheduled for tours once again.

So how can this be a “teachable” moment? Well, to any fellow descendant of settler-colonialism who acknowledges our history of violence, what are we actively doing to effect change? How are we listening and responding to Indigenous-led movements? As someone who grew up in the town now called Fairfield, I am learning and contributing here: https://firstlightlearningjourney.net/ and here: https://www.mainewabanakireach.org/.

This talk by Maria Girouard is also an important resource: Genocide and ME: Testimony from Maria Girouard. What else are we doing? What can you and I do today, tomorrow, and all the days to come to face our collective history and take steps towards repair?

April Ranger

Brooklyn, New York

Benefits of party lines

Too often Americans overlook the three advantages of having Washington politicians who vote mostly, or always along party lines: Efficiency, camaraderie and simplified attire.

If a Washington politician knows ahead of time that there is no way they would support a major bill, sponsored by the opposing party, then no valuable time in the Capitol gym will be lost doing research. And Washington politicians sitting together with other like-minded politicians promotes good fellowship and jovial talk – two of the main reasons voters elected them. And, finally, not wanting to be mistaken on TV for a member of the opposition, Washington politicians dress casually or smartly, reddish or bluish, off the rack or carefully measured based on their party’s unwritten dress code.

It’s simple! Our Washington politicians are not stupid! They know that doing any job well requires avoiding distractions involving time consuming planning ahead, avoiding strong stand-alone opinions and avoiding a closet full of competing styles.

Robb Cook