Very angry

This is a response to Tom Seymour's Aug. 10 Conservative to the Core column, “Culture Shock.”

"Conservative" and "liberal" are not constants like the speed of light. At any given point in history, liberals are those who believe current conditions and values can and should be changed in pursuit of improvement, while conservatives are those who believe conditions and values should either remain as they are or revert back to some earlier ideal.

The founding fathers of our country, whose writings and ideas are much admired by today’s conservatives, were the liberals of their day. In the 1770s conservatives were loyal to the Crown and wanted to remain British subjects. Our Declaration of Independence, our constitution and the very idea of a government of, for and by the people were radically progressive ideas at the time.

Liberals and conservatives are the yin and yang of progress. They must be in healthy balance for humankind to advance without spinning out of control. But just as pressure differences in the atmosphere cause thunder and lightning, the jostling of these forces in our political environment can generate explosive passions, angry rhetoric, and even violence.

I am what Mr. Seymour would call a liberal, although I see myself as a balanced, open-minded person who strives for clear insight based on facts. I’m sure the conservative Mr. Seymour sees himself exactly the same way. In fact all Americans who have strong political and social convictions see themselves that way. And every one of us wonders how it is possible that sincere people of good conscience can all look at the same reality and each see something completely different.

Unfortunately, many conclude it is not possible. Many people, on both the right and the left, conclude that the truth they see is so obvious that anyone who doesn't see it that way must be mentally defective, or blind, or stupid, or loyal to some dark force that wants to destroy America, or just plain evil. Mr. Seymour appears to be someone who has arrived at that conclusion.

In "Culture Shock," Mr. Seymour bristles with indignation at rhetoric from the left and holds up Calexit, a small, extremist group on the left’s outer fringes, as typical of liberal thought. But equally outrageous fringe groups from the right enjoy his benign tolerance because he sees them as simply expressing understandable frustration at not being agreed with. Suggesting, as he does, that Portland is not part of “real Maine,” speaking of “liberal-inspired lawlessness” and “hearts too hardened for reason,” Mr. Seymour deepens the very “divide” he cites as preventing “meaningful dialogue.”

Meaningful dialogue must be civil dialogue. It starts with accepting that those who disagree with us are sincere in their beliefs. Anger is a dialogue killer and it takes self discipline to keep it from sneaking into the conversation. I see little effort at restraint in  Mr. Seymour’s column. Reading it, I gain no insight into conservative thought. All I learn is that Mr. Seymour is very angry.

Meredith Ares


Impact of brain disease

It makes me so sad to read this news article ("Camden man charged after multi-county chase," Waldo Village Soup, Aug. 18), as it does not reflect the impact that a progressive fatal brain disease can have on the decision making ability and actions of a good man — James "Mac" Thomas.

The Mac Thomas who has been like family to me the past 35 years was one of the most rigidly law-abiding individuals I know. On our many family forays in his boat exploring Penobscot Bay islands Mac would first never stop on any island not part of the Maine Island Trails system, nor would he ever allow me to grab an errant buoy on a remote beach as a memento of our outing.

As my daughter recalls, he once stopped a teen van outing when they tried to squeeze everyone in by double buckling in their seat belts. Just last month local papers reported on the town of Camden meeting where Mac was honored for his "tenacity and vision" in pushing the Riverwalk project forward, noting it wouldn't have been possible without his help.

And less well-known but equally laudable has been Mac's career and service to the state as a social worker and therapist working with individuals too often put away and forgotten by our communities.

I know those who know Mac and his family will realize this story does not reflect him but rather the progression of a horrible brain disease. For others, perhaps it can bring an awareness and sensitivity that there is often more to a news story than meets the eye.

Mac is a good man — a good father, husband and friend who deserves to be remembered fondly and with respect.

Judi Schelble


Jan gets my vote

Jan Dodge has the ability, time and dedication to be an effective representative for all of us in Belfast.

Her openness for Maine All Care, her support of renewable energy development, and her support for funding education at 55 percent are what make her the better candidate.

As an elder on a fixed income, I most appreciate her support for stabilizing property tax rates in House District 97. Jan definitely gets my vote in November.

Miriam Watkins


Inaccurate and misleading

I found Bruce Poliquin’s recent television ad attacking Jared Golden to be inaccurate and misleading in the extreme, typical of a Poliquin campaign ad.

While in the Middle East as a U.S. Marine, Jared Golden faced enemy gunfire and went toward it with his fellow Marines. While in the halls of the U.S. Capitol building, Bruce Poliquin saw reporters coming toward him and dodged into a bathroom to hide.

Which man would you rather have representing you in Congress?

Stephen Hall


Thank you for community support

There was a benefit held for us on Aug. 4 at the West Appleton Country Club, sponsored by the Bartlett and Pease families.

Words can not express the overwhelming community support we received from our loved ones, friends, local businesses and family!

So many people contributed to the success of the day that it is impossible to list them all, from Appleton, Union, Waldoboro, Warren, Rockland, Northport, Belfast, Searsmont, and Massachusetts, too!

Such great food, wonderful music by Emmett Laylor, Jeff Hall and the band The Grind. All the donated items for raffles and auction, fabulous fireworks, and great friendship!

Thank you all so, so much! We are truly blessed!

Deb and Dave Waska


Senator who listens

In the current climate of partisan politics I am a “newbie” to participation in the political process, inspired by my belief that each side needs to listen more to each other and to then work together to find common ground, and I see no one more able to do this than Sen. Angus King.

It's easy to blame Washington or the other guy or gal for what's not getting done, not going right, while I then have to ask myself — what am I doing to change that?

As a U.S. citizen I have the right to vote, a privilege denied so many throughout the world, and though my participation may be limited to my vote, it is something now I also can add to in even a small way.

For me it has begun by working on a phone bank for Sen. King, and in the process learning more and more about what it takes for someone to be elected without the backing of big money.

This is about, as Sen. King describes, “we the people being the engine that drives our nation,” telling our senators and representative with our voices what we value, and what we feel needs to be protected and supported.

Sen. King is that person who listens, and with common sense then works with both sides of the aisle to enact legislation to meet the needs of that engine.

Sen. King, the senator who listens, and the one who has my vote!

Jane Eagles


Accreditation thanks

I am pleased to report the continuing accreditation status of Belfast Area High School.

I am very proud of BAHS and deeply appreciative of the hard work of the entire high school staff, student body and parent-advisory group. We are especially indebted to the work of Accreditation Co-Chairmen Chuck Hamm, Chip Lagerbom and Jim Davis; to Accreditation Steering Committee members Diana Leighton, Tim Doran, Liz Small and Jan Banks; and to the Accreditation Standards Chairmen Jackie McKenney Ogden, Angela Hurd, Pam Lynam, Paulette Saunders, Ellen Harrison, Maureen Montgomery, Heidi O'Donnell and Caitlin Alger.

I would also like to thank Dr. Paul Knowles, Curriculum Coordinator Laura Miller, the RSU 71 Board of Directors and administrative team and the entire RSU 71 community, whose support of the high school has been duly noted within the accreditation report.

We will be this using this report at the school and school board levels this summer and in the year ahead as we formulate our work plans and strategic goals.

Mary Alice McLean

Superintendent, RSU 71

Principal, BAHS

Access to home care

I am writing to express my support for the 2018 ballot measure called Universal Homecare.

Almost three years ago, when my mother lost her job due to her early-onset dementia, I was faced with a difficult decision. My choices ranged from A) finding a nursing home to place her in ($100,000 per year), to B) hiring in-home care ($50,000 per year), to C) adjusting my life so that I could be her full-time caregiver.

I chose option C, because my mother clearly wanted to live at home, and also because I wasn’t ready to watch her life savings disappear in a fraction of the time it took her to accumulate it.

Many middle-class Mainers, like my mother and myself, find themselves in the wide gap between extreme wealth (to the point of nursing home costs being considered “affordable”), and poverty (which one needs to achieve before being eligible for Medicaid assistance).

Universal Homecare would provide access to home care for all Maine seniors and Mainers with disabilities, regardless of income. If passed, seniors and people with disabilities would be able to get the care they need while staying in their homes, without impoverishing themselves in the process.

I encourage Maine people to educate themselves on this measure and be prepared to vote on it in November. An excellent resource for information is the campaign website,

Jessica Browne




A better alternative

We need a representative in Washington who will fight for the interests of the 2nd District.

Unfortunately, Congressman Bruce Poliquin has demonstrated time and again his unwillingness to even face the voters of the 2nd District (at one time even ducking into a bathroom to avoid them).

Jared Golden offers a better alternative: joining the Marines after 2001, he served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He later returned to teach in Afghanistan schools. Here’s a man who is not afraid to fight for Maine and America.

Unlike Poliquin, he will fight for health care and Social Security and put individuals ahead of corporations and financial institutions. He’s got my vote.

George Schelling