The promise of turning this column into a point-counterpoint once a month has been suspended.

After one column, Paula Sutton has decided to end our six-month experiment; her reasoning, I was not respectful and my opinions were lies. Specifically she told me it was a blatant lie for me to insinuate Republicans have been involved in gerrymandering in Maine; how could they, she asked.

This was an opinion. I know of Republicans hired to carve out and reshape districts to favor Republican candidates. Their job is to lobby for the changes that benefit the people that are paying them. This is not necessarily bad, it is politics, just like the Democrats like to “get out the vote” in ways that are often criticized by one side, while the other side calls the reverse of that “voter suppression.”

The idea of this point-counterpoint is to discuss these issues and tactics, as well as tackle the real issues and questions of the day. It is about trying to understand others who have a different perspective on issues and philosophy.

Perhaps there is someone out there that would like to pick up the “experiment” that Paula and I agreed to, as she indicated she has better things to do, adding a paragraph on why newspapers are failing and more irrelevant than ever, citing falling sales and general public distrust as her final salvo on the subject.

By the way, newspapers are needed more now than ever in these trying times, and circulation is up, when you include digital subscriptions. As for truth, our president has been caught in over 8,000 documented lies; when a liar calls you a liar, let the reader determine for themselves and trust that they are smart enough to come to their own conclusion.

She misses the point; this was the opportunity for both sides to be heard. One month she goes first, the next is my turn. The best way to have discourse is to talk it out, not bail when you don’t like what the other party has to say or even when you don’t like how they say it.

My point this week was to be on civility and how we’ve lost that and how that starts from the top. I wanted to ask Paula if President Trump and Gov. LePage’s demeanor and approach to governing mattered. Is it just the policy or do words (and tweets) used count for anything?

They do matter. What happened in New Zealand, and terrorism around the world are fueled by words.

A man, and his mission, being ruled by love

This past week, my wife Martha and I traveled to Atlanta to the Carter Center. The weekend event was a debrief to donors of what the Carter Center has done in regard to eradicating diseases like guinea worm, its efforts toward election monitoring and being a broker on the world stage for peace.

The Carter Center’s policies are all centered on decency, respect and are completely ruled by love from the top down through the ranks, right down to the people who operate on the ground level making things happen.

President Carter spoke during the weekend and shared a tidbit that in our country’s 242-year history, only 16 of those years have we not been at war with somebody. In contrast, President Carter brokered a peace accord with China during his presidency in 1979; since then China has not been at war with anyone — a period of 40 years.

Carter noted that four of our country’s “peace years” were during his presidency and added, with his Carter smile and soft blue eyes, that perhaps that cost him his re-election.

Over those 40 years, Carter noted that both China and the United States had profits of about $3 trillion (that’s three thousand billions of dollars). While the United States has used ours mostly on building our military complex, China has invested theirs in infrastructure, education and technical advances.

Carter noted in particular that while in China, he had ridden on a railroad that went 250 miles per hour, zipping him from one city to another in jet-like speed with train efficiency.

The question to debate is: Do you agree that Trump’s derisive rhetoric is bad for the country and unacceptable; this week he has gone back on the attack of John McCain (why would you do that?) and mocked potential presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. It is silly and childish; it takes away from his governing and is an insult to the honor of the office. We take our lead from our leader; do we want our children to act like this?

The scandal of wealthy people cheating their way into college admission for their children is another example of where our country is at right now; how could that be acceptable, in anyone’s eyes? Are we really OK with telling our children that we know they aren’t smart enough to take the SAT tests themselves and that we must get “proctors” into the mix to prop them up?

Trump’s nonprofit scandal is also relevant, as are the ways he is working around Congress’s constitutional “power of the purse” because he wants his wall (this is not about border security or a national emergency, it is about playing to his base).

Twelve Republicans, standing with Democrats, is almost enough to believe that we are at a critical moment in time where all Americans are ready to say “enough is enough.”

Are we there yet? Time will tell and the Mueller report will lead the way.

“It's best to give while your hand is still warm.” — Philip Roth, novelist (19 March 1933 – 22 May 2018)

Reade Brower is the owner of these newspapers.