Curry stands up for vets and their families

Veterans Day is an annual opportunity to honor the service of veterans, but it is also important to recognize the challenges that many of us face when we navigate the transition back to civilian life. I’m a 20-year Air Force veteran who moved to Maine after I retired.

I am happy I settled in Waldo County, where we have a public servant who understands these challenges. This year, Sen. Chip Curry, D-Waldo, sponsored and successfully passed LD 374: An Act To Allow Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and Their Spouses To Apply for Temporary Occupational Licenses and Certifications, which earned unanimous support in the Maine Senate.

Maine is home to over 100,000 veterans and active-duty service members. Curry’s legislation allows veterans and service members who have a license or employment credential in another state to apply for a temporary license in Maine so they can get back to work easily and quickly. So I want to thank Sen. Curry for having our backs, and for showing that Maine welcomes all those who have served to make their home in this beautiful state.

André Blanchard

Liberty

Tolerating intolerance a slippery slope

In a slim volume entitled “On Tyranny,” author Timothy Snyder urges the public to be aware and to take care lest we fall into authoritarianism, which history shows is surprisingly easy for almost any society or governing system. “It can’t happen here” are the last words of those who fail to heed the lessons of the past and guard against the insidious nature of compliance with so-called strongmen and dictatorships. Compliance starts out small, then grows to atrocity.

Chapter 4 opens with the directive to take responsibility for the face of the world. The meat of the message is that symbols and signs of hate displayed in public must not be tolerated; we may not look away, we must not get used to them. We must remove them and set an example for others to do so as well.

Allowing for symbols of hate and tolerating public hate speech in the name of First Amendment rights to free expression may seem like an easy way out of an uneasy situation, as confronting the purveyors of such speech may seem to present more risk than reward.

I am troubled as I go along the countryside and see signs — professionally produced as well as handmade, on lawns and roadsides near driveways and tacked up on power poles — which contain expletives and hate speech. Most often, these signs contain no message other than hate, contempt and exclusion.

On my road there are prominent signs displayed with F-bombs in them. The topic is the former POTUS and the current POTUS. The signs convey extreme disdain for our current POTUS and in addition, for all voters who helped elect him.

Every time I go past these large signs, displayed on private property yet within public view, I feel the assault of their hate and indecency. My neighbor is displaying absolute contempt for any person who does not share his views and solidarity with other haters who do.

I yearn for a community of care, of compassion, absent signs of overt violence. Largely we have that, yet it needs help here and now.

Victoria Olseon

Waldo

Stopping plastic pollution starts with us

We are students from Nature Links, a nonprofit education organization in Blue Hill. We are a group of adult learners who care about the environment. We live in towns all over the state of Maine, including Surry, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Bar Harbor and Belfast. Our communities share a strong connection to the ocean.

For the past few months we have been learning about how plastic pollution can hurt our oceans and marine animals. Did you know that plastic kills more than 1 million marine animals each year? Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in our environment and tiny bits of plastic called microplastics can even be found in our bodies! By 2050, it is expected that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.

During this holiday season, there are many ways we can all reduce our use of plastic. At celebrations, bring reusable silverware and plates instead of single-use plastic. Consider making your own holiday decorations from natural materials or even recycle old newspapers and magazines as wrapping paper. Local restaurants can also choose to give their customers plastic-free cutlery, plates, bowls, cups and straws. We can all choose to buy food and presents from local stores to reduce plastic packaging and support the businesses in our own communities.

Plastic pollution is a worldwide crisis, and if we don’t stop it no one else is going to. Keep spreading the word and doing your part to keep plastic from polluting the oceans that we all treasure.

Max Pennesi, Belfast

Ezra Hallett, Bar Harbor

Paula Bush, Gabe Millay, Blue Hill

Derian Gatewood, Surry

Proud anti-fascist

While hiking on Veterans Day, I thought about my father, a veteran who died in 2013 at the age of 89. And I thought about the current right-wing pushback against the antifa anti-fascist movement.

My father was a radio man on a B-17 bomber in World War II. Like millions of Americans, he risked his life to fight fascism. His plane was shot down behind Fascist lines in Croatia, where he and some of his bomber buddies made contact with the Croatian anti-fascist resistance, which smuggled them through Croatia and across the Adriatic Sea to Allied lines in Italy. Not all my father’s bomber crew made it, and they became some of the 291,557 Americans who died fighting fascism in World War II.

My father was a lifelong anti-fascist.

Am I anti-fascist? Absolutely. And do I support the antifa movement? Damn right I do.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast