Letters, Feb. 18

Feb 18, 2021

White privilege is everywhere

Another Black History Month leads us to think we've heard all this before. But history is written every day. For a winter break I lived during March 2020 in North Carolina, and as usual I extensively researched places to visit. A North C arolina Department of Tourism magazine left something missing. The state has a 23% black population, yet all the photos were of white people. Online I studied dozens of sites, but not a single one had images of North Carolina's black population. Apparently not one black citizen or black tourist ever swam at a beach, ate in a restaurant, visited a festival or aquarium or stayed in a hotel there. Finally I found a few places by googling specifics like "black NC history."

My Airbnb was on the sound, or mainland, opposite the Outer Banks and I made an effort to learn the area, even specifically interviewing several people. A woman who lived nearby and captained boats up and down the coast confirmed that the white and black populations live entirely apart from each other.

This Airbnb lacked a radio and online I found a Walmart in Elizabeth City. I chose a radio and, it being Walmart, a loaf of bread. The black man ahead of me at the checkout also bought something along with his CDs and we chatted about the convenience. I refused a bag, held my receipt and headed for the exit. A long line of black people clutching store bags waited near a white woman holding a computer tablet.

I interrupted to ask about the line and she said that anybody buying electronics must show the receipt to her. I started for that line, but she looked at my receipt and said I could leave. The black man who had stood ahead of me, paid and received a receipt like me, had joined that line to be rechecked by someone who hadn't noticed me until I spoke to her. Black customers use store bags because anything unpackaged might appear stolen.

What does that extra line say? These people must be thieves to be treated with no dignity, or even gratitude as customers. Are you thinking there must be lots of black thieves to justify this policy? Are there no white thieves who simply walk straight out the door? When you buy at any large store, approach the exit, then picture yourself forced to stand in line again to show your receipt. Again.

Jim Crow flourishes in North Carolina, with one quarter of its population primarily living in a segregated belt of towns. On a week of beach vacation, you'd never suspect real life for those citizens. History is written every day and mostly we're unobservant that its language is white privilege.

Leslie Woods

Montville

Trump unworthy of Republican Party heritage

My Republican ancestors joined that party shortly after the Ripon Convention. They fought against slavery and defended the Republic in the Civil War. My father resigned his tenure-track position teaching at a Midwestern College to fight the Nazis, and was killed flying night photo-recon missions against them, while Trump's father was cowering in his racist Caucasian ghetto in New York.

I knew several of my more recent Republican ancestors--they would not have hired Trump to muck out their barns or chicken-houses, out of consideration for the security and moral welfare of their livestock. It is really time to rid this country of Trump and his sycophants. They stand squarely against all that our New England ancestors sweated to build and bled to defend. Deport them to whatever country will have them.

William Burgess Leavenworth

 

Searsmont

Open letter to McConnell

To U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: You demonstrated your power by refusing to reconvene the Senate to receive the Article of Impeachment when it was ready to deliver while Trump was president.

You demonstrated your ethics when you affirmed Trump’s incitement of violence.

You demonstrated your lack of both morals and integrity In delaying the trial until Trump was out of office and then finding him not guilty of inciting violence while president because at the time of the trial he was a private citizen, you — alone — having arranged for the trial to occur after his term of office was over.

From now on I shall envision you wearing a dunce cap for speaking with a forked tongue.

Carol Simon

Swanville

Bebb announces candidacy

On Fridays my husband and I both work from home. He is in customer service for Fisher Plow, and I am an administrator in financial services. Our son, a student at Edna Drinkwater, has class meetup and assignments to submit online. Our internet connection goes from barely keeping up to intermittent failure throughout the day. I count my blessings because we're some of the lucky ones.

All over Northport and rural Maine there are families struggling to meet the demands of working and learning remotely. And then there are the teachers, absolute rock stars, doing their best to serve all students equally. I'm thankful our situation is manageable, but for so many it is impossible. People are getting left behind, and when those people are kids, it's just not right.

We used to have a broadband committee in Northport trying to address our internet challenge. It fizzled out, but I was glad to learn at our last town Select Board meeting that new committee members have been appointed and are getting to work. This is a high priority for our Select Board members and town staff.

I'm on the ballot for the Northport Select Board April 14, and my top two priorities will be to make affordable high-speed internet available for all of Northport and to maintain our quality town services and high standard of public education without causing an undue burden for Northport taxpayers, many of whom are facing harder times than usual due to the effects of the pandemic. I hope to earn your vote April 14.

Breanna Pinkham Bebb

Northport

Supports Bebb

Please consider our neighbor Breanna Pinkham Bebb for Northport’s Select Board. If you know her as I do, you’ll have found that she is energetic, creative and a joy to work with.

I have volunteered with Bre in a number of circumstances, know her dedication to her family and community, and have no hesitation in recommending her for this position.

She knows what it means to work hard for herself and her family, and is well familiar with both the challenges and incredible gifts of living in rural Maine. She is certain to work to keep Drinkwater School strong, and promote good and appropriate services for Northport while always keeping affordability for working families and seniors in mind. Her experience with the Waldo County Woodshed and the Northport Planning Board will aid her in this.

Join me in voting for Bre in Northport’s special election April 14.

Geir Gaseidnes

Northport

Future of the Little River

We are pleased to tell the Belfast community about an effort to begin planning for the future of the Little River.

On Jan. 25 we held a public Zoom meeting at which we reviewed the history and current developments on the Little River. Speakers included people from our organizations, the Coastal Mountains Land Trust and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

The Little River community trails maintained by BBWC are a treasured local asset for recreation. The upper dam is in poor condition. Moreover, climate change has shown the need for increased carbon sequestration and wetland restoration, and the Little River watershed is one obvious site for these activities. Whatever happens with the Nordic Aquafarms project, these issues need to be addressed.

Our meeting had over 45 participants, and there was thoughtful input from many. A video of the meeting is available on the Climate Crisis Committee YouTube channel, and our written report will be posted on the city website.

Meanwhile, we encourage everyone who wants to participate in this discussion and to have their voices heard in developing a plan for the future of the Little River to write to us at Belfast.cit.sci@gmail.com.

Jon Beal. Chair

Belfast Climate Crisis Committee

Greg Biddinger, President of Board of Directors

Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition

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