Protest in a tourist town

To the Editor:

I was interested in the report in last week’s Islander of an email from a tourist who took exception to a rally held on the Village Green to protest the separation of children from their parents at the southern border.

She wrote, “We drive 11 hours and spend $500.00 a night to ensure I do not have to deal with this nonsense on vacation…Bar Harbor is a summer tourist location that caters to people from all around the world, of all nationalities and backgrounds. So why would this be acceptable to do in the center of town where people are trying to enjoy quiet?”

The obvious first point is that people who live here are not movie extras playing bit roles for her vacation. We are deeply concerned about an unjust and cruel policy based in fear and ignorance and incompetently administered. This is a place with real voters and real people who will speak out for justice and human rights.

Second, though she may wander the world, there is no escape from this administration’s policies and the public reaction to them. My wife and I recently travelled to Normandy, the site of the D-Day invasion and the most pro-American place we’ve ever visited. (The stars and stripes were flown everywhere, many of the local roads were named for American GIs, and a woman who insisted on carrying one of our bags thanked us personally for the liberation of France).

But even there, the adjective we heard most commonly applied to describe our president was, “disgusting.”

This is a France that remembers when, as a memoirist wrote, “A large number of Jews were arrested here in order to be deported – first of all the parents were separated from their children, so that their crying could be heard in the streets.”

The French have also had to deal with what a historian described as the “depressing reality that the Resistance had represented but a small minority, compared with the ‘silent and massive acquiescence’ of the rest of France.” This is no time for us to acquiesce.

If our visitors want to go someplace where they won’t see any protests, they can try the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. But it can be very buggy up there. If you really want the protests to go away, then get to the polls in November and deal with the source of the problem.

Tim Garrity

Mount Desert


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