Lunatics, con men

To the Editor:

Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage says we are slipping into anarchy. It must be heart-wrenching for a man who has devoted so much to the welfare of our state to see the world sliding away.

Much like Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz’s ride in the tornado, the swirling confusion of his descent into insanity is surely terrifying.

Striking out as he sees enemies flashing by the window, he calls Bangor Daily News columnist Mike Tipping, and Lewiston mayoral candidate Ben Chin murderers because they advocate for raising the minimum wage. There is some logic presented by the governor. The higher pay would cause a rise in prices that would create such economic hardship for our elderly,that they would die.

If jail time is the sentence he would propose for that crime, imagine what penance would be demanded in that twisted universe for not just proposing, but actually blocking Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of Mainers.

Pointing to his scrap book of villains, he asks if we realize that all of the people we arrest are blacks and hispanics? Unlike most of the civilized world, Lepage sees that as proof that non-whites are our enemy. The rest of us see it as evidence of a badly broken justice system.

What causes us to choose lunatics and con men to be our leaders? The beauty – and the harsh reality – of democracy is that the only place we can point the finger is straight at the mirror.

The widespread panic displayed on the faces of our populace watching “The Donald” loom up like King Kong over the skyscrapers has dimmed some as his star appears to be setting as swiftly as it rose. But it leaves us looking at each other wondering “How did that happen?”

One thing that happened is that our binary election system creates a fence and asks the population to line up on one side or the other. If you’re not “red” or “blue,” your vote is irrelevant. Forget whether the candidate can do the job, is sane or is an amoral lying snake-oil salesman. If he’s the right color, pull the lever.

The obvious result is that to be a successful candidate, the challenge is simply to prove that you are more blue or more red than anyone else. Pick the two candidates farthest from the fence and put them up for us to elect one extremist or the other.

Certainly any voter who points at someone standing near the fence, who is level headed, has experience and has some sense of what we need, is wasting their vote. You must choose between the two candidates that have the blessing of the red or blue machine.

The state of Maine has a way to move us back from this brink of “anarchy.” The ballot initiative for ranked-choice voting is simple and sane. When you see someone who has what you want in a candidate, you can vote for him or her without fear of your vote going to King Kong. It won’t improve the selection we have this year. But it will dramatically improve things for the next election.

Imagine if fear were not the driving factor in your vote.

Wells Bacon


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