To the Editor:
This letter is to explain why I resist even though I am a 68-year-old white male. I was born in Waterville while my parents lived in Vassalboro, graduated with honors from Waterville High School, obtained an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin and a graduate degree from the University of Maine. I was fed a whitewashed version of American history written, as history always is, by the conqueror. There was no focus on critical thinking.
I resist because my father would have resisted. As the first resident agent of the FBI in Augusta, and because he was an attorney, he was called on to investigate corruption of the Liquor Control Board by the legislature, outing members for personally profiting from the rewarding of contracts by the state. He would have abhorred the corruption rampant in our government today.
I resist because I will never forget him shouting at the television, “What are they doing to those poor kids!” as images before us in black and white of fire hoses knocking over African American children while police dogs attacked others in Birmingham, Ala.
I resist because my faith calls me to “affirm and promote the dignity and worth of every human being and justice, equity and compassion in human relations.”
I resist because I am married to a white woman who couldn’t get her own credit card without my permission and whose income was not counted when we applied for our first mortgage. That has changed.
Unfortunately, that is about the only real change that I can see even as women have fought for equal status. My feeling is women have greater financial independence not because it was the right thing to do but because some backroom lobbyists saw a profit in gaining easier access to women’s money.
I resist because all of the women I have asked in my family have been sexually assaulted or raped. Like them, I am disgusted at the treatment of women and the failure of moral leadership by our president and his administration. I have two daughters and five granddaughters, and I stand with men who want their daughters to have a life without fear or anxiety of being attacked.
I resist because our environment needs me to cherish and support it while the present administration in Washington continues to strip away protections that were put in place because scientists and those who put people over profit thought it was a good idea.
I resist because our president is using my money to play golf rather than do the business of the country.
I resist because, while I have always been concerned about the income and wealth inequality in our nation, it has grown to the point when I can no longer sit by silently.
I resist because I have become aware that there are other options for health care and that our system is broken. Our family has always, except for a short period of self-employment, been fortunate to have excellent employer-provided insurance. My children have had a very different experience. Each has had more difficulty than we have had, and that is just not right.
Lastly, I resist because our system of mass incarceration has created a stronger racial caste system than slavery or Jim Crow, and it was created by advantaged white men of both parties. Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ started before the crack cocaine epidemic as a way to disenfranchise African Americans. Once convicted of a felony, a person is subject to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits and jury service, and in all states except Maine and Vermont, voting.
My parents would have resisted also all of the above if they had been aware of them. I am aware, and I will resist for as long as it takes to bring equity in all things.