Too many politicians, following examples of Donald Trump and Paul LePage, respond to a reasoned argument or respectful criticism or even just an explanation of a problem with insults, name calling, or wild accusations about motives. The following is a transcription of a taped conversation that took place at a meet-the-candidate gathering for Tim this past Wednesday.
Tim: There would be lots of good paying jobs in that mining. As long as they can promise to clean up after it closes.
Alice: I wonder if people understand how toxic that site is. It’s one of the most toxic sites in the United States, that area on Bald Mountain. And how much those toxins would be released. It’s really important to understand the danger and the threat of pollution being released into surrounding waters. A lot more jobs would be lost than would be gained. And it’s a temporary business. There’s going to be an end to it. Even in the best of circumstances, if there’s a boom, there’s going to be a bust that follows. It’s really, really important that people understand . . .
Peter [interrupting]: Sounds like the liberals out of Portland.
Alice: I’ve lived here most of my life. I was born and grew up in Portage, Maine. I started my research on this issue with an open mind—hoping it might be an economic boon, and it might be good for the economy. And the more I learned every year, the more I understood about how toxic that site is. It sounds to me, Mr. Edgecomb, with your reference to Portland liberals that you’re trying to insult me. I don’t appreciate that. I come here to these meeting trying to find solutions, and I don’t like being insulted . . .
Peter: Alice, you came here for one purpose, and I know what that is. Have you ever voted Republican in your life? No matter what you say, you’re not going to vote for a Republican.
Alice: I am a great admirer of many Republicans: Senator Cohen, Margaret Chase Smith.
Peter: Alice, I know your background.
Troy: Many Democrats and Republicans in Ashland have concerns about this. . .
Peter: Troy, do you want to help pay for this meeting. Feel free to do that.
Troy: OK. Who do I write the check out to?
LATER as the meeting is breaking up, Peter approaches Troy with open palm held out: I’ll take your money, now.
Troy: Glad to. How much? Being clean elections, it all comes out of the same pot.
Shelly: Peter, I have properties in Mapleton and Portage. I have a vested interest in these towns and a perfect right to be here. You owe my mother an apology.
In another incident that demonstrates political strategy, Troy found that flyers were being put in mailboxes accusing Troy of being one of those Portland liberals who doesn’t have the best interests in mind for this area. I believe that unauthorized use of mailboxes is a crime. When Troy confronted Tim about his actions, Tim responded that he was told to do that, that he just did what he was told. As explained in Shelly’s LTE to The Star Herald, when Tim was asked why he refused to participate in a forum or debate with his opponent, he replied that it wasn’t up to him, that he was just doing what he was told.
It is very disturbing that we are voting into office candidates who do not understand the issues that affect us all, that they respond with attacks when confronted, and that they depend on party leaders to tell them what to do. Some of these candidates use clean elections to do as they are told by party leaders who are generously funded by major corporate interests. Is it any wonder our trust in government is so badly eroded?