I was struck by the irony of the Aug. 3 Portland Press Herald side-by-side commentary columns regarding Chelsea Clinton’s marriage and Kathleen Parker’s “small-town values” reflections where she called her neighbors Jack and Craig, together for 25 years, the “most stabilizing presence” in her life.

Jack and Craig are thoroughly human to her. And they cannot get married. There are numerous consequences to that, including that should one of them die before the other, the surviving partner will face an enormous tax burden that he wouldn’t have to face if they were allowed to marry.

I’m aware of this because it recently was pointed out to me when my partner and I were doing our own financial planning. Seems ironic that one of us, in essence, may end up paying twice on the home we bought together. It doesn’t seem fair.

I appreciate the passions of the marriage debate, and am fearful that the arguments put forth on both sides can often sound strident. Many might be offended by Miss Clinton marrying someone of a different faith. Yet she and Mr. Mezvinsky could still be married.

I’m not looking to have what some might consider a “religious, sacramental marriage.” I’m only hoping to be able to have a state and federally recognized “civil marriage” that would allow us to have the same civil rights as other married couples.

My wish is to be treated as fully human — with the same human face Ms. Parker put on her “small-town values” friends.

Andrew Fenniman
Chamberlain

 

The people of California voted against gay marriage. One solitary judge overturned the vote.

Seventy percent of the people in New York City don’t want a mosque built near Ground Zero, but a city board has approved it.

The people of the United States want secure borders, but the federal government refuses to perform its constitutional duty under Article 4, Section 4. It has blocked Arizona from securing its border, even though most citizens favor the state’s legislation implmenting federal law.

Most Americans don’t want a government health care program, but one has been foisted upon us.

Of, by, and for the people? Not anymore. The federal government cites the Constitution when that suits its aims, but otherwise ignores and shreds this foundation of liberty. What hypocrisy!

If one reads the Constitution, it becomes clear that the U.S. government, except for taxes (what a surprise), is supposed to deal with the states, not with individuals.

It is the state governments that are supposed to interact with their citizens in all matters.

The federal government increasingly ignores the Constitution and grabs more power for itself, by-passing states’ authority in the process.

We must stop this if we are to have any liberties left at all. “One is part of the solution or part of the problem.” Just about everyone in Congress is part of the problem, including our congressional delegation. I have not seen them doing anything to turn this around.

In November, we must decide if we want ever-increasing government control in the form of party politics as usual — or do we want to start building a government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people?

Our votes will decide this.

Herbert Dobbins
Windham

Pursuit of riches prevents changing our energy use

 

The golden rule of capital formation is, “Them that’s got the gold make the rules.” Another maxim of capital formation is, “Money follows money.” However much a mythic system may be ingrained in a society, it does not necessarily reflect reality.

Every cultural posit must be subject to an epistemological standard. After all the cultural posits based on the mythic system of the “divine right of kings” are no longer taken seriously by the majority of people.

Unfortunately, the undoing of a mythic system tends to accompanied by wars and revolutions.

This means that those invested in protecting a given society must be able to exam any cultural posit for its integrity against other mythic systems.

When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney came into office, they held a secret meeting with persons from the energy industries.

They may have discussed the vulnerability of Middle East oil in the event of war.

After the meeting, there appeared to be two courses of action: 1. The United States would get its oil from less vulnerable areas of the world; 2. The United States would use warfare to stabilize the situation in the Middle East. The first part has in large part been successful, even though it has given rise to wild price fluctuations in the market place.

However, those who have the gold benefited by those fluctuations. The second part failed.

As a country, we remained mired in the production of fossil fuels. This is where the money is flowing.

We could switch to hydrogen for our cars, buses, pick-up trucks, railroad engines and propeller-driven aircraft. We don’t because “them that’s got the gold make the rules.”

Herbert W. Twiddy
Yarmouth

Cut military, space spending to fund better priorities

 

I would suggest that those who have friends in the Republican Party who wish to save money at this time get those friends to introduce for them a bill to: 1. Close all military bases around the world; 2. Shut down all funds for NASA, because all further space research has diminishing returns; 3. Build no more warships, submarines, bombers or drones, for they are no longer needed.

That is just a start on the reduction of the military budget and the military-industrial complex supporting the above.

Osama bin Laden had none of those, and yet has fought us to a standstill in Iraq and Afghanistan by training and spreading “the mujahejeen” all around the Middle East, as well as Africa and Southwest Asia.

If we should spend as much money and energy on a Peace Corps budget as we have on our military budget, we might not have had to contend with al-Qaida and the terrorists.

Think what we might do for our people with no military budget, no NASA; we could even fund clean elections.

Philip Thompson
Portland