In her front page interview in the Press Herald on Aug. 6, Sen. Olympia Snowe sounded more like an observer than a participant in Congress.

She noted the large news coverage, and the narrow views of some of her colleagues which contributed to the lack of legislative accomplishment so badly needed.

She was not asked about, nor did she offer, any constructive way to improve things. She and Sen. Susan Collins are the only Mainers who have any influence on the way the Senate acts. If it is failing, they are part of the failure.

She is a leader in the Senate. If things are to get better, it is up to her to work for improvement, not just throw up her hands in despair. She must work with her fellow senators.

She might make the substance of the interview into a speech to her colleagues. That might help.

Charles K. Brown

Brunswick

The Portland papers have recently given space to Sen. Olympia Snowe’s criticism of congressional partisanship.

The senator, who has been in Washington longer than many of her constituents have been alive, failed to mention her own participation in over 60 filibuster threats in the last year and a half.

Rodney Quinn

Gorham

The recent debt-ceiling debate, stock-market plunge and credit-rating downgrade prove Washington no longer works for us. It is corrupt and broken, beholden only to the super-rich who finance elections, incapable of solving our nation’s dire problems. This system has to go.

You and I mean very little to today’s politicians, except that we still have the vote. The only reason dirty money is poured into false campaigns is to buy our votes and theirs.

We must be determined that no amount of secret donations and deceptive ads will buy our votes, or we’ll soon have no say in our future. Nobody wants that except the powerful few. This is our real common ground — with the biggest payoff — saving everything that made this country great. It’s up to you and me, not the pitiful politicians, trivial news media or anyone else.

What can we do?

1. Fact check, shame and punish all irresponsible politicians, news media, businesses and other organizations — and reward responsibility — through our voting patterns, media habits, and purchasing power.

2. Nullify the Supreme Court’s destructive Citizens United decision, allowing corporations to pour unlimited secret money into politics.

3. Demand that government and big business come together now to stimulate jobs and the economy, instead of bickering about unyielding ideologies.

4. Tell politicians how we feel and what we’re going to do.

If you really love our country, recognize that it is in big trouble and do something about it right now, before we end up losing it.

David Estey

Belfast

“Shall we stand in silent cooperation? They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”

This quote from R.D. Laing’s “Knots” came to mind as I watched Congress and the president engrossed in their game of power, moving day by agonizing day toward the brink of failure everyone knew they would not pass.

Oh for the simple belief that they were acting in the best interest of the people and the nation.

Richard H. Hall

Brunswick

It is shameful that our representatives have let us down by serving their own political ends.

This partisan incompetence applies to both sides of the aisle and seems to be the worst it has ever been.

I’m sure we were all disappointed by the circus show of raising the debt ceiling that in effect kicked the can down the line until after the 2012 election and highlighted our incompetence to ratings agencies and the rest of the world.

As we watch our investments, our retirement savings and our savings for our children evaporate and we continue down the road of a protracted recession (or worse), I hope Mainers will join me in throwing the bums out over the next couple of election cycles.

If they were in the current session of the House or Senate, then they let us down in a very big, inexcuseable way and need to be reminded that they work for you and me.

Mike Bellonzi

Hollis

It’s all my fault! I take all the blame. I didn’t shop enough or spend enough to keep the economy going and to create jobs.

So, now that the fault is determined, could some grown-up politician (is that a possibility?) please start fixing the mess we are in? I have taken the fall, so let’s stop rewriting the past and get on with the future.

Let’s tune out anyone who talks about blame. Let’s insist on real, thoughtful solutions to debate, work with and enact.

We are in deep trouble, and we need to work on the fix. We need open, civil, honest discussions aimed at getting the greatest country back in shape and not spinning to get re-elected.

Lee Williams

Wells

It is bad enough to have tied up the Congress for more than a month having hissy fits over the debt ceiling, but now look at what the tea party representatives have done.

Now, the stock market has lost about 10 percent of its value. Was it worth it, tea party?

Do you think you have made a serious difference? I think you have. I believe you have driven the American economy deep into the ground with your childish “my way or no way.”

May God help America recover.

Rev. Dr. James M. Young

Portland

Ever the optimist, I am hoping the elected population in Washington took the scolding doled out by Standard & Poor’s to heart and mind. They received well-earned embarrassment for bringing American politics to an all-time low.

The country’s current situation is directly related to the incompetent politicians we elected on both sides of the aisle. There doesn’t seem to be any mirrors in Washington because if there were more clues as to why we are where we are would be quite evident.

We own some of the responsibility in this crisis as well due to us having amnesia come Election Day when we check off our ballots. We must hold our electorate accountable their entire time of being in office, including Election Day.

If they have not performed up to expectations, then they must be relieved of duty. The arrogance of posturing behind party lines to the point of having to be placed in a time out in front of the whole world is incredible.

The cocoon that surrounds Washington that somehow keeps America’s realities from entering their inboxes will once again twist the message sent by S&P, as is already evident in statements and quotes emerging saying S&P knows nothing about the American economy.

What? I would say it is you elected officials who know nothing about our economy. We are not an economy in and of itself, rather we are a part of a global financial machine that needs all of its parts working in order to remain stable and balanced.

One of my favorite shows is “Undercover Millionaire” where they discover struggles of others and emerge wiser to the reality of life. What if our elected officials were to spend a week living as one of us?

Andrew P. Soucy

Biddeford

I just got off the phone with Sen. Susan Collins’ office, and it’s a case of the Republicans wanting to distort facts and have their own reality. I spoke to a member of the senator’s staff about not wanting the social safety net to be cut as has been threatened during the manufactured debt crisis debate.

I was told by the staffer and then in an email that the GOP had no plans on cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Well, either they don’t know what the GOP is planning or they are just trying to create their own version of reality.

As reported in the Huffington Post, “Their priority is a plan to slash Medicare costs proposed by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan” and to be clear, the costs are the benefits we get. What is coming out of the senator’s office does not have any semblance of what the GOP is doing.

They say there are no plans to cut the plans that people like myself have paid into for over 35 years, but I’m 50 and they are planning to cut if not take away my benefits. As long as the GOP in both houses vote in blocs, and yes the senator has been given permission to vote against things in the past to provide political cover, the senator is part of a scheme to attack the benefits of the middle class and those who need our help.

Saying there is no plan when there is one by her party is providing cover for those that want to destroy what makes this nation great: being one nation under God.

In a time when 25 percent of our children go to bed hungry, they want to take away the social safety net.

Charles Reid

South Portland

Let me hear it just one time: I know a way to bring the economy back overnight.

It would take just five defining words from President Obama: “I will not seek re-election.”

Todd Poland

Boothbay

Republicans don’t want to increase taxes on the wealthy because they call those “the job creators.” So if someone owns a business and creates jobs, don’t increase his taxes.

Corporations create jobs, so let them have their tax breaks. CEOs of corporations don’t create jobs, they just draw massive salaries. In fact, they cause corporations to trim jobs and pay employees less just to afford these massive salaries. These employees barely make enough to pay any taxes.

Let the CEO pay a little more to make up for it. After all, he’s enjoying all this country has to offer, thanks to those employees.

Fortunately, many of our best and brightest go into the military to serve our country. They often vote Republican because Republicans have traditionally stood for a strong national defense.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld weakened this belief by trying to hard to nickel-and-dime the Iraqi war. Service men and women often gravitate to service type jobs after they leave the military. They often work for the police force, fire department, postal service or as teachers.

Now Republicans across the country have made it clear. They want to lower the pay of people in these positions by making them non-union.

This way, these people can be paid less and the wealthy won’t have to pay higher taxes. I truly believe our service men and women should be staunch Democrats.

John M. Donahue

South Portland