If any elected leaders are reading this, I want to let you know columnist M.D. Harmon doesn’t speak for me when he states what’s appropriate for using political power.

Harmon says it’s OK for you to use your power to preserve your power. In the redistricting debate, he says it’s not unethical for Republicans to shape the districts in their own image. In fact, he says, they would do their supporters a disservice by not doing so.

That’s not what I think, and I don’t think my friends and neighbors do either. We elect representatives so they can serve us, not themselves. We expect our leaders to push forward their plans for supporting our communities, not supporting their party. We, not they, get to decide whom to put in power.

I don’t know about M.D. Harmon, but I think people are tired of politicians playing partisan games for their benefit.

It’s one thing to use politics to push forward ideas on real issues, like jobs, families, and safety. Our leaders need to be effective and decisive, and that means electing people who know how to achieve real results in our communities.

But it’s another thing for them to use their power to expand their power, like this redistricting plan and ending same-day voter registration.

The voters of Maine have been doing a fine job choosing their leaders. We’ve elected both conservatives and progressives to Washington, based on whom we thought would do the best job. There’s no need to change the system.

So, to the politicians who are pushing a radical redistricting plan, don’t believe M.D. Harmon. The voters are watching, and we don’t like what we’re seeing.

Grace Cleaves

Portland

While M.D. Harmon scarcely needs defending, the people of Maine perhaps could use a civics lesson or two.

A Sept. 3 Another View writer attacks Mr. Harmon’s “misstatements, regurgitations, and unbelievable lack of knowledge of the facts” then focuses his argument on what he calls “the most reprehensible issue” in Harmon’s column about political redistricting, in which Harmon stated it “was not unfair for politicians to use every legal means to support their party’s agenda.”

The writer then goes on to repeat the usual Democratic talking points, including the charge that the Republican agenda has been purchased by “big business and the wealthy” and suggests that the party is “politically corrupt.”

My first civics lesson as a lobbyist in the Maine State House came from a long-term practitioner of the political sciences and a Democrat named Joe, his last name omitted to protect the innocent.

I asked him why a certain legislative committee of 13 had made the decision that they did. Joe looked at me and simply said, “Eight to five.”

That is the political process in a nutshell, eight votes for and five votes against, and the majority rules. From redistricting to redistribution, from balanced budgets to trickle-down spending, the political process is what this great country has chosen since its founding as our means of deciding how we want to be governed.

Fortunately, we have two major parties that have divergent ideas on how best to do that, and a few splinter groups with ideas of their own. All play a role in influencing us the electorate in voting for them in the hope that they will then be on the side of the “eight.”

There is nothing “reprehensible” in the majority party using the tools at its disposal to influence the vote in its favor. That’s what political parties do, and have done for centuries.

Republicans believe that the policies they support are in the people’s interest, as of course do Democrats.

At the risk of being charged with “supporting a corrupt political system” as the writer charged, I join Mr. Harmon in his belief that it is not unfair for politicians to support their party’s agenda. In fact, it is perhaps the height of naivete to think the should do otherwise.

Ronald G. Thurston

Falmouth

Column on Gov. Perry’s faith avoids real issues

“That we are yet again debating evolutionary theory and Earth’s origins — and that candidates now have to declare where they stand on established science — should be a signal we are slip-sliding toward governance by emotion rather than reason.”

It seems very reasonable for columnist Kathleen Parker to say that in her commentary, “Perry ready to win now, but what about 2012?” But is it?

Reasoning is the ability to think, understand and form judgments using logic. Throughout Parker’s commentary she implies that Gov. Rick Perry’s religious views interfere with reason.

She questions Perry’s ability to beat Obama in the 2012 election because Perry’s views lack reason and the mainstream won’t accept that.

I was challenged to use reason to look at these two issues. A quick Google search lead to lists of very credible scientists working at well-respected universities that question evolution and global warming.

One source has a list of a 100 scientists who signed the following statement: “I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

One can also find a site listing thousands of credentialed scientists who signed a petition stating: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other green house gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

Reason would then dictate that these issues are not standing on established science. If Perry loses, it will not be because his religious views are unreasonable, but perhaps because the views of the “mainstream media,” such as Ms. Parker, are themselves unreasonable.

Charles Barnard

Portland

Why are you publishing anything written by Kathleen Parker? “Who is the godliest of us all?” Are you/she kidding? Is the Press Herald for real?

How can you justify using so much space to cover Gov. Rick Perry’s religious inclinations instead of problems of job creation, national and annual public debt and the economy’s nose dive?

The Press Herald has disappointed again. This is not a balanced opinion. It is trash.

Walter Gilpin

Portland

Thanks to columnist for noting needs of the poor

As an advocate for Homeless Voices for Justice, I want to thank columnist Greg Kesich for pointing out in his recent opinion piece that the 80,000-plus Mainers diligently looking for work are falling off the economic edges into the long lines at food pantries and the endless lines searching for affordable housing.

A mayor who does not understand social services and poverty will not be able to make an effective difference in Portland and its neighborhoods.

The issues of poverty and homelessness will not disappear if they are ignored or distorted.

As a Navy veteran who faced homelessness after 15 years of leaving active military duty, I know firsthand how poverty affects those who are forced to live it each and every day.

It’s not just waiting in long lines to get a mat on the shelter floor or for an evening meal; it’s the self-esteem-crushing, dignity-stomping feeling that you don’t have a place in society.

A community joining to ensure that those most in need are able to get the most basic of those needs met is, indeed, “doing the right thing.”

Our group will be inviting all mayoral candidates to Preble Street to discuss these concerns during our upcoming “You Don’t Need A Home To Vote” candidates’ breakfast.

I hope others will also see it’s fundamental to address the critical issues around poverty and homelessness in the campaign discussions during the upcoming mayoral race.

Tom Ptacek

Homeless Voices for Justice

Portland