On this Thanksgiving Day, as we all gather around the family table to give thanks for what we have, I recall that my parents left Nazi Germany in 1938 with almost nothing, settled in Latin America (where I was born) and came to America in 1946.

Democracy may be a bit sloppy at times, perhaps, but it still is the best system around. Would one rather live in Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else?

So I raise my Thanksgiving glass to the United States of America, a great place to live and grow up, where I’m so proud to spend my life.

Ron Coles

Alfred 

Readers have different messages for Republicans

We have a governor who for once has Maine at heart and is serving in the best interest of Maine people. He was elected by the people for the people. I for one am proud to have him as my governor.

Yet we have people with no common sense fighting him all the way and not in the best interest of the hard-working people of Maine. I don’t have to name anyone, for they know who they are. For once, Republicans, get behind your governor and learn his reasoning as to what he does and if it is in the best interest of the people. Do what is right. That isn’t happening in either party.

Gerri Randall

Hudson 

In numerous polls, the majority of Americans have expressed support for solving our nation’s economic problems through spending cuts and revenue-raising measures. That is precisely what the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, recommended for debt relief and long-term fiscal health.

Why are Republicans refusing to respect these findings? And why, as elected officials, are they answering to Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, instead of to their constituencies? Norquist has never been vetted by the American people. The control he exercises over our country and our future is nothing less than a subversion of democracy and all of its ideals.

As a 60-year-old widow who had to sell a house that was home for 25 years because I could not find employment amid the Great Recession, I am appalled that Congress cannot find the courage to ask billionaires to pay their taxes. No one has proposed bleeding the wealthy with leeches; we just want them to contribute their fair share, as other, less-privileged citizens are expected to do.

Although I have long admired Sens. Snowe and Collins for their ability to approach issues objectively and “reach across the aisle,” they appear to be succumbing to the rigid dictates of their party. In other words, I fear they do not hold the interests of people in Maine as high as the interests of the nation’s richest 1 percent.

Gaye Brown

Portland 

Bill Nemitz’s column a welcome presence

A reader from Cape Elizabeth wrote in a recent letter to the editor that he wished Bill Nemitz was no longer a columnist for The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

I wanted to write in support of Mr. Nemitz and his work. His is one of the first columns I read each week. I find his personal interest stories to be inspiring. His stories often prompt me to consider how I can be a better human being.

I hope he continues to write for the paper for many years to come.

Rhonda Benner

North Yarmouth 

Charge customers who opt out? Sounds good to him

I understand that the Maine Public Utilities Commission has developed a system for Central Maine Power to charge fees to customers who do not want a new electric meter installed. I sell books at a flea market in Brunswick. Some people come to the flea market and decide not to buy books from me, and that hurts my bottom line. I wonder if the Public Utilities Commission has any suggestions as to how I can charge these individuals for opting out. I respect the commission’s experience in these matters.

Jack Glatter

Cumberland Center 

Sea level rising faster than most realize

The article “Greenhouse gas level building at ever-faster rate, U.N. reports,” published on Nov. 22, contained one important factual error.

The article stated, “Scientists can’t say exactly what levels of greenhouse gases are safe, but some fear a continued rise in global temperatures will lead to irreversible melting of some of the world’s ice sheets and a several-foot rise in sea levels over the centuries – the so-called tipping point.”

In fact, the latest articles coming out of the scientific community that studies ice sheets and sea level are predicting a sea level rise of 1 to 2 meters in this century, with continued sea level increases beyond 2100 at 6 to 10 inches per decade. The Greenland ice sheet alone contains enough ice to increase sea level more than 23 feet. The Antarctic ice sheet contains enough water to increase the sea level more than 240 feet.

If the most recent scientific predictions are correct, we will lose the stable sea level that humanity has relied upon for nearly 10,000 years and that has enabled the development of our complex civilization. We would lose virtually every port on the planet that we now rely upon for transportation and commerce. Over time, we would lose our coastal cities.

The time frame for substantial sea level change is not centuries into the future. It is predicted to begin in earnest this century. If you have a child or a grandchild under the age of 10, they are in the crosshairs of this change. That generation may be the first of many that must cope with a catastrophically changing (rising) sea level that could extend centuries into the future.

More information may be found at the website for the National Academy of Sciences, or by doing a Google search for “climate change and sea level.”

Bruce Cole

Rockport