Last week, we witnessed a change in our relationship with our government.

First, I will explain that I am a Republican and as such I believe that the Constitution is the law of the land. I also believe every law that is passed has to fit into the parameters of the Constitution. I believe that we are a government of laws, not of men. In a constitutional republic, we are citizens and are equal under the law.

The change of which I speak concerns our citizenship. When a leader can rule through fiat in lieu of having to work through the elected representatives of the people, when a law is passed using bribery and other chicanery, then we are no longer citizens, we are now subjects.

England, the country from which we separated, has no Bill of Rights in its constitution. British people are subjects, not citizens. They are subject to the will of the crown and Parliament. Their rights are those which seem right for the time. When you are a subject, the law can change and isn’t written in stone as our Constitution is.

After last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court, our Constitution has been shelved and ignored. As an aside, I can only wish that the chief justice had a different name.

I will end this by quoting P.J. O’Rourke, who said, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is ‘free.’ “

John M. Roberts

South Portland

I am puzzled by some people’s criticism of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that we all purchase health insurance. They claim this mandate infringes on their right not to buy insurance (the so-called “broccoli argument”). Furthermore they claim the mandate pre-empts the ethos of personal responsibility touted by conservatives.

So why should I, the insurance payer, absorb the cost of those not covered by insurance? As it is right now, some of us pay higher premiums to help cover the costs incurred by the uninsured. Their “right” not to buy insurance ends up making my “personal responsibility” more expensive. Where’s the freedom in that?

Elizabeth Miller

Portland

In my humble opinion, the Affordable Care Act of President Obama and upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28 is a huge, exclusive, economic gain for the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and the federal government and not for the real health or care of any American.

Why? Because real affordable health is really already free. Real health comes from our everyday decisions, our everyday choices, of what we put in our mouth. Our bodies can heal themselves when given the right food to eat and cannot heal from some medical allopathic treatment forced upon us to buy into. The industry benefits with expensive chemotherapy, radiation, pain killing drugs and new weight loss pills. In fact, more people actually die from the treatment than the disease itself.

Real health is in our kitchens, the place where we select, cook and eat natural food grown here in good-quality Maine soil for the continuation of humanity.

The Supreme Court upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act shows the mental illness of our leaders and of our courts because they think that treating and suppressing our cancers, heart diseases and obesity can be solved with forcing health care on all of us. It cannot. What they would be better off doing is educating the public on eating well and exercising!

David Snieckus

Orr’s Island

Calling immigrants ‘illegal’ disrespects their humanity

I greatly appreciate your paper’s coverage of immigration reform throughout our state and country. I do, however, take issue with the labels and language used to portray those seeking immigration status in our country, especially with the term “illegal.”

In a recent article describing Mitt Romney’s response to President Obama’s mandate on the DREAM Act, which allows students who grew up in this country the opportunity to seek higher education and contribute to our economy, DREAMers were referred to as “illegal immigrants.” By referring to those students who meet the requirement for the DREAM Act as “illegal immigrants,” you are stereotyping their status in this country and dehumanizing their experience.

A more appropriate term would be “undocumented,” as many DREAMers were born in this country or were brought here as children by parents who were undocumented, but seeking a better future for their children nonetheless.

These students have done nothing illegal, and by calling them “illegal,” we are implying that there is a criminal element in the student’s participation in obtaining immigration status.

The language we use around this issue of immigration reform is extremely important because the passage of the DREAM Act relies on the general public getting the full scope of complications around immigration status and the many different modes of obtaining a status in this country.

I feel that by labeling as “illegal” all immigrants who are working and paying taxes in this country, looking to seek higher education, seeking protection from tyranny in their country of birth or simply brought here by undocumented parents, we are oversimplifying their stories and criminalizing them in the process.

This is a country with a strong immigrant history, and we ought to use respectful language when speaking of the experiences of modern-day immigrants.

Erin Saul

Portland

Gorham official’s arrest prompts circling of wagons

According to The Portland Press Herald of June 16 (“Gorham town councilor faces charges of OUI, leaving scene”), a Gorham town councilor was arrested recently for operating under the influence (.11 percent blood alcohol, nearly 40 percent over the legal limit) and leaving the scene of an accident.

Astonishingly, leadership of the Gorham Town Council (Chair Brenda Caldwell) responded that “I think it might make her a better councilor” and “my bet is that it won’t happen again.”

What kind of logic employs that kind of thinking? Gorham is taking the typical response of “circling the wagons” when one of their elected officials chooses to drink and drive.

When did “public service” become a role model for “public endangerment”? Are Gorham public officials exempt from the dangers of driving while intoxicated? What if she killed someone? What if it were your entire family? Would that help her become a better councilor?

James Means

Gorham