January 31, 2013

Letters to the editor: Cutler doesn't deserve 'spoiler' label

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People who predict that Eliot Cutler would split the Democratic vote if he runs for governor in 2014 fail to factor in the changes in the political landscape since Cutler’s 2010 Blaine House bid, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/Gregory Rec

That old statistical saw seems to apply -- "Numbers don't lie, but liars use numbers."

Mark Schwartz

South Portland 

I read with interest the two letters in the Jan. 26 Press Herald titled "Cutler run will hand LePage second term."

I, too, have followed with interest the potential for a repeat of the last gubernatorial election. I disagree, however, with the two writers who are asking Cutler not to run and not be the spoiler. Our form of government allows anyone to run for any office they choose.

The flaw is in the system that allows a governor to be elected to office with less than 51 percent of the vote.

My suggestion, which I have heard proposed before, is if in a race where there are more than two candidates and no candidate gets at least 51 percent of the vote, then we have a runoff election between the top two vote getters.

I don't know the process to initiate such a change or even if there is enough time to make such a change before the next election. However, in my opinion, no one should be able to lead the state of Maine unless they have a clear mandate to do so from the citizens/voters of Maine.

Steven C. Pomelow


Women's rights struggle overlooked in classrooms 

There is a lot of discussion and debate in our society with an inadequate foundation of knowledge -- historical knowledge, in particular.

This month we celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and, by extension, the great struggle to fulfill the promise of this country for people of African and Afro-American descent.

But there was and is another great struggle to fulfill the promise of this country, and that struggle is too often given little or no recognition in our schools.

The struggle of American women for full citizenship is too often lost in two or three bits of trivia, rather than a thoughtful examination of its challenges and successes, or its importance for today and tomorrow.

Any school system not using "Not For Ourselves Alone," the book by Geoffrey C. Ward, movie by Ken Burns, in its high school social studies curriculum is committing a sin of omission. The story presented is that compelling, and that fundamental to the story of America.

Michael Crichton has been quoted as saying, "If you don't know history, you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."

While that thought might suffice, in a society that makes claims to democracy and values entrepreneurial leadership and creativity it might be even more empowering to say, "If you don't know history, you are a steering wheel that doesn't know it is part of a car."

For both social and economic reasons, we need to expect and respect the grass-roots leadership and the commitment to purpose that "Not For Ourselves Alone" depicts.

John Henderson



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