July 2, 2013

Letters to the editor: Word choice denotes pairs' commitment

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Lisa Gorney, left, and Donna Galluzzo, both of Portland, sign their marriage license at Portland City Hall on Dec. 29, 2012. Legally married same-sex couples who want “to fully claim first-class citizenship” should call each other “husband” or “wife,” a reader says.

2012 File Photo/Gabe Souza

Dr. John Kazilionis

South Portland

Criticism of smoker offers much judgment, little help

Earl Harnden's letter ("Babies have no respite from secondhand smoke," June 27) was so appallingly denigrating to a whole group of people that it should not have been published any more than if he had used the N-word about an African-American.

He simply assumed that a woman ("girl") with three children whose cigarette smoke blew into her baby's face was "probably a state case" and that she was paying for her "butts" with taxpayer dollars. For all he knew, she was a baby sitter! He didn't know anything about her.

We all receive a little government assistance -- more at some times in our lives than others. It helps everyone if young children aren't starving or the elderly destitute.

If I had three young children, no help from the father and my child care cost more than I could earn, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would be a matter of survival for my children. (Survival would be hard on TANF. The maximum TANF grant for a household of three is only $485 per month -- $585 if you have high housing costs.)

Mr. Harnden, we are all fallible human beings. We are all trying to do our best given the reality in which we live. If all you do is put whole groups of people down, how can they find good situations from which they can rise? How do you find a good job if everyone assumes you are inferior simply because you need TANF?

The "welfare" stereotype makes our society worse. Did you assume she cheats? Did you assume she is lazy? Stop. Have some compassion. Consider what you don't know.

And next time you write a letter about secondhand smoke, remember that very good people become horribly addicted. You could even give out the number for the Maine Tobacco HelpLine (800-207-1230). Then, Mr. Harnden, you might do some good.

Mary Henderson


Michaud can't depend on his party to vote as a bloc

I believe the state Democratic Party would make a huge mistake in selecting Mike Michaud for governor. He is not popular in southern Maine, and he would not win.

Why? Because Democrats are not pushovers. Only a small percent of Democrats vote along party lines, to the tune of approximately 15 percent. For example, Cynthia Dill got 13 percent of the vote in the last election.

In other words, the vast majority of Democrats vote for the person, and not just the party. In contrast, Republicans are solid for Paul LePage at 34 percent because of the Reaganites and tea party members.

Eliot Cutler came two weeks short of a victory last time. Now I do not see enough Democrats shifting over to elect him.

Among the three men, I strongly feel Eliot Cutler is the man for us as an independent. Right now, I favor Cutler, period, though I will keep my mind open for Michaud.

But hell would have to freeze over before I would ever put the current "baby boy" back into an office of respect. He has dirtied the governor's chair.

Bill Perreault


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