Granted, we are early in the latest edition of Congress, but the rhetoric does not bode well. Rep. Eric Cantor, Republican whip of the 111th Congress, has pledged he will work with President Obama as long as he follows the will of “the people.”

This presumes the shrinking third of the voting population who identify themselves as Republican constitutes “the people.” With such need for action, it is tough to listen to the primary Republican objectives as elimination of health care reform — excuse me, I mean “Obamacare” — and making sure Obama is a single-termer. There have been no meaningful proposals beyond these two, unless you count the rehashed “Contract with America.”

There is no stated alternate to the repeal of health care reform, just eliminate it. Are we to presume we will be back to denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and be at the mercy of insurers? Is the freedom from government for “the people” manifest in the notion that we are free to be manipulated by corporate America, and they free to shake us down?

Listen to these politicians and realize that for them, “the people” are the 1 percent of the population vacuuming up more than half the nation’s wealth while the rest of the country looks under the car seat for change.

Joe Delaney

Portland

 

As a high school student who is dedicated to seeing same-sex couples gain the right to marry, I feel compelled to respond to Bob Emrich’s Oct. 27 letter, “Equality Maine hasn’t quit on same-sex unions.”

Emrich took issue with Equality Maine’s endorsements, which he claimed did not reveal the group supports same-sex marriage. He cites this as evidence of the campaign hiding the same-sex marriage issue.

It is true that several advertisements paid for by Equality Maine focused on issues other than same-sex marriage: Maine citizens have multiple concerns about representatives. But same-sex marriage was not completely cut from the endorsements. I received an advertisement for a prospective state legislator, informing me that he would “work to pass marriage equality legislation.” This shows Mr. Emrich’s claim to be unfounded.

I would also like to address Emrich’s assertion that Equality Maine wants to “force the (same-sex marriage) debate all over again.” We must renew the debate on same-sex marriage, because we cannot afford to continue ignoring it. When this country was new, there was debate about outlawing slavery. To avoid division, the government prolonged further discussion until 1806. The slavery issue did not go away when Americans found it inconvenient to deal with; it only continued for decades.

I and other volunteers spent hours on the phone for the “No on 1” campaign last year, and we are working once again this year. While some may dislike our persistence, we will continue until same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.

Morgana Warner-Evans

West Bath

 

Pursuit of common sense, civility yields mixed results

 

As a bicyclist I must respond to the letter from Sandie Jackson of Portland (“Motorist finds bicyclists discourteous,” Oct. 5) who seems not to be familiar with Maine law.

Maine law treats bicycles as similar to vehicles (L.D. 1808). With the right to share the road with other vehicles, bicyclists have the responsibility of following the rules of the road just as motorists do. There will always be riders and drivers who ignore the rules. We cannot dictate common sense.

The issue of a motorist passing a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction is clear and defined by the law. The driver must provide not less than 3 feet of safe passage between the bicycle and her or his vehicle. If the driver cannot figure out the 3-foot rule, then she or he should be courteous, patient and hold off until a safe passing lane is available.

Most Maine roads do not have posted bicycle lanes. In such circumstances bicyclists can, under the law, take up some of the vehicular lane, riding as close to the right side as safely possible and as conditions allow. If a posted bicycle lane exists it may not be safe due to lack of maintenance, thus the rider is forced to share the road with motorists.

Ms. Jackson implies that dangerous problems are sometimes caused by groups of riders. I agree. Group riders occasionally appear to have a mind-set that they’re above any law of sanity and reasonableness, because there is yet no law in Maine that requires bicyclists to ride single file on public roads.

Share the road — a little bit of courtesy goes a long way for safety.

Pamelia B. Adams

Yarmouth

 

Department of Small Things: We recently came home from the Rally to Restore Sanity via delayed flight. I felt a little poorly during the four-hour wait, but it had been a very physically demanding day. Once on the plane, food poisoning — hotel crab soup — took its inevitable course, and I experienced, let’s say, gastric distress.

We waited to be the last ones off the plane, feeling like dog meat and wanting the world to go away.

As the row behind us emptied, I heard a young woman say, “I hope you feel better soon.”

What wonderful words. Civility is alive and well. Thank you, whoever you are.

Dave Woodman

Harpswell

It seems to me that a political cartoon should do two things: make a cogent point and, hopefully, give us a smile or a chuckle in the process.

Pat Oliphant’s mean-spirited — and pointless — drawing depicting Christine O’Donnell riding a broom and collecting donations for an “anti-masturbation lobby” did neither of those things. It would seem that the sole purpose of it was to use a candidate’s personal moral code, combined with an already-discredited piece of attack-ad silliness, to portray the candidate as unworthy of serious consideration. In short, to make fun of her and her candidacy.

Yes, it’s on the op-ed page, so Oliphant is free to express his opinion. But doesn’t the newspaper bear any responsibility for filtering out pieces that have no discernible worth? That cartoon wasn’t worth your paper and ink — or my time to read it.

Jon Koelker

North Berwick

 

Pining for Trader Joe’s not the way life should be

 

My hope is that the person who sent in a letter awhile back about her disappointment after she moved to the area and there wasn’t a Trader Joe’s is happy now. She should have investigated more before she moved to Maine to see what the area didn’t have that she had where she lived.

It’s the same old story. Move to Maine because it’s so beautiful and slow-paced and quaint and whatever else Maine has that people want to move here for, then they miss the things they left that they can’t and don’t want to do without. Then they do their best to try to make changes by running for some sort of office.

Stan Goldberg

Wells