Much has been written about state Sen. Michael Willette’s recent Facebook postings concerning President Obama. I think most Mainers can agree that they were ill-informed, racist, intolerant, fear-mongering and just plain dumb.

Almost as disturbing was Willette’s weak apology – that, basically, we have all regretted posting some things online. He did not say he doesn’t believe what he said.

I’m sure many in Augusta hope that this story will go away, but, unfortunately, it is like trying to un-ring a bell, as the story has been reported worldwide.

So why does it matter? The governor is fond of saying capital goes where it is wanted. So do people.

Sen. Willette is an ambassador – the spokesman for the largest (by geographic size) county in Maine. Citizens from other nations may not understand we tolerate people who hold extreme opinions, and might assume that the senator is speaking for all of his constituents and maybe the entire state of Maine.

Why would young entrepreneurs of Middle Eastern heritage feel they would be welcome in Maine?

How about an Indian software designer who was looking for a nice place to set up shop? Is she going to want to go to someplace that obviously doesn’t like people of color?

Would an African-American factory owner looking to re-site his business in a place that is welcoming to his family select Aroostook County?

This is not a question of free speech. Mr. Willette certainly can say anything he wants.

But speech does have its consequences. Giving Mr. Willette a pass on this is saying that we here in Maine are fine with bigotry.

He has tarred our state and made us look like a modern version of 1960s Alabama. Willette should resign.

Greg Rossel