This will be my last column for the summer. I’d like to say that’s because my inner Calvin believes that no self-respecting Mainer should work very hard during the summer, and particularly once July rolls around.

But the real reason is that I want to finish a book that’s been stuck in my head, waiting to be released, for two years. It’s called “Growing Maine’s Next Economy.”

I’d like to end this season by highlighting some of the things that I’m grateful for this week.

THE ARRIVAL OF AN OLD FRIEND CALLED SUMMER

The weather is always the center of conversation in Maine, and especially as winter wears us down and we become anxious for spring. This year the conversation seemed to linger so long that it almost bumped into our favorite conversation-starters about it being too hot and dry.

I’m grateful for the things that are growing so surprisingly fast in the garden. For the lushness encroaching on the houses and the overhanging trees on our road. And for the hundreds of shades of green that define June.

A YEAR OF AWAKENING ON RACE

The tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, is having a transformative effect on the national discussion on race. That doesn’t mean that racism will soon disappear, but it does mean that the slow tide of change is again advancing.

Transformative change often occurs as a result of breakthrough moments that capture the public’s attention and galvanize action. We’re in the middle of one of those leaps forward.

The murders of nine people in a church in South Carolina may not have become, by itself, a catalyst. It could have been shrugged off as just another tragic and incomprehensible event, perpetrated by a single unstable individual. But this event follows a series of national stories this year on violence against black people that have shocked and awakened the country.

Some people say that what happened in South Carolina is the result of too many guns or too much racism. But at a deeper level, Charleston is another chapter in the long human struggle between love and hate, and between embracing diversity and equality or fighting it.

I am grateful for the families of the victims who said to the self-confessed murderer: “I forgive you.” They confronted hate with love, and forced hate into a humiliating retreat.

I’m grateful to the 1,300 Mainers who came together in Portland on Monday night to recommit themselves to a more just and caring Maine. And I’m grateful that they made clear that when we cut through the political rhetoric, attempts to impoverish legal asylum seekers are mostly about the color of their skin.

INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURS

I’m grateful for all the people who’ve worked so hard to put together this week’s Startup and Create Week in Portland, and to the many people who are creating a new entrepreneurial future for Maine.

ANGUS KING

I’m grateful that Maine would elect a senator who not only has a good mind and heart, but who also has the habit of telling the truth. I hope that in a few months, his health problems are a fading memory.

THE LEGISLATURE’S FINEST HOUR

Over the last few months, the governor’s anger at not getting his way has overwhelmed his judgment and self-control, in a way that should concern all Mainers. It has led the governor to a tantrum of vetoes, first against all Democrats and then against Republicans as well, including bills with unanimous bipartisan support.

The response from the Legislature could have been to retreat behind partisan barricades, with Republicans defending every LePage outburst and Democrats stooping to LePage’s level of partisan sniping.

None of that happened. Instead, the two sides worked together, long into the night and day after day, hammering out agreements and finding common ground. They produced compromises that no side loves but both sides have steadfastly defended.

I’m grateful to this Legislature, and for the caring, thoughtful and determined people who take time out of their lives and careers to serve. Together, they’ve managed to overturn almost every frivolous veto from the governor, many times with unanimous votes of both chambers and standing ovations to each other.

That is what we send legislators to Augusta to do: To push for what you believe in but also to listen and learn from each other, and find a path forward for Maine.

Finally, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you this year, and for the hundreds of encouraging and heartwarming letters I’ve received.

See you in the fall.

Alan Caron is a partner in the strategic consulting firm of Caron and Egan. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

filed under: