In the June 22 story “Reactions mixed among Portland taxpayers on aid for asylum seekers,” Philip Printz spoke eloquently: “Portland has made the decision to be a supportive community for immigrants.” Anne Salamone spoke for many, saying, “You feel their plight, but at some point you have to say enough is enough.”

“War in Val D’Orcia,” by Iris Origo, describes how she and her husband provided food, finances and protection for hundreds during World War II at La Foce,Tuscany, during the German Occupation.

Iris quotes a passage from “The Pool of Vishnu” by L.H. Myers, who says that self-protective egotism is not natural to human beings, but produced by structures of organized society.

“If one sees,” he says, “a person struggling at the bottom of a well, one’s natural impulse is to pull the person out. If someone is starving, one’s natural impulse is to share one’s food. Surely it is only on second thoughts that we don’t do these things. Society seems to me to be like an organized system of mean second thoughts.”

Iris continues: “During those crucial months (of the German Occupation) of shared apprehension and danger, when the structure of society did not seem very important, that ‘organized system of mean second thoughts’ also mercifully disappeared into the background.”

Why is this important? Portland followed from the beginning our “natural impulses” to reach out and help those seeking asylum. Society, through our governor and Augusta, said it was too expensive. We reverted to “an organized system of mean second thoughts,” saying, “Enough is enough.”

Reaching out, going the extra mile for those in need through no fault of their own (seeking asylum and freedom as did our forebears) will not only assist them, in the long run will lift us all, making us free as well.

C. Waite Maclin