As the list of Paul LePage’s transgressions continues to grow, as appalling as this is, it is not what I find most deeply troubling.

Misuse of power is as old as time. This is why in our government, this power is heavily circumscribed, even to the point of inefficiency and complexity.

Our Founding Fathers experienced tyranny first-hand; believed deeply that, as our Declaration of Independence states: “governments (derive) their just powers from the consent of the governed”; and knew what they were doing when they laid the foundations for the duties and privileges we now enjoy.

Every state employee in Maine – as I know well, having been one for many years – knows exactly where his or her authority does and does not lie. This is the oxygen of daily operations in which they think, work and act.

Where there is a question, one consults the governor’s counsel or the state Attorney General’s Office. The state budget does not exist for the governor to unilaterally grant or withhold on a whim to force someone he doesn’t like out of a position. This is not a gray area.

Citizen consent of its government is not just a once-every-four-years thing. If, in the face of power abuses, we are silent, acquiesce, go along to get along, or – God forbid – just chalk this up to “government as usual,” not only do we get what we deserve; we have also failed in our primary responsibility as citizens of a democracy.

Martha Kirkpatrick

Wilmington, Delaware