I was saddened to learn about the accidental death of 1967 Bowdoin classmate Mike Harmon, a longtime columnist and former editor for your newspaper.

I learned about Mike’s passing from another classmate, Tom Allen, who described him as a “thoughtful, talented, kind person who encouraged constructive debates.” Tom is a Democrat and a former congressman and mayor of Portland. He mentioned that his opinions often differed from Mike’s, but they could discuss those differences and have a dialogue.

I am a middle-of-the-road independent, and often disagree with what I read or watch from either the left or right. But columnists like Mike are invaluable in keeping our free-speech rights alive and learning tolerance for viewpoints that we don’t always agree with.

I hadn’t had the pleasure of talking to Mike Harmon since we graduated, but I enjoyed his columns for boldly expressing his opinions and daring to be politically incorrect. Our country needs open debate and compromise to move ahead, and I hope the Portland Press Herald will do its part in replacing his conservative views on your editorial page.

Bert Kendall


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