Charles Lawton’s Sept. 5 column (“Maine needs to shed two myths to transform its economy“) tries to dispel the myth that there are two Maines but is unsuccessful, partly because the two-Maine claim is more about culture than economics. Northern Maine is rural, conservative and mostly Republican. Southern Maine is more urban, liberal and mostly Democratic.

Maine is a microcosm for America and the two Americas. Rural America is more conservative and mostly Republican. Urban America is more liberal and mostly Democratic.

The problem in Maine and in America is the growing division between the urban side and the rural side. It is as if two separate countries (or states) are forming.

The politicians aren’t helping. Democrats tend to ignore rural America and concentrate on urban America, which is more receptive to Democratic liberalism. Republicans use urban America as the scapegoat for all of the problems in America when they appeal to rural conservatives, as if “liberalism” were a dirty word.

Our politicians would serve us better if they understood better that rural America and urban America are just two distinct parts of one whole. Urban America needs rural America for food, recreation, raw materials, energy, manufacturing and the caution of conservatism. Rural America needs urban America for banking, politics, centers of commerce and the need for new ideas.

Congress must find solutions that help both parts of America. The North American Free Trade Agreement is a great example. The Trump administration wants to fix the manufacturing side of NAFTA, but it will be at the expense of U.S. farmers who now profit from NAFTA. U.S. manufacturing needs fixing, but NAFTA is the wrong approach.

The first party that understands the merits of serving both sides of the same coin will become the next dominant party. Neither party seems to be on the right track.

Peter Konieczko