Gordon Downie died Oct. 17. He was a music superstar in Canada, just a few miles beyond my afternoon view of Kennebago Lake and West Kennebago Mountain. He was a national icon as the lead singer of the band Tragically Hip. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was moved to tears as he spoke in the Canadian Parliament about his friend’s passing. CBC Radio offered a two-hour special Oct. 18 on his life, music and art.

At my back is the rest of Maine and my country. We don’t do two-hour specials on departed musicians. We don’t cry, here, in public life. It’s considered a sign of weakness – a flaw that has sidetracked the presidential aspirations of great Americans.

We’re tough. We have a war on crime (incarcerating more of our people than any other nation in the world); a war on drugs (treating heroin and opiate addiction as a crime); a war on terrorism (killing thousands upon thousands of innocent citizens, in countries half a world away from us in thousands upon thousands of bombing sorties over 17 years – and counting); and other wars.

We are not crafting a health care system; we are unraveling it for those most in need of it. We are not tackling the rebuilding of our crumbling national infrastructure. We are reducing national support for public schools in favor of some unclear direction captured in the words “choice,” “vouchers” and “charter schools.”

The U.S. Navy is paying $4 billion per ship, while seeking to build a Navy with 80 more ships than the 275 we now have. And we are redesigning our tax laws to give more breaks to corporations, whose stocks are soaring in the midst of a historic American stock market surge.

I know this sounds like a typical liberal’s rant. It’s not. I’m crying here. I just don’t understand what’s going on. It’s so very embarrassing. So tragically hip.

Nate Bowditch

Westport Island