I was taken back by the centerpiece front-page headline in the Jan. 5 Portland Press Herald, “Pot dispensaries key funders of Mills inauguration.”

My wife and I attended the celebration of Janet Mills assuming the duties of governor of our state. The event showcased the diversity of talents, music and ethnicities we are now privileged to have in Maine. The musicians included Burundi drummers, a cappella singers from the University of Maine, children, some amazing bands and Paul Stookey as the surprise of the evening.

I have never been in a place where so many people were so happy. There were tuxedos, ball gowns, kilts, suits and casual clothes; farmers, lobstermen and business owners; young and old; longtime residents and recent arrivals. The food was from all over Maine and was fantastic. The night was a celebration of inclusion, family and welcoming home. To dwell only on a group that funded 19 percent of the inauguration totally misses the point, is sensational, not balanced journalism, and only serves to divide us further.

We need to be one people, one family in the state of Maine, and that was part of Janet’s message. For the Press Herald to completely miss the point, in the front section of last Saturday’s edition, is divisive and irresponsible.

We have too many forces that would separate us into “us and them,” too many people who thrive on conflict and division, too many battles and not enough peacemaking, too many standoffs and too little compromise. To fan these flames does nothing to advance the quality of life in Maine, and we are very disappointed.

It seems like no one from the Press Herald attended the gala, based on the coverage offered in the next day’s paper.

Joseph and Mary Louise Bates