Candidate has ‘passion for volunteering’

To the editor,

I have known Joe Rafferty for 20 years, and when I learned he was running for State Senate I knew I’d be voting for him, despite the fact I’m a registered member of the opposite party.

Joe believes in education as a pathway to success. His commitment to bettering the lives of thousands of students in our community as a coach, educator, and mentor for over 40 years is proof of that. In that time, he has consistently led by example with a strong work ethic and a passion for volunteering, teaching that putting the needs of others ahead of your own can be incredibly rewarding.

Now more than ever we need to be represented by someone with integrity, compassion, and genuine concern for our community and its citizens. I believe in Joe’s mission to represent District 34 in the Maine State Senate, and I encourage you to cast your vote for him in November because his values likely align with your own, regardless of your political affiliation.

Shannon Dant

Kennebunk

Attention better spent on precarious professions

To the editor,

Tammy Wells’ story on Amy and David Ferris’ daily pro-police vigils in Kennebunk was completely one-sided. Wells made no reference to my frequent counter demonstrations across the street from the Ferrises in support of Black Lives Matter and the growing nationwide movement to defund the police. So much, it seems, for the “liberal” media.

And yes, I receive many supportive honks from drivers, as well. (I am occasionally joined by a comrade.)

I find the Ferrises’ right-wing, pro-cop vigils at a time when police officers across the country are under intense scrutiny for their increasingly routine murder of unarmed black people highly tone-deaf at best — a transparent display of racist bigotry at worst.

Nationwide, police have killed 164 black men and women in the last eight months, alone. The recent police murders of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor have led to massive protests throughout the country, including here in Kennebunk. While the officers involved in these racist murders invariably face little to no criminal convictions, the largely peaceful protesters have been met with excessive violence by frighteningly militarized police forces and National Guardsmen.

These multi-racial protests have been some of the largest civil rights demonstrations in recent history. They come at a time of intense economic inequality not seen since the Great Depression, and a staggering unemployment rate. Combine these economic factors with a ruling class that has proven itself utterly incapable of responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is no wonder why working-class people have taken to streets to express their outrage.

It is under this nationwide backdrop, and growing calls to defund the police, that David and Amy Ferris urge motorists to “thank” members of the Kennebunk Police Department. “Thank” them for what, exactl? What have Police Chief Robert MacKenzie and members of the KPD done to publicly and forcefully denounce the on-going police killings of unarmed African Americans? Precious little so far as I can tell.

Yet the warped narrative that right-wing police apologists like the Ferrises present is one in which law enforcement officers are the ones being brutalized. It is, indeed, a stunning but seemingly effective public relations campaign that has essentially turned the oppressors into the oppressed.

Do not be misled. The near-daily police murders of unarmed black citizens are not due to the “rogue” actions of a few “bad apples” as the talking heads on the capitalist media would have us believe. Racism, violence, and authoritarianism are baked into the DNA of law enforcement. The entire apple cart is rotten to the core. It must be overturned and replaced with something radically different.

Contemporary policing (which has its roots in the slave patrol militias of the 19th century) has little to do with “serving and protecting” working-class people. The police exist to protect the capitalist system. The cops are essentially the ruling class’s hired guards. They exist to maintain racial hierarchies, guard the bourgeoisie’s wealth, and to crush labor union strikes. Indeed, the United States has had the bloodiest, most violent labor battles of the industrialized world.

There is, furthermore, a long and disturbing history of local police forces working both covertly and openly with white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. A classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide obtained by The Intercept in 2015 documents this cozy relationship between law enforcement and white supremacist groups. The report states that, “… domestic terrorist investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”

In 2016, the vast majority of working police officers, 84 percent, supported Donald Trump for president. That percentage is unlikely to change this year.

Those of us committed to eradicating systemic racism in our lifetime must radically re-envision the institution of law enforcement. The movement to defund the police aims to divert money away from the bloated, wasteful police and military-spending budgets, and redirect those funds toward more humane efforts. By investing in our towns and cities, we could potentially eliminate the poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and economic injustice that form the roots of most criminal activity.

We must, likewise, end this unnerving cultural insistence of lavishing praise on any person in a uniform. Why don’t the Ferrises turn their attention to Kennebunk’s teachers, nurses or retail workers? These professions were already economically precarious long before the coronavirus pandemic — with the latter group being notoriously difficult to unionize. COVID-19 has now turned these jobs into a literal matter of life or death for many workers.

George Orwell once referred to the policeman as the “natural enemy” of the worker. And, when witnessing a conflict between the two, he noted, “I do not need to ask myself which side I am on.”

Adam Marletta

Kennebunk

Candidate has ‘ability to listen’

To the editor,

It is with great pleasure and pride that I submit this letter of endorsement for my husband, Joe Rafferty, as he seeks the democratic senate seat for Maine District 34. Joe and I have been married 37 years, raised three daughters and currently reside in Kennebunk.

Knowing Joe for 40-plus years I can attest that one of the strongest qualities he will bring to Augusta is his ability to listen and work in a bipartisan and respectful manner.

His integrity and conscientiousness have always guided him to work as hard as he can and to do the best job he can. As a chief negotiator, he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of teachers, explicitly by focusing on healthcare issues. Healthcare is an issue that is near to his heart. Many Mainers lack access to affordable healthcare. If Joe is lucky enough to serve the people of District 34, his top priority will be to work toward ensuring expanded access to affordable healthcare for all Mainers.

The impact of COVID-19 has been acutely felt in our economy throughout areas of southern Maine. The work ahead will take a dedicated, untiring, full-time person with perseverance that considers the unique needs of all the towns that make up District 34. It requires a senator able and willing to dedicate 100 percent focus on a sustainable and effective recovery plan taking into account the special needs of our tourism-based economy.

The needs of Acton, Berwick, Kennebunk, Lebanon, North Berwick, and Wells may differ, but what they all have in common is the need for a clear voice in Augusta, and I believe that is Joe Rafferty.

I know he will take his passion to be of service to others to Augusta and be involved in committee work that will benefit his constituents of District 34. I urge you to cast your vote for Joe.

Norma Nardone

Kennebunk

And yet they cheer

To the editor,

Think way back, is there anyone or anything he has not mocked? Do you recall him on national television imitating The New York Times reporter who suffered from tremors? Surely, his mother taught him better than that.

Is there any norm he has not violated, any liberty he has not taken? And yet they cheer. They wear their red caps and beat their chests as if this man — to whom 200,000 dead mean nothing — will be ever faithful to them. He is their salvation.

He makes our very way of life suspect, routinely attacking, sowing doubt: public health agencies, national security and intelligence services, the justice department, environmental and economic interests, international alliances. He has managed to put them all back on their heels, trumpeting to his supporters that there is only one truth, and it flows from him.

Now it’s the upcoming election: “Rigged if I don’t win” and the peaceful transfer of power: “We’ll have to see. Get rid of the mail-in ballots and it will be a continuation of power.” And yet they cheer.

He defends those who would destroy us, this man for whom a lie to serve his own purposes is cast as virtue. And yet they cheer.

The red caps fit so well, warm and secure. He may be a madman, they whisper in secret, but he is our madman. And so it is until the madman, a capricious beast, has a change of heart.

Where will they turn then?

John Forssen

Kennebunk

Debate was a cage fight

To the editor,

The cage fight presidential debate Tuesday where a 74-year-old white man who occupies the White House refused to denounce white supremacists echoes the Know Nothing period of the mid-19th century.

Abraham Lincoln denounced the racists of his era in searing language: “Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.”

Trump’s coded language of hate has deep roots back to his New York real estate dealings. Tuesday night’s performance was but another display of the ancient proverb: it’s an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Voters can clean the fouled nest Nov. 3.

Robert Lyons

Kennebunk

Campaign signs stolen

To the editor,

I read with interest one of your recent letters to the editor. I’ve never been politically active, but have been following politics closely.

Recently, I was asked to help put out some Trump 2020 signs, which I reluctantly decided to do. I only put out 10 signs and although I expected to have a few taken, I didn’t expect four of 10 to be gone within 24 hours. Others have been taken or destroyed since.

It created a strange combination of emotions, an attack on my First Amendment rights, a sense of anger because someone stole my personal property (I paid for the signs), and a bitterness of Democrats because there were so many signs out that supported their party that were not touched.

In speaking to another friend who was also putting out signs, he was not at all surprised and said he had already lost more than 60 of them. One has only to drive around the Kennebunks to see the abundance of one party’s signs vs. the other and wonder why. Anyone can draw their own conclusions.

Bill Case
Kennebunkport