I am suspicious of folks who claim to represent and lead me. On the other hand, I understand that we really do need representatives and leaders of clear vision and good will, to help us avoid chaos, and maintain some order and a sense of normalcy. So, when I heard we’re a deeply divided melting pot, I found it worrisome.

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, pounds his gavel on the first day of the second session of the 129th legislature on Jan. 8, 2020 in the Maine State House in Augusta. Staff photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

You’ve heard the old maxim: United we stand, and divided we fall, and I’m sure that nobody wants to do the falling part right away. But there’s great hope for the melting pot because we talk things out.

Our system of government does not assume that any two individual people are identical, or that they will agree on anything, but does assume that, after a sometimes extended period of civilized or even heated public discussion, the majority can pretty much decide on what is best for themselves and what is best for everybody else, too. We‘re all equal, but not identical.

That’s why we have two legislative chambers with a lot of posturing and blather, noisy public electoral campaigns, the guaranteed freedom of speech (to which nobody is required to listen), freedom of the press (which nobody is required to read), and freedom of assembly (for a discussion, a march or a picnic). Voting clears the air. That’s why we vote, rather than asking a king, a queen or a dictator to choose for us what we’re going to do for ourselves, or to each other.

There are some I often disagree with, and I also find a smaller number whose opinions I sort of like. But that’s not the end of the world. Not to worry. Our government, and our melting pot, both deeply divided, have lasted more than 200 years and show every indication of going another 200. Perhaps in the same way that a bundle of straws is hard to break, a bundle of divisions is hard to break, too.

We are united, and divided we stand.

Orrin Frink is a Kennebunkport resident. He can be reached at [email protected]

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