Primaries lack passion

At their best, caucuses are messy, democratic and discombobulated. You bet.

I remember a caucus in Brunswick during a snowstorm: Barack against Hillary. Snow flying, a long line waited outside the junior high. My 90-year-old Aunt Kack was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from a stroke and essentially nonverbal, but quite able through pointing and uttering word salad to make her point, entirely passionate for Hillary. My wife, Rosie, and I backed Obama.  The snow flew, the line drew back. I pushed Kack through the snow. Good cheer abided. This was a party, a Democratic Party. 

Inside, warmth, more merriment. Kack insisted on a Hillary sticker. I grabbed the arm of a similarly identified woman and asked if she would take charge. Rosie and I headed to the other side of the gym. 

Lovely chaos rained. People came out of the cold still undecided and willing to listen. Finally, we sat on the bleachers facing the other team, and somebody asked us to stand up for Obama. They counted and we sat. Then a lot of milling about and we reclaimed Kack from her Hillary handler, they too beaming. Barack won. Everyone won. We came in person, committed our time. Hugged neighbors. Disagreed and came together. 

Why do we now just vote, a solitary act, on Super Tuesday? Not super to me. What is a political party without a party?

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Dick Seymour,
Brunswick

Make D.C. a state

Right now, the hundreds of thousands of people living in the District of Columbia are being denied Congressional representation.

And this denial is no accident. D.C’s status as a district and its lack of voting power and representation is deeply rooted in racism. After the Civil War, white men in power didn’t want Black men to build power by voting, so D.C.  a place where the majority of the residents are people of color — became too much of a threat in their eyes. So Congress stripped D.C. of its ability to self-govern.

The District’s residents couldn’t participate in presidential elections at all until the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961 — just 60 years ago! And it took until 1970 for Congress to give D.C. a delegate in the House of Representatives, but she wasn’t empowered to vote on legislation. Now, in 2021, residents still can’t control their own laws or their budgets through the local representatives that they elect.
We can change all of this by making Washington, D.C. the 51st state. It would finally give D.C. long-overdue representation in the halls of Congress, allow its residents to self-govern, and begin to unravel the harmful, racist laws of our country’s past and present.

I’m urging my senators to support making D.C. a state as soon as possible.

Amanda Rhodes,
Bowdoinham

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