Last month, a known white nationalist organization sent unsolicited mailings to two Maine Democratic county committee volunteer groups. Similar mailings were sent to at least eight Democratic lawmakers the month prior. At the time, Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross denounced the mailings: “We have zero tolerance for white nationalist groups’ behavior or intimidation.”

As shocking as it might seem, this wasn’t the first time extreme and divisive messaging has appeared in Maine.

For years, a small minority of extreme right-wing activists and politicians has been aggressively promoting an agenda that seeks to demonize some of the most vulnerable members of our community, including recent immigrants and LGBTQ Mainers. We fear that not only are these talking points slowly making their way into normal political discourse, but also that white nationalist, homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic rhetoric is slowly becoming routine and even expected. 

• Last month, about two dozen members of a neo-Nazi group marched in downtown Portland, displaying Nazi salutes and banners with white nationalist slogans. 

• Fox News has recently given a public platform to individuals responsible for spreading hateful rhetoric and right-wing conspiracy theories online and in Maine communities. 

• Across the country and here in Maine, right-wing politicians have proposed and enacted legislation to make it increasingly difficult for transgender youth to access the services and health care they need to live a normal, happy life. 


• And last year, at the Maine Republican Convention, attendees voted to continue to oppose same-sex marriage in Maine, despite approval by Maine voters in 2012, a 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming the rights of same-sex couples nationally and now a bipartisan federal law further codifying that decision. 

We know what it’s like to feel unwelcome, simply because one fundamental aspect of who we are marks us as “different.” We know what it’s like to be a political target. And we know what it’s like to spend years fighting for basic rights for our families, our communities and ourselves.

As much as we wish it wasn’t necessary, we will continue to fight for the rights of all Mainers because we firmly believe that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation or their gender identity, should be able to find a home here in Maine, free of fear and persecution.  

We cannot stand by and allow this divisive and inflammatory rhetoric to become commonplace, nor will we allow our friends and neighbors to become political targets. Our freedoms are hard won, and we will not allow them to be taken away without a fight. We are speaking out today to reassure Mainers of all backgrounds that they belong here in our state. Hatred and bigotry do not. 

Instead of advocating to ban books, let’s work together to create a better school environment for students and teachers alike. Instead of demeaning Black Mainers, Mainers of color and new Mainers, let’s consider opportunities to increase access to affordable health care, to invest in long-term housing solutions and to lower costs for the benefit of all Mainers. Let’s spend our energy together to make sure that all who live here and come here feel like they belong here.  

The Maine Democratic Party is committed to speaking out against hatred in all forms, wherever it crops up. But this duty cannot fall to us alone. We call on you, reader, on reporters, editors, activists and pundits – it’s up to all of us to speak out against those who seek to divide us. There’s no place for hate in Maine. It’s up to all of us to make sure of that fact.

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