To the Editor:
It seems the political tide has turned in Maine; may the nation soon follow. To judge from the evidence of recent referenda and electoral results, our normally sensible Maine center has been shocked back to a more moderating posture – and perhaps even drawn slightly to the left.
Many, I suspect, have been turned off by the Circus of Dysfunction orchestrated by the Republican Party leadership, locally and nationally, and dramatically paraded before the public virtually every night in the bizarre bloodlettings that typify the televised debates among Republican presidential hopefuls.
The recent shift that saw Democrat Chris Johnson victorious in a by-election for the Maine Senate, over a well-respected Republican moderate, may also reflect a recalculation among some thoughtful Independent and Republican voters that the mean spirited political program pursued in Augusta, and the strategy of legislative gridlock advocated by Republican members who dominate the House of Representatives may not reflect the only available options to put before the American people.
For many voters the flirtation with the Tea Party’s message of panic appears to be over. Among the young especially the much more positive message of the Occupy Movement has restored a sense of civil accountability, and a sober realization that neither current policy nor planning adequately addresses the economic and environmental challenges our children and grandchildren will soon be forced to confront.
I have my criticisms of the Obama Administration, from the left, not the right, not least the disastrous colonial-style war in Afghanistan, which, as a disabled veteran who experienced a similar dirty war in Vietnam, I opposed from the start.
Yet the idea of turning over the White House keys to one of the current Republican frontrunners, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, both incapable of articulating a coherent vision for the country that isn’t either divisive or backward looking, is too depressing to contemplate. The fanaticism both these men advocate in the Culture Wars, and their embrace of the interests of Wall Street and the so-called one percent to the exclusion of the overwhelming majority of Middle Americans, will hopefully give much of the electorate pause when they enter the voting booths next November.
With Barack Obama’s return, the nation will be led for the next four years by a man who may be in a position to show more spunk than his first term permitted, especially if the Democrats recapture the House, or, alternately, the Republicans decide to become legislators instead of obstructionists.
In order to protect our precious social services and safety nets, raise our educational standards, and replace our crumbling infrastructure, the most important first step and job stimulating measure on Obama’s agenda must be to eliminate the tax breaks for the wealthiest, and especially to get renters like Romney who live on their investments, to pay their fair share.
Beyond that there is much good Obama may yet accomplish, but we must keep his feet to the fire.
Michael Uhl, PhD, Walpole