Maine has now, unfortunately, joined the national cultural, political phenomenon of not remembering to take a deep breath, at least once and awhile, before we speak or act. We had managed to insulate ourselves from this silliness for a long time, but difficult and troubling changes in how we live, work and govern, overlaid with our new high speed, unfiltered communication systems and associated five minute news cycle, are combining to push us to act or talk first and exercise our brains and historical understanding some time later.
From the perspective of an academic background in American and New England Studies (MA from USM), forty years working in public finance in Maine, and on political campaigns starting with George Mitchell’s gubernatorial campaign I will try to identify some of the the cultural and historical underpinnings on issues and discussions taking place here in Maine as well on national issues and discussions that will or should have an impact on our lives in Maine.
About the author
My professional career has been involved in bringing to Maine the financial capital to build our infrastructure of housing, schools, roads, hospitals, colleges, water and sewer districts. As Executive Director of four independent state authorities I was charged with putting together public financing for hundreds of infrastructure projects across the State.
In a non-sequitur, my academic background is entirely in American and New England History. I obtained my Masters Degree from the now sadly defunct American and New England Studies graduate program at USM.
My perspective on the governmental, political and cultural questions I write about is as an historian who worked in a financial role in a part of Maine government. My belief is that the left wing crazies and the right wing “wingnuts” hear little or nothing outside their own echo chambers, but that there is an important part of Maine, and indeed the country, that wants to participate in reasoned, civil yet rigorous discussion about what we can do to make Maine and our country a better place for all of us. I want to be part of that discussion. I want all of us to take a deep breath and think about what we can do and not just react to what is happening.
Since I originally wrote that introduction to this blog, Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States and reasoned discussion of any national issue has become significantly more difficult and civility in public discussion harder to pursue. Reason is impossible in a land based on alternative facts and civility gets shouted down in the cacophony of voices saying, “I am always right and if you disagree with me you are always wrong.” Mr. Trump seems to have stepped outside the right wing “wingnut” and left wing “crazy” goal posts of political discussion. This makes civic discussion more difficult and more important.