I really should be sticking to my favored subjects, pretty houses, pretty gardens, pretty rooms, but smoke is coming out my ears, and an excellent editorial in today’s Times (click HERE) is fanning the flames. Not incidentally, I accompanied my friend Sidekick to a children’s Cake Party at the local library today. If my tone gets a bit strident, it is not only because I feel passionately about what I’m about to reveal, but I may be on a bit of a sugar high, having consumed pieces of a number of cakes named for children’s books, including a Harold and the Purple Crayon Cake (blueberries), and of course, Madelines…
Maine has always–mostly always–been a sensible state politically. It really never mattered much if the legislature or Governor were Republican or Democrat—there was always enough common sense to keep things level, and enough common cause to effect compromise. In the last few months madness has overtaken us. A man who could not possibly have been elected Governor at any other time in our history caught a wave, and rode in to victory thanks to a split in the vote created by an Independent and a Democratic candidate, neither of whom were able to separately gather enough of the much larger moderate vote to win, leaving this man in charge. There’s no nice way to put it: The man is a mean spirited buffoon. Four years ago he couldn’t even have gotten the nomination, and yet, here he is, and his performance to date is jaw dropping and hair-raising—Rodney Dangerfield goes to the State House, without the funny.
|Panels from the offending mural, painted by Judy Taylor, depicting scenes from Maine’s labor history.|
His stance is pro-business, with which in theory one has no argument. Maine is a poor state, jobs are scarce and low paying. Labor Unions are among the Governor’s bogeymen. I have no oar in that argument, but his method is bizarre in the extreme. Formerly the president of Marden’s Surplus and Salvage, a store as iconic as L.L. Bean (and where almost all Mainer’s shop for bargains), he is used to running his show—unpleasantly. Most recently, he decreed that a 2008 mural depicting the history of the Labor movement in Maine be removed from the Maine Department of Labor headquarters (that’s right, Labor), because it is offensive to a pro-business environment. This opinion comes, apparently, from letters from several business leaders, and one anonymous fax, which stated that the mural was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.” Truly. I cannot make this stuff up. Not satisfied with this edict, it was followed up with the announcement that the conference rooms at the Department of Labor, currently named for labor heroes including Maine’s own Frances Perkins of Newcastle, who was Secretary of Labor under Franklin Roosevelt. Oh, and did I mention the Governor’s announcement came on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire? Irony, sweet irony.
|Frances Perkins stands behind President Roosevelt as he signs the Labor Relations Act|
Although undeniably liberal by inclination, I respect the right of others to be conservative, even see it as part of the necessary order of checks and balances—but I do not extend this respect to willful, proud, and mean stupidity manifesting itself in half baked concepts.
In other news from Maine, there is also a movement afoot in the state legislature to make the Whoopie Pie the official Maine Treat (for more on that, click HERE). To help publicize this initiative, a 1,000 pound (actually 1,067 pound) whoopie pie was baked. Having served its purpose, It will now be cut up and sent to our troops overseas. This campaign going forth while the Governor’s budget proposes cutting medicare subsidies for the poorest elderly, and Olympia Snowe, putting pressure from the tea party (I refuse to capitalize it) ahead of the interests of her constituency, has voted for a cut in Home heating subsidies for the poor. I invite anyone who indulges in the rhetoric of how the poor are milking the system to come to Maine in February and see the house trailers and shacks in the back country, so they can see first hand how effectively these people are milking the system for their lives of luxury. People who think like that should be ashamed, very ashamed. As ashamed, in fact, as I am of our embarrassing governor, who also recently told the NAACP that they could ‘kiss my butt’ when he refused to lunch with representatives of that organization.
|The top being put on the 1,000 pound Whoopie Pie. (AP photo, Cheryl Senter, via Bangor Daily News)
For the Dilettante on Whoopie Pies, click HERE
For the Governor on ABC news click HERE. We are just so proud. Not.