Cry me a river, Question 1 supporters

So in the inanity that has become our political discourse, I am taking considerable heat for suggesting the $1.3 million raised and spent supporting Question 1 in a matter of a few months is a ginormous waste of too much money.

Those most disturbed by this assertion are sure that they can convince me otherwise. None have succeeded so far.  In case anyone else is interested in trying, I have two things to say, and my apologies up front for being so confrontational, but,

Bring it on. I suggested that folks interested in donating large sums of money in Maine should invest those funds carefully and conscientiously in the face of such dire need in our state. This suggestion is called “advocating for the poor.” I would think that liberals, of all people, would recognize that action.

Stock photo

Stock photo

And the idea that somehow this legislation will manifest over time to generate political leadership that will uplift the needy is malarkey. Possible? Yes. Bloody likely in the near future? No.

The needy in Maine need real help now, not theoretical political hope somewhere down the road. We have homeless families and children who got to bed hungry all over our state. We have families barely hanging on to a low quality of life, and they see little or no hope on the horizon. We have addicts, the mentally ill, and disabled populations floundering in need of real care and treatment.

So much suffering.

The needy in Maine need food, adequate housing, good health and opportunity. They need jobs that cover bills after forty hours. They need these things now.

Given a sound economy and less dire need, the idea of clean elections and campaign finance are laudable goals to work toward. They are even laudable goals to work toward now — just not on such a costly scale, both in terms of the campaign itself and the potential economic ramifications of funding clean elections in a way that might further compromise the business climate in our economically challenged state.

Cry me a river. I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t relish hurting the feelings of well-intended people, even some I know and respect. But a little harshness could go a long way toward helping liberals focus their collective voice to actually reflect the priorities they profess to espouse. Being poor in Maine is a pretty harsh existence, and hurt feelings are part of the daily routine.

Crying is a pretty regular thing, too, so welcome to my world. My position on this issue is not just theoretical. I’ve worked with the poor. I’ve actually also been poor and trying to raise children for the better part of two decades.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the stars by which I chart my course. He said that “now is always the time to do what is right.” As long as so many Mainers are suffering for want of some pretty basic things, I’ll always speak up on their behalf. As long as I know there are people suffering all around me, I have no problem asking the financially secure and the affluent to spend their donation dollars carefully.

As long as I know there are children going to bed hungry, I will always speak up on their behalf. It’s the right thing to do.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.