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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Progressives On the Move: Engage Maine



Democrats and Republicans are equally mystified about why a 60 vote super majority in the US Senate didn't move health care reform legislation to a definitive vote, at least not yet. I recently told a Democratic activist and leader in Augusta's Maine State House that it didn't make any sense to be a registered Democrat if the party isn't leading. Why be a Democrat when the party doesn't take a firm stand for something and stick to it?

I know state legislators who say they don't want to rock the political boat because it might mean loosing the next election. Give me a break (!) - they worry about the next election, in Maine? We live in a state with term limited legislators. Eventually, in a state with a population of only 1.2 million people, there's plenty of time for the tenacious of heart to be re-elected, given the rate of legislative turnover.

Out of this timid political re-activeness, one group bolting out of the gate to change the debate is Engage Maine. It's young, progressive, intelligent, professional and doing what no political party dares to say publicly these days. Engage Maine is standing for progressive values where others fear to tread.

In fact, Engage Maine is supporting a professional communications campaign to raise awareness about the importance of raising revenues to meet Maine's budget needs. Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and see the one, the only, the amazing - brave group of activists who dare to use the "t" word in public.

Taaaaa-daaaa!

Remember when taxes meant revenue sharing? Like, revenue sharing to improve essential government services, as well as to support social programs like long term care, public health, education and the right for every citizen to have health insurance coverage. People too quickly blame the current Great Recession on everything economically dismal these days. But, it was during the Great Depression of the 1930's when Social Security was implemented. In my opinion, the Great Recession is a Red Herring - a diversion from the social responsibility we have to make meaningful changes for the future.

Engage Maine is a re-emerging precious relic of the days when taxes meant spreading the wealth so every one's quality of life is enhanced. Rather than costing money, Engage Maine supports revenue sharing for the purposes of stimulating jobs and economic prosperity. They in Engage Maine are the future everyone talks about when we say, "Let's do it for our grandchildren".

Why fear taxes? Taxes will get America out of the debt everyone is so worked up about. Taxes will help our nation's crumbling highway infrastructure and improve our antiquated railroads. Taxes will support public health technology so people will have access to better vaccines when pandemics like the Swine Flu H1N1 unexpectedly erupt. Taxes will allow all women access to expert reproductive health care at a time when birthing babies should be a bonus to families and our aging society's progeny. In other words, taxes and the accountability about how the revenues are appropriated, will improve American lives. Want proof? Look at Singapore. Can't get there from here, you say? Well, Canada is a beautiful and good example of revenue sharing.

Of course, negative people say America doesn't want to be like Singapore or Canada. People who make these ill informed statements have obviously never been to Singapore or Canada. To believe the Singaporeans or Canadians have a lesser quality of life than Americans is preposterous. These governments require their people to pay taxes- but the value of their investments are obvious.

I congratulate the movers of Engage Maine, with the Honorable Ben Dudley, himself a former Maine legislator, in the lead. It's admirable to see a state like Maine, with the oldest population of all 50 states, engaged with an energetic progressive group of dedicated people who factually exemplify the state's motto "Dirigo" (I lead).

Perhaps Engage Maine will produce visionary leaders the likes of Franklin and Elenore Roosevelt. I'll be glad to remain a Democrat with people like Engage Maine, who stand firm against the current political status quo of ambiguity. Thank you Engage Maine.

http://www.engagemaine.org/web/

Thanks for the comments posted on this blog and to my e-mail Juliana@mainewriter.com

Comment from Andrea in Massachusettes to mainewriter: We need an Engage America!!! The state of our government with our partisan squabbling is so disappointing. Nancy, Harry, Sarah and Dick are the voices in the media and they will never choose to find common ground. Therefore, it's very difficult to move forward. Maybe Maine can lead! Andrea

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3 Comments:

Blogger Administrator said...

Well written Maine Writer. Sampled at http://mainepolitics.com

8:05 AM  
Blogger Jacques said...

Well said.

9:50 AM  
Blogger norman beaupré said...

Very well said. I'm tired of our democratic system being constantly plugged up with political manoeuvres and infighting, tired of the political parties reacting negatively to every word and move. I want a democracy that is representative of we the people, and not of political parties' wrangling about who will have the most power and most influence through publicity and the press.Let's unite and let's get engaged.

7:32 AM  

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