Sen. Roger Katz and a number of other Republicans have expressed dismay over Gov. Paul LePage’s behavior — and rightfully so.

In 2008, I contributed a monthly political column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel taking the Democratic position vs. then-mayor of Waterville LePage’s Republican view.

I enjoyed debating LePage on topics suggested by our editor. I’ve always admired those who offer like or differing opinions on issues both current and controversial. I believe it is our right, our privilege and certainly our responsibility to participate in civil and thoughtful public discourse.

For example, I recently voiced an opinion supporting the governor’s decision to hire his daughter. I felt this young woman deserved a chance. It was her father’s prerogative to extend the offer and her choice to accept it. I predicted she probably wouldn’t show up late or take Fridays off.

I mused that the LePage administration was akin to going to the dentist. We hadn’t brushed or flossed in years, and it was time Maine to open wide, say “ahhh” and confront deficiencies with courage and conviction.

Recently, many checked in on the whoopie pie flap. I labeled this product “junk food,” while a nutritionist argued for it’s chocolatey nutritional value. Columnist George Smith was convinced it was “good for him.” See? Civil public discourse — laced with a bit of humor. Apparently, said pie has been relegated to a state “snack” or “treat.” Terrific! We moved on.


In my opinion, however, we moved on to an ill-conceived, larcenous act — LePage’s decision to remove the now-famous labor murals to a “secret” location.

Rather than promoting a robust business climate, the removal of the murals succeeded only to incite ire and drive a deeper wedge between the governor and numerous Mainers (whom he dubbed “idiots”) who feel, as I do (and I’ll wager more than eight Republican senators), that those murals rightfully belong to the people of Maine.

The offending imagery quickly became fodder for national ridicule. It seemed to some the only difference between Maine and Mayberry is that Andy and Barney worked in a climate where they were able to work together to get things done.

Of that 38 percent of Mainers who voted for Le Page last November, I wonder how many would vote the same way today?

I wonder how many are laborers? How many have calluses on their hands, or grease under their fingernails as they hold this newspaper? How many went to school or on to college because somebody else went to work. How many will punch a time clock today, work a graveyard shift or don a uniform?

Here’s a tough one: How many, since November, have been foreclosed on — not by a reputable Maine-based bank — but by some scumbag outfit whose footprint is easily traceable all the way to Wall Street? Of those who are enjoying job security and benefits — such as those toiling at the Maine Heritage Foundation — how many have ever lifted anything heavier than a pen?


This mural thing isn’t going away — and shouldn’t. Senators Katz, Brian Langley, Tom Saviello, Earle McCormick, et al. — and a host of others who should have had the courage to add their names to that op-ed, need now to stand up in unison to say, “Enough!”

I will say it, too: “Enough!”

In my opinion, LePage owes the people of Maine an apology, and he should return those murals, forthwith. He may be short-tempered and say brash — even hurtful things — on occasion.

I’ve been there; I’ve done that. LePage and I are both as flawed as God intended us to be.

It’s our responsibility to accept that — and the consequences — by asking forgiveness and humbling ourselves now and then.

I envy LePage’s opportunity to make amends — to do the right thing. His daughter might help by asking him to sit down over coffee and begin with, “Uh, Dad.”

It would be her prerogative to make the offer — and the governor’s choice to take it.

Buddy Doyle is a designer, photographer, writer and fun-at-all-costs grandfather residing in Gardiner. He is married to his high school sweetheart, with whom he reconvened with 35 years later, and considers the wait well worth it.

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