Most of us would probably agree that the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans is one of the major problems facing our society.

This does not just apply to Washington or Augusta, but also to us regular people. We need to relearn how to talk and listen to the other side, and stop voting for people who are divisive, unwilling to find common ground with the opposition, and have no positive vision for the future.

At a meeting for candidates in Hartland, I asked Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, why he scored lowest in the Senate on the environmental scorecard of the independent group Maine Conservation Voters. For example, LD 852, Land for Maine’s Future, a $5 million bond issue that helps protect working farms, forests and waterfronts, enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support. Thomas was one of only six senators out of 36 who voted against the bill. His reason was money, he said.

It seems a no-brainer that this $5 million would be a wonderful gift to future Mainers that otherwise are mostly inheriting problems from our generation.

This is a vision for the future that I share, apparently, with the overwhelming majority of the voters and state representatives and senators. Other exceptions, in addition to Thomas, are Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, and Ray Wallace, R-Dexter, who had the dubious distinction of a flat zero on the scorecard.

Wallace was even OK with bisphenol-A in baby bottles, although it “might cause some women to grow little beards.”

This kind of extremism cannot help us overcome the Great Divide. Let’s elect people who can talk and listen to and reason with fellow Americans of differing opinions.

Harry Akkermann


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