One of the things I learned in civics class was the value of a government made up of three branches: the executive (a president), legislative (senators and representatives) and the judicial (judges and other court officials). These three branches are supposed to ensure that there are checks and balances so that all the power is not concentrated in one place, such as happens in a country run by an emperor.

Our Maine government is modeled after the national version. We Mainers even have a similar Constitution.

Just as at the national level, we in Maine look to our executive branch (governor) for guidance, or leadership, if you will. Three things we look for in our leader are compassion, wisdom and humanity. Often times when our leaders have to make decisions, we’d like to see them exercise these three attributes. We hope the leader has compassion to accommodate, at least to some degree, the needs of people who are truly unable to help themselves for any number of reasons. We would hope that our leader reads with care, seeks advice from experts, and hears the voice of the people when presented a piece of legislation he must render a decision on. We also would hope that our leader works with all of his associates in order to make a decision that is fair and reasonable to all.

Unfortunately, Maine’s leader seems to think he is an emperor. He doesn’t seem to feel the need to exercise compassion for the helpless, the need to read or seek advice on legislation presented (the automatic veto), nor does he even respect our judicial branch, as revealed through the ongoing battle with Maine’s attorney general.

Thinking about the old fable “The Emperor had no Clothes,” I realize that our emperor does have clothes. He just lacks compassion, wisdom and humanity.

Peter P. Sirois


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