Last fall’s elections were, in one word, ominous. Democrats lost dramatically, and thoughtful Republicans were caught up in their party’s relentless deluge of reality-show bombast. A loss for many, like me, who grew up in a strong, yet compassionate country we believe is still the greatest country imaginable (except Ireland).

But lately, we seem to be a country greatly conflicted, confused, and bitterly cynical. The world observes our callous, nasty, self-defeating behavior, and wonders what ails us. I certainly do. We wrestle, trying to find our footing and the leverage to make us whole and respectful again, much less civil. We employ different strategies, maneuvers and motivations, and we have different ways of looking at the same problem. We should work them out as “opponents,” not “enemies.”

Maine’s long endured the uncouth transgressions of common decency, continuously spewed by a deranged governor. But we cannot allow, nor ill afford a similar, sordid sideshow to illuminate the national and international stage. Mindless tweets, insults, “alternative facts,” draconian health care measures, bolstering a military budget already surpassing the combined total of all other civilized countries. This doesn’t make America great; it makes America grotesque.

We enforce travel bans and build walls to thwart outside harm when we’re so clearly harming ourselves from within. I truly fear our country is sliding into an abysmal abyss that may take decades to crawl out of. Rather than countering “radical Islamic terrorism,” we might consider confronting “radical domestic bedlam.” And real soon.

Buddy Doyle

Gardiner

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