For those of you sold on Maine as "vacationland" or "the way life should be", where you come when the weather's nice, leave the world behind, and live in a time warp fantasy of The Way Life Used to Be, let me clue you in: the nascent police state is alive and well in Vacationland. The local paper informs me of a practice recently adopted in the local public high schools: the cops storm in unannounced (neither teachers nor students are informed in advance) at the request of the local principal (with a self-described penchant for "discipline"), make everyone empty their locker and place all personal items in the hallway, take off their shoes and coats, whereupon the cops let loose the Dogs of Dope upon the school, all to see if anyone is "carrying". And the result of this latest Fourth Amendment (probable cause) infringement? A pack of cigarettes. Well, I know I feel a whole lot safer knowing that one Rockland High student won't get his nicotine fix or subject other students to such wicked temptation. And the kicker? The kids just took it, teachers too. No one, according to the neofascist principal, complained.
This week in Lewiston, students attempted to express their solidarity with the thousands of folks protesting trigger-happy police brutality by displaying a poster in the school with the hashtag Blacklivesmatter and were prohibited from doing so. They were instructed to change the poster so it read #Alllivesmatter, as if recent killings of black young men didn't reflect a blatant police perspective that targeted black lives; as if that wasn't the effing point. The Nation in Denial. If all lives mattered to the police (and to the public at large), none of this would be an issue. The Lewiston Superintendent's move is another example of political correctness stood on its head.
Then there are the results of a recount (of the recount) in Maine's District 25 election for the state house. It's looking like the Maine Secretary of State has some 'splainin' to do, as well as some apoligizin' to the good people of Long Island, Maine. Some votes were twice counted, yes, that's right, and, um, the total turned out to be more folks than are registered to vote on Long Island, ME. Smell like fish to you? And guess who benefitted from these shenanigans? Need I say it, the Republican candidate. You know, the party that's always railing about Voter Fraud? The Republican- majority election committee, so confident were they of victory, insisted on swearing their gal in before the recount results were clear. Long story short, the Dems cry foul, end up calling for second recount, despite the right wing opposition whining, like they always do when folks insist on availing themselves of any recourse to which the law entitles them when something's rotten in Denmark. Seems that 21 measly votes were counted twice; first time in the first packet of ballots, then that 21 got shifted to the last packet, and counted again. Finale? Dem won by 7 measly votes. Seven.
My first reaction was, Yay, Dems, you finally stood up for something. Which immediately took my mind back to 2000, and Mr. Gore's cave-in to the Bush Supreme Court Junta. Wimp. Hey, Not my circus, not my monkeys. I voted for Ralph. But is there still anyone out there who doesn't think we'd be livin' in a different world today if we'd all taken to the streets with pitchforks after that Judicial Coup d'Etat in 2000 and Just Said NO! "Count every vote!"?
Different world, people. Different world. No Iraq, Kyoto Treaty a done deal, Universal Health Care?
Maybe. Maybe not. But better, for sure. Better, and that's something.
So next time you brag about not voting, like you're above that or something, or think it doesn't affect you, think about the folks in Long Island, Maine. Seven votes made a difference; and those seven votes could make more of a difference than you imagine.