When we lay claim to the motto, posted at our southern border, “Maine: The Way Life Should Be,” we’re bound to fall a bit short. The evidence confronts us every day in the mothers and fathers who scrape to stay one paycheck ahead of real bad news, or the kids who get the message early on that certain dreams are not meant for them, or those on minimal incomes who are forced to make choices between health care and immediate daily necessities. Those of us with a bit more breathing room should forgive those residents in all our towns and cities who might miss the relevance of our proud motto to their lives.
So I feel grateful that our current governor and his administration have not lost sight of the ground level realities behind the sign. In a time when our federal administration seems hell-bent on killing any programs that do not favor corporate interests and the most well to do – and in the process cynically shrinking funding to state and local governments intended to relieve the plight of the less fortunate – trying to make do at the local and state levels of government is a thankless challenge. But Gov. Baldacci has had the grit, the passion and the stamina to stand for his principles and to put the well-being of the people of his state above political advantage.
Whatever my own disagreements with some of his positions, I’m convinced that he has not lost touch with his truest instincts and that he still does strive, in a manner of refreshingly “old fashioned,” to serve the people of his state, including, and especially, the least fortunate among us.
For that reason, he has earned my respect, and my vote.