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  Letters to the Editor  


In the movie About Schmidt, the character played by Kathy Bates is a bit whacky, but on the whole a caring person. Normally, a nice woman with an insatiable sex drive getting into a hot tub with a man is a cause for increased heart rate. On the night I saw the film, the audience laughed at what awaited Warren Schmidt. Nothing else in the film explains this laughter except Bates being middle-aged and over-middle-weight. The laughter reveals this society’s prejudices against the idea of women outside the " accepted " physical norms as sexual. This paper branding Bates a " monster of the deep " (film pages, Jan. 24, page 36) reveals that its editors share those prejudices.

Seth Berner


Gays Okay

I read with surprise Tony Giampetruzzi’s essay in the Jan. 31 Portland Phoenix on the state of things gay in Maine ( " Where have all the gays gone? " ). I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject, but as one of the leaders of Westbrook’s gay-rights campaign, I have first-hand information about the political and organizing vitality of both the Maine Lesbian Gay Political Alliance (MLGPA) and the Maine SpeakOut Project.

Contrary to Giampetruzzi’s insinuation that MLGPA had little or no role in our campaign in Westbrook, your readers should know that MLGPA gave us money (we paid them back), they gave us invaluable political and tactical consulting and support, and they gave us volunteers. Maggie Allen, Rick Galena, and Betsy Smith were marvelous allies to us. While true that Westbrook people put the overwhelming majority of hours into this strenuous campaign, the vote was so close (we won by 187 votes of 6500 cast) that I believe that absent MLGPA’s not inconsiderable support, we might not have won.

Similarly, Scott Robbe and the Maine SpeakOut Project committed valuable time and effort in our campaign, introducing voters to gay and lesbian people who told their own profound stories of what it is like to be gay or lesbian in Maine. I believe that personal connection with people can be transformative, and so believe that SpeakOut had an impact on our campaign as well.

Contrary to Mr. Giampetruzzi’s contentions, my belief is that the political and organizing element of Maine’s gay and lesbian community is alive and very, very strong.

Mike Miles


Help Bush 1

Now with the third or fourth go-round of inspectors in Iraq and UN security council meetings, why don’t we fess up; the reason we want to disarm Saddam is so we can depose Saddam. We’d really like to own Iraq and Saddam is in the way. He sits on one third of the world’s oil and realized he was toast right from the beginning . . . smart man that he is. And so the deadly stale-mate continues.

Bush, I suggest you write an open letter to Saddam:

Dear mister despot Saddam,

Please give up! Yes, please give up your palaces, police force, your mistress, and oil, and of course those weapons of mass destruction — we want all of it. In fact, we want your whole country! So be a gentleman and step aside. You don’t have to worry . . . the same way we didn’t kill bin Laden we won’t kill you. We’ll leave that to the press. So better clean up your act before we invade, or leave the evidence behind so posterity will believe you the ultimate in bad guys.


George W. Bush, prez.

Lucia Connelly


Help Bush 2

Powell and Bush are relying on fear to gain support for a War in Iraq. What is truly frightening for Americans is the agenda of this presidency.

There is way too much energy going into how to justify a war. The fact is there is huge opposition for this war on Iraq in this country and at the UN. It does make sense, though. There is a pattern here. This war cry is the old standby economic renewal policy for US presidents who can’t talk about economics. It’s the White House for Dummies new edition. Let’s push for the facts before going to war. Let’s push for a real economic policy while we’re at it.

Rachel Lyn Rumson

South Portland

Help Bush 3

I support the efforts of our local governments’ antiwar resolutions ( " Antiwar resolutions do well so far, " Feb. 7). Although I get angry at both injustice and its extreme expression, terrorism, in my personal life, I have learned that " you get more bees with honey. " There are peaceful solutions. It’s a matter of choice.

It’s scary to have sick individuals as leaders. But WE voted for Bush; Iraq’s people did not have the option of choice. What does that say about us? We need to take more responsibility as a democracy.

Change, however, can really only happen on an individual basis; it needs to begin with ME. What am I doing today to be a more compassionate, aware individual? What am I doing today to improve my personal awareness and spirituality, to make the world a less violent place?

We each have a responsibility to ourselves and others. If I see violence happening in my own neighborhood — when I know of domestic/child/animal abuse happening in the next-door apartment, I report it. I cannot see innocent people or animals being hurt because when I was growing up in an abusive home I wish someone had reported it.

I really am scared — of George Bush, not Saddam Hussein.

Arin Quintel

Portland, Maine

Issue Date: February 20 - 27, 2003
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