It’s been an embarrassing couple of weeks in Maine.
First, there was Gov. Paul LePage’s comment about drug dealers impregnating “young white” girls in Maine.
Then, last week, one Brunswick School Board member described members of the town’s Jewish community as an “outside group,” while another suggested the interests of minority religious groups, i.e. Jews and Muslims, threaten to disrupt the school calendar.
The governor’s “apology” blamed his choice of words on his mouth getting ahead of his brain. Some folks are probably willing to assume the comments made in Brunswick, too, were the result of people just not articulating what they really meant to say.
But that’s not an excuse. Our elected leaders, at every level of government, from the School Board to the Blaine House to the White House, are expected to use their brains, and to know their words and thoughts have weight and consequences.
Sure, people don’t always say what they’re thinking. But in these cases, they probably said exactly what they were thinking.
When LePage thinks about drug dealers, he sees a stereotype of black men from New York and Connecticut coming to Maine and preying on white women.
Brunswick School Board members Brenda Clough and Janet Connors, meanwhile, are satisfied with a school calendar that routinely notes Christian holidays on days when schools aren’t closed. But don’t get them started on those “non-mainstream” (to borrow Connors’ term) religions – even if you’re only asking for the same consideration and not time off from school.
LePage, Clough and Connors should be ashamed, and the rest of us should be embarrassed. We elected them, and their statements reflect poorly not only on them, but on us.