The Universal Notebook: Sour grapes? Sore loser? Not me

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OK, I admit it, I got it all wrong.

I thought Gov. Paul LePage had little chance of being re-elected after abusing and insulting the people of Maine for four years, but apparently Mainers like being abused and insulted.

Not me.

LePage rode back into office on the big red wave of fear and ignorance that swept across this country on Election Day. Thirty percent of voters are progressive, thirty percent conservative and the rest just vote the way the tide flows.

By the time LePage leaves office in another four years, he should have had time to pretty much dismantle state government.

And the good people of the 2nd Congressional District gave their stamp of approval to Bruce Poliquin, a man who accused his opponent of providing aid and comfort to ISIS, Ebola and Obama. Now Poliquin will go to Washington and join House Republicans in dismantling the federal government.

When these men are finished, we will have a nation ruled by stateless corporate anarchists and angry white theocrats. I guess that’s what Americans want.

Not me.

I thought the core American values were a more perfect union, justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, but I was wrong. When you re-elect governors like LePage and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and elect rich boys like Poliquin, you are voting for divisiveness, inequity, strife, personal wealth, no welfare and low taxes.

Not me.

I truly believed Mainers and Americans would not vote against their own best interests. Man, was I ever wrong. Voters clearly said they don’t want Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits, public education, unemployment benefits, environmental protections, marriage equality and reproductive free choice. That’s all socialism and welfare fraud. Republicans will get rid of them all.

What Americans really seem to want is for the government to leave them alone while subsidizing large corporations, making war to protect our oil interests abroad, and turning defense, education, corrections and Social Security into for-profit businesses.

Not me.

The day after the election, I wandered the streets stunned and in disbelief. It was like suddenly discovering that half the people of Maine are zombies, the walking dead, soul-less pods who survive on stale donuts and coffee brandy. If they want to strangle bears with their bare hands, no one is going to tell them they can’t.

I get that people are alienated, anxious, angry. I also get that a lot of ordinary folks actually believe, as LePage and Poliquin do, that welfare fraud is rampant, all immigrants are here illegally and are carriers of infectious diseases.

Not me.

The LePage campaign was highly successful at selling his half-truths to a lot of people. Yes, he paid the hospital debt, but he did it by borrowing money. Yes, 20,000 jobs may have been created on his watch, but, while the rest of the New England states have fully recovered from the recession, 20,000 jobs doesn’t even get Maine back to zero. Yes, he presided over a major state tax cut, but he didn’t pay for it, so we just got it passed along to us in higher local taxes. You really think LePage accomplished anything in his first term?

Not me.

Poliquin passed himself off as a job creator, but no one ever asked him what jobs he created, how many and where they are. They were too busy asking him where he actually lived. So, everyone who owes their job to Poliquin, raise your hand.

Not me.

By their vote on Nov. 4, Mainers and Americans essentially said they think government is the problem, not the solution.

Not me.

Is this column just sour grapes? Nope. That would imply I didn’t want Mike Michaud to win anyway. Am I a sore loser? Nope. Am I deeply disappointed in the outcome of the election, the Democratic Party and the voters of Maine? Absolutely.

But will I stop criticizing the governor just because he won re-election? Will I stop blaming conservatives for placing personal gain ahead of the common good?

Nope. Not me.

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Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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