...at the current pace that things have been going.
That may not be a "news flash" to others. But it is news to me.
A few points:
1) Partisanship - As a state, we're addicted to partisanship. Look around you
in the political discourse. What percentage seem to be seeking common ground
versus throwing stones? We've reached a point, not just in Maine but overall, in
which the word "compromise" to many denotes much more a sense of selling out
than it does of moving things forward.
Losing teams bicker. In fact, it is a hallmark sign of losing. Look at sports
teams. They say that winning cures all ills, and while that is not 100% true,
certainly it is far easier to be charitable and understanding of others when one
is succeeding. I am observing this sense of our blaming each other statewide,
but more pronounced in our economically most challenged areas of the state. It
is a sign of frustration, which left unabated turns to despair.
2) Accountability - I am running on the following written pledge: "If the
majority of Mainers do not feel that enough quality jobs have been created
during my first two years as Governor, then I will step down from office and let
a replacement be named to finish the term."
I believe that I can produce positive economic results. I believe it very
strongly, and have posited across 20+ published articles how I feel our campaign
offers "the most sophisticated and insightful solutions for Maine of any of the
candidates for Governor. (blah, blah blah, I know). But what if I'm wrong? What
if any of the candidates are wrong? What amount of skin is each person running
for office willing to put behind their claims? The people of Maine deserve
strong positive results. They should expect and in fact demand them. Anybody
that cannot produce, following a reasonable time period, should be thrown out of
office (mid term if necessary). Or they should step down. Is anybody with me on
3) Leadership - Leadership is by example. It's the old "actions speak louder
than words". Of course that's true. A leader puts his or her needs second (or
third or fourth) for the common good. I wrote an entire previous article in this
newspaper on "Reasons Not To Be Governor". Self-aggrandizement should be high on
that list. There is a reason that they call it "public service" and not "public
taking". We learn from our parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, community, etc.
If you don't like the values circulating in a group, look at the top. Either
they are out working to correct them with a positive alternative, or they are
instead contributing to them, if only by inaction.
4) Looking in the Mirror - Rule #1 of campaigning may be, never blame or
alienate those in whom you seek support. I break this rule by reminding all of
you that you (as they say) "only get the government that you deserve" (or allow)
and, to go further, (as far as memory goes this next one is an original saying
but I could be mistaken) "those who are not part of the solution are part of the
problem." I wrote another column in this paper entitled "A Citizen's
Responsibility". In that piece I ended by detailing what each of us can, and I
believe should, do as we stare in that mirror.
5) The Forest For the Trees - Pettiness is counterproductive. Partisanship,
mentioned earlier, beyond basic principles easily can descend into a form of
pettiness and a luxury that we simply cannot afford. To most briefly explain, we
need, to have a chance to be successful in this global economy, to collectively
integrate and direct our energies outward so that we can successfully compete
with other states and countries. Paraphrase - "A house divided against itself
will not long stand". We all know that to be true.
6) The Future - Maine has not hit rock bottom, and the way that things are
going I don't see us turning around substantially in these and other areas until
we have indeed hit, or are at least closer to, rock bottom. It's too easy still
to live in denial.
I expect to not win this election - not because I don't have confidence in
myself and what I offer. To the contrary. I am beginning to believe that we have
become simply beaten down as a state, with frustration and anger masking a
deeper sense of almost futility. We are afraid to believe and we don't know
which way to turn. We collectively will not do the hard work of facing
unpleasant truths - including recognizing the need to work together - because
that would challenge us to persist, no matter how difficult, until solutions
I believe that, perhaps subconsciously, we don't feel that we have to
strength currently do that.
I left the state of Maine to seek greater economic gain but also because I
felt, in part, that I was more assertive than many Mainers. But I was born in
this state (and graduated High School and College in Maine), and have always
loved it deeply. I pretty much cried when I saw the Maine sign welcoming me
(actually all) to this state upon my return.
I want Maine to lead the nation and after that the world. And not just in
material things but in all the things that matter most to us. I apologize if at
times it may seem that I am speaking a foreign language.
Do I expect to lose this election? Unless something major occurs, and quick,
Alex Hammer is a candidate for Governor from Bangor. The campaign's
website is www.hammer2006.politicalgateway.com