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Down the Road

A politician's visit
By Milton M. Gross
Aug 12, 2012 - 7:17:13 AM

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The other night we heard a car drive into our drive, then a knock at the door.

During supper, which is when we usually hear knocks on the door.

Not sure who we were not expecting but possibly expecting the person to be representing a cult, I had my greeting prepared by the time I got to the door. (And had swallowed a mouthful of supper.)

"Why don't you just go to *@^^&#*," I was ready to suggest to the cultist.

Although, what good is suggesting that a cultist go to *@^^&#*, in which place the cultist may not believe. After all, we all know that if you don't believe in taxes, you won't be taxed. If you don't believe in speed limits, you'll not be ticketed for breaking one. If you don't believe in global warming, you won't sweat so much when the temperature in Maine rises to the 80s and 90s.

So I didn't offer my suggestion.

Which was well, because David Smith at the door apologized for interrupting our supper and told us he was a Democrat, running for State Senate District 28, Isle Au Haut to Gouldsboro.

Had he been a Republican, I might have made my suggestion of the above destination anyway.

Had he been a Green Party member, I wouldn't have believed him, as I don't recall that any Greens are running for anything at his point in our history. They're all busy making their immediate greenery look nicer.

I explained that we were members of the Green Party but that we would vote Democrat, because we knew of no Greens running for that state senate seat. The few members of Maine's Green Party are busy this time of the year mowing their lawns. Except me, and I will mow ours soon -- I promise.

Using up White's valuable time in our doorway, since having interrupted our supper he wouldn't come in to where we had been eating to interrupt it further, I told White how I had come to be a Green Party guy -- and Dolores a Green Party gal.

For many years, I was a Republican, primarily because our neighbor was. He loaned us his snowblowers, if we would also snowblow his drive, his rototiller to use in our organic garden -- organic, despite being a Republican, and his influence as a delegate from Swanville to the state Republican convention. Since our Republican, Republican delegate neighbor suggested I become his alternate and accompany him to the big doings in Augusta that year, I did.

I hadn't been to Augusta for awhile.

I met and later, as a news reporter, got to know the "biggies" of those days, Olympia, her husband Josh, and a bunch of others. I was valuable to them -- maybe -- when they visited our fair town in which at the moment I was news reporting with little enough news to welcome them and introduce them to our business folk whose votes they coveted. Sometimes in rural Maine politics becomes the only news -- and there's always plenty of that.

Anyhow, in that same town, a good friend, a Democrat state senator, Don Twitchell, urged me to run as a Republican for an open seat in the state legislature. I didn't, probably saving the state lots of errors with my erroneous votes on this and that.

During that period, I met and immediately liked and respected my first real Democrat politician, Joe Brennan. I was attending a press event in the town of Bridgton and met Joe in the town library. Where, accidentally or by political plan, he was sitting with one ankle crossed over the other leg. By accident or by political plan, the bottom of his leather-soled shoe was showing -- a hole.

I have since come to believe that leather-soled shoes are worn either by out-of-staters or lawyers. But in those days, I understood a Democrat could wear them.

That hole impressed me. Joe was a regular guy. He certainly wasn't wealthy -- I thought or he tricked me into thinking -- since he had a hole in his sole.

Some folks think I have a hole in my soul too, the other spelling or course, if I even have one.

But I immediately liked Joe and gave him good press.

Year pass, and after moving to the Ellsworth area, the Republicans did something that was to my mind so horrible I made me change parties. I don't know what they did that was so horrible, but today there is so much I can't list it all.

I know I shouldn't write about politics or religion, because those topics tend to start arguments -- one stalwart Republican during a "discussion" between us actually grabbed my shoulders and shook me. I forget now, but he was either very angry or had realized I had fallen asleep during his speech to me. He may have been trying to convince me of the error of my Democrat way, or he may have been preventing me from falling over in my sleep.

I don't remember which.

But the Democrats had far too many meetings for us. We were expected to attend, of course, and I did go to a few. But I hadn't moved to Maine 35 years earlier to go to meetings.

To find a quieter setting, I became a member of the Green Party, and so did Dolores. Not that she always follows my lead. Sometimes I follow hers, especially when she suggests such things as her going to the supermarket so I won't have to attend that meeting of idiots shoving dangerous grocery carts.

Now we're both Greeners, and I really have to quit writing this and go tend to that lawn.

I told White all this, depriving him of his limited time in our doorway in which he had planned to give us his pitch for his candidacy. I said it didn't matter, because as long as he was a Democrat and all the Greens were too busy with their lawnmowers to run for the state senate, we would vote for him.

White is a great politician. When Dolores joined us in the doorway, he asked her if she was my daughter. That demonstrates his political skills.

He also said he was a "green" Democrat, which I assumed meant he believed in saving the earth from global warming as do we. Of course, he might have meant he was new in his role of state-senatorial candidate. Must be the former.

But I told him we'd vote for him. After all, White believes that Augusta is "broken" and that "Together we can fix it." A noble, but probably fruitless, endeavor. His brochure, which he left and we read, states, "As our next State Senator, David will work for a stronger, fairer, economy that includes affordable high-quality health care."

Can't argue with that.

I don't know what Republican brochures state. Because, of course, I'm not prejudiced, I'll never know because none so far have come to our door, and, if they did, I wouldn't read their brochure anyway.

Since White didn't say anything favorable about our Republican governor, we will vote for him.

To any Greens who read this, I apologize for my characterizing you. You may not even have a lawn.

To any Republicans who read this, please don't grab my shoulders and shake me. And, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Republican, I do think you have a chance of winning.

Because most people forget what you've done to our state -- an nation.

That's how most politicians get into office. Voters have short memories.

I don't. I still remember that I have to cut the grass.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012

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