By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
I like former mayor Larry Gilbert as a person. I simply dislike much of what he says and does.
His op-ed last week took TCT readers down a nostalgic trail of columns past, similar to airings of TV shows of the past.
It was classic —15 paragraphs long, eight of which were used to retell and remind us of the French kid who left Lewiston at an early age, moved to California and like the Prodigal Son made his way back to Lewiston becoming a renowned public figure. Upon concluding reading the column, like Clara of the Wendy’s TV commercials, I asked: “Where’s the beef?”
Upon reading the first two paragraphs, I came thought the former mayor was going to discuss students’ ability to learn when the distraction of spring arrives. Imagine my surprise upon reading the next paragraph, which began criticizing Governor Paul R. LePage and me for our “overly obsessive attitude towards welfare.”
The former mayor chided us for never mentioning corporate welfare, writing “that is never seen, but far outweighs welfare for the poor and needy.” Sorry, but I did write about corporate welfare fraud several weeks ago. It seems to be an issue that liberal progressives and their allies continue to bring up, but do little about. After all, why waste a good talking point?
Governor LePage and I actually listen to the genuine concerns voiced by Maine taxpayers. They continually witness abuse of a system that was designed to provide temporary aid to the needy, but has grown into a generational lifestyle. After we listen to the taxpayers, we evaluate their complaints to determine if they are valid, then craft common-sense laws to crack down on with welfare abuse.
But our administrations stand in stark contrast to the former mayor’s beliefs. He is a progressive liberal Democrat (translation: he ain’t no Harry Truman) who, as mayor of Lewiston, was more focused on and interested in those living on the dole than Lewiston property taxpayers, who are forced to foot the bill.
Like all progressives, the former mayor’s solution to problems is to throw more of your money at them. If that doesn’t work, they throw even more of your money at them.
In the progressive liberal’s world, people on welfare are society’s victims. The government should bend over backwards to help them. Thus, their crimes (fraud) and their waste and abuse of the system can be excused and minimized. But if you are a law-abiding gun owner or a person addicted to a legal product—cigarettes—you are looked upon as a danger to our society.
The decline of our educational system is the direct result of the liberals’ progressive philosophy that Big Government’s should control all aspects of our lives. When you look at Lewiston’s school budget, it would be hard to make a case that we are giving up on any of our students. But, because of government welfare policies, many students are giving up on themselves. To liberal progressives, this is an inconvenient truth.
Look at history. Socialism does not work. Why do we continue down this path? If Engels and Marx could not achieve positive results, what makes one think that our current gene pool of liberal socialists can achieve success?
Lastly, running around doing charity work for which one seeks public acknowledgement does not make you a pious, caring Christian. It makes you a narcissist.
This is a special week for our Judeo-Christian heritage. Our Jewish neighbors celebrate Passover, reflecting on God’s delivering them from slavery in Egypt. Christians celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It would be beneficial for all to set aside several minutes to privately reflect on their meanings.