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A New Dance in Maine

March 24, 2011

There’s a dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation: The Republican Stomp!

Starting in Wisconsin, the craze caught on in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and finally, it’s the all the rage right here in Maine. Notwithstanding our state motto, Dirigo (I lead), our governor, Paul LePage, was late to the dance and needed to scope out the room before hitting the floor to show off his stuff.

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker had no such hesitation, he grabbed a union gal and promptly slammed her to the floor prompting observers to wonder whether he understood that she had a lot of friends who might not stand for his “my way or the highway” choreography.

Terry Branstad of Iowa followed soon after and Rick Scott of Florida and John Kasich of Ohio were soon throwing workers rights and union contracts about in something resembling a drunken Lindy.

Now, well into the chorus of this foot-tapping swing number, Paul LePage (after having gained a reputation for himself by telling the principal to “Kiss my ass,”) has strode onto the national dance floor with a swagger that puts John Travolta to shame.

After assuring and reassuring the workers of Maine that his political goals were not anti-union, he announced that the murals at the Maine Department of Labor (commissioned by the State only 3 years ago to celebrate Maine’s history of labor achievements and honor its icons) were to be summarily dispatched. In a brilliant hammerlock flip move, he explained that the reason for his decision was because the role of the Maine Department of Labor was now to be “Business Friendly!”

This sort of politics isn’t dancing. It’s mayhem. Rather than the give and take that advances the goal of compromising divergent interests to achieve common good, the new Republican Stomp establishes politics as a martial arts event.

In the 1890’s, Charles K. Harris’ “After the Ball” became America’s first platinum hit. The lyrics describe how arrogance and jealousy on the dance floor can lead to the destruction of relationships and bitter regret.

After the ball is over, after the break of morn,
After the dancers’ leaving, after the stars are gone,
Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all—
Many the hopes that have vanished after the ball.

No one benefits from autocratic decision-making or dance floor bullying. Paul LePage needs to be reminded that Dirigo means “I guide” not “I push you around.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 11:46 am

    Excellent post. All these Republican Governors are now showing their true colors.

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