Eliot Cutler, the Independent candidate for Governor in Maine who came within 2% of victory in 2010, recently posted a note on Facebook entitled “Civil Discourse”. I have quoted it in full, as it appears no other news outlets have picked it up.
When I decided, early in my campaign for governor, that I would not engage in any negative campaigning, I was warned by my advisors and consultants that this would be a big mistake, that negative campaigning would be directed against me and that I would need to respond . . . or else I would lose.
I rejected that advice, because I believed that if I did retaliate in kind, we ALL would lose.
I didn’t believe then, and I don’t believe now, that Maine people want the kind of mean-spirited and demeaning trash-talk in which the two political parties indulged in 2010 — and that was echoed by our Governor’s comment yesterday.
If we haven’t learned anything about ourselves, our state and our country in the last year, and in the last week, we should have learned at least this: Words have meaning. Words are weapons. And words can hurt. We all owe to each other common civility and sensitivity in our discourse.
In no small measure, Martin Luther King’s life should still remind us of the importance of that lesson. Melanie and I will be attending tomorrow night’s dinner in Portland with several of our friends, and we will be proud to be there.