Power sticks

Letters to the Portland Phoenix editors, April 6, 2012


In my opinion, the Reverend Wesley J. Mills needs to take his own advice (see "Know Before You Spout," letter to the editor, March 16). Does morality really connect religion and politics? What really connects religion and politics is the acquisition of power. If you have the power, you can dictate the morality; or "Them that's got the gold, makes the rules."

Roger Williams and Thomas Jefferson may have had a mutual concern about "freedom of conscience." However, you cannot extrapolate from this a mutual concern about morality. The morality of Thomas Jefferson did not prevent him from having a sexual relationship with his slave Sally Hemings and continuing the economic institution known as slavery. The morality of Roger Williams did not prevent him from sending his "Praying Indians" into a war against other Native Americans on behalf of the Europeans.

The Constitution of the United States was not produced out of a concern for morality or the common good. It was a raw exercise in power between the mercantile and financial interests in the north and the slave economy of the south. It brought to an end the libertarian sentiments that produced the revolution. Thomas Jefferson was able to salvage a Bill of Rights, but they seem to have officially expired.

Throughout the history of "Western civilization," people have played religious institutions and political institutions against each other as concerns their own interests. It is kind of a primitive system of checks and balances.

Herbert W. Twiddy


"Eating Wealthy," Brian Duff's March 23 review of Seagrass Bistro in Yarmouth, is an absurd exercise in putting down people who can afford fine cuisine. While Duff's well written piece praises the food, he's bent on taking to task those who can foot the bill of fare. Why? Is the Portland Phoenix still upset that Occupy Maine no longer gathers for happy hour at Sonny's after a cold day in the park? Would you be surprised that the parents of members of the Pete Kilpatrick Band on the cover of that week's issue frequent the bistro? Would you be equally astonished that quadragenarians, quinquagenarians, sexagenarians, and septuagenarians alike read the Phoenix as their connection to the "scene" in Portland?

I understand that the "Breaded Hake" at Seagrass is more aptly named "Fish Sticks" at the University of New England (where Duff works), but that's no cause to throw stones at the 1 percent who prefer their fish baked rather than microwaved. From his overt arrogance, it seems Duff would have favored reviewing McMansion dwellers munching McDoubles rather than Lobster Mac and Cheese, though I might suggest that folks in their 70s generally downsize. More likely, this was a special occasion, an evening out, or perhaps a treat for those you chose to so gratuitously lampoon. Stick to the food, Mr. Duff; you might just be tomorrow's septuagenarian.

John Sperber
South Portland

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