Maine. And Mainely Justice

Great. So LL Bean has a major board member who is pro Trumperdink. And people are talking boycott. Please, if you are reading this, STOP and consider something.–Because I’m frankly concerned that even today, Maine is just not something a lot of people understand, and I would like to talk about the difference between ethical shopping and random punitive strikes on a civilian population.

I have two relationships with the state of Maine in my personal history. I grew up from birth to 16 years or so visiting family on Long Island. That’s in Casco Bay, maybe 45 minutes or an hour by ferry. Eventually, emotional baggage and time made visiting the family in question there, in that space, difficult. Then, for three years between 2004 and 2007 I lived in Orono, Milford and Old Town respectively, earning my grad degree in history at UMaine. These places are, give or take, 11 odd miles from Bangor. Bangor is usually one of the last places anyone recognizes on a map of the state’s interior. Neither of these periods of time qualify me as ‘from here’ to a Maine resident. I, like the rest of the country, am “from away”. And I respect that.

Here’s what I would beg anyone considering an LLBean boycott to consider trying. Yes, of course, fight Linda Bean and her apparent girlish devotion to Der Trumperghast. Do so by boycotting anything NOT MADE in the state of Maine. Be vocal; talk to customer service. Tell them why, and why you made that distinction.

Here is why I am asking this. It’s because I know that once one goes inland from the beautiful beaches, or out on the water past the big, fancy tourist spots in the islands, once you’re past Kennebunkport and inland from Acadia, Bar Harbor and North of the Capital, Maine has been having a rough time for a very, very long time.

I mean rickets and food stamps and joblessness and trailers and awful environmental damage, literacy rates and school quality from county to county that are basically a random toss in the air. KKK, Christian fundamentalists, homophobia, creationism–basically every stereotype people assign to the rural south or to the “flyover states”? Yeah, Maine has it too. and that was before they elected Herman Geoering as state governor (Neither Le Page or Baldacci have earned a capitalized title in my blog). What I refer to was with a Democrat governor–sure he acted like a Republican whenever he felt like it but nominally….When I was a little girl visiting Long Island,there was a family of kids who threw rocks at people and were purported–or actually–suffering from the effects of inbreeding. Sometimes there was TV from Canada. Sometimes there wasn’t TV. People called the off Island ambulance “The big red coffin”. That’s because in the winter, the only medivac option offered by the greater world was the Coastguard fireboat. And all the skill and devotion in the world could not get the damned thing through the Hussey sound in the Winters in much less than an hour. One Way. And yes, dammit, I know I’m old, but medivac choppers were not an unheard of luxury in the US then–just not considered ‘practical’–I mean the Bush Compound needed them, right?

I loved my time in Maine as a grad student–not because of the department faculty where I pursued my MA. While trying to remain vague to protect the guilty I can say that the “mystery” dept at UMOrono was pretty much one big underfunded mess of egos, bullying and testosterone poisoning worthy of middle school or maybe a third rate Byzantine Seraglio. But living in that part of Maine was wonderful. In Maine, as in few other places these days, instead of the trees getting the way out for a house, town or city, the city, house and town get out of the way of the trees.

Now, here’s the cliched language: Maine is an AMAZING state. Long Island–they became an independent town, refurbished their school and secured medivac choppers year round if needed. Like Bosses. Oh, and they supported Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly, from what relatives have told me about the number of yard signs banners and bumper stickers.  There are Hutterites in Maine who might look like they escaped from a compound somewhere, but they are gentle, compassionate and fair minded. There are First Nations tribes whose land has been stolen and compromised and is so polluted that I am grateful nothing glows in the dark, and they educate, fight for justice and keep the flame alive. Dutch Elm disease? Cure was discovered in Maine. Cordial Border Relationships? Go far enough North and people have Canada in the bedroom and the US in the septic tank. Maine has one of the larger populations of immigrants from decidedly “away”.  There is a steadily growing population of young, educated former refugees from East Africa.There are so many amazing wonderful kinds of people that you’d be asleep if I mentioned them all.

And Blessed Mother Goddess have mercy do not take something away from all the people who have been enduring Le Page, who have been slowly and faithfully working to heal the state’s environmental damage, who work long, hard and often cold and wet hours or blistering hot shifts in the interior in Summer…do not take away from the factories or plants that produce things for LLBean in Maine. Because the first casualty of a rich woman or man’s economic punishment is always those under their thumb who are poorest with the greatest amount to loose.  Because especially for the last several years, the people of Maine have NOT been represented by their politicians. Because it’s too likely you will really damage folks living from pay check to pay check and less likely that a Trumperdink supporter will give so much as a quivering rats ass. Also, in boycotting foreign made products by LLBean, you can, if you are communicative about it, encourage them to actually oversee and take better care of their foreign labor population–and hell, we all know that even ‘caring’ companies who import can almost always do a little bit better. And since I doubt Bean counts much as the ‘caring’ sort if they haven’t bundled this Trump supporter out of power, they may have lots of room for improvement.

Anyhow. Readers from Maine, please forgive a woman “from away” anything badly stated here. If there is, it’s on me and I’m sorry. I’m a foreigner but I’m trying.


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