University of Southern Maine, You Broke My Crooked Heart

Dear University of Southern Maine,

You’ve done it.  Broken my heart, that is.  You did it while staring into my unblinking eyes.  You never released your finger from the trigger, just waited until the dust settled from your bad press, then, when you hoped people were preoccupied by the warm summer air that finally came to us in Maine, you pressed the savage trigger and shattered my crooked heart.

It’s not just my heart, as I’m sure you know.  With your act of placing the Stone House in Freeport on the market, you’ve fractured hundreds of hearts.  As Stonecoast students and faculty members, we bled in that house.  We opened ourselves up at the breast and bled until we got our stories right.  The Stone House was made sacred by our words, and to see it so easily discarded by the trustees is heartbreaking.

Stone House Image copyWe gave you our hearts, but we also gave you our money.  Looking back on what we had, maybe the saddest truth of our relationship is that not only could you not be trusted with the magnificent gift of the Stone House and its surrounding property, you also couldn’t be trusted to be good stewards of our tuition.  Like many big institutions, you put off the necessary costs for years, until they became so extraneous that you had to cry poor.

But it’s over.  We’re over.  You’ve severed my heart.  Our hearts.  The best I can ask is that you do not move the program to the drab settings of your Portland or Lewiston campuses.  A great writing program deserves better.  The future purveyors of the written truth deserve better.

Of course, since writers are resilient people with open hearts, future Stonecoast students and faculty will make any space they enter sacred.  The program will regain its footing.  Not because of you, but in spite of you.

We had a good two years together, University of Southern Maine.  I’ll always remember the gift of my time in the Stone House.  I truly hope the sale of the Stone House allows the University system to strengthen.  I do.  Though looking at the numbers, I don’t see how it can make a big dent; however, cutting a few six figure salaries at the administrative level could surely have a strong fiscal impact.

I believe this great state deserves a great institution of higher learning.  Do not let the pain of our broken hearts be in vain.

Sincerely,

Dave Patterson

 

A Formal Request for Eliot Cutler to Withdraw from the Governor’s Race in Maine

Maine State FlagDear Mr. Cutler,

I am writing to you as someone who greatly respects your views, your career, and your love of the state of Maine.  In fact, our shared love for this great state is the impetus for this letter.

In the 2010 governor’s race in Maine, thinking you were the opponent who was going to surge past the laughable, and now current governor, Paul LePage, I cast my vote in your favor.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just cast this vote against the Tea Party rhetoric-slinging, bully-mouthed LePage, I cast my vote for you.  I was drawn to your independent nature.  Pulled in by your years of experience with politics.  Won by your broad-shouldered charisma.

But then the unthinkable happened: you and Libby Mitchell divided the center-left votes, and as a result we’ve had four years of a governor who has put Maine on the national media map for all the wrong reasons.  In my own household, and countless others, I, a male, voted for you, and my wife, a female (obviously), voted for Mitchell.  It was 2000 all over again when as a twenty-year-old idealist, my vote for Nader turned out to be a vote for Bush.

Our two-party political system is a mess.  No one doubts that.  It just doesn’t seem to be viable for a third party candidate to pull in the votes unless you have the celebrity gravitas of, say, an Angus King.  2010 opened a wound that was just beginning to heal for a lot of Mainers from the 2000 presidential election.  This state cannot afford four more years from Mr. LePage, both in terms of his uber-right-winged policies or his foot-in-mouth declarations that tarnish Maine in the national press.

Looking at the most recent polls, the people of Maine are starting to get that 2010 anxiety.  Mike Michaud (D) and Paul LePage (R) are close in the polls.  Your candidacy is tethering Michaud to the ground.  I’m asking that you withdraw from the race, cut the chord you’ve inadvertently tied to Michaud’s campaign, and let this great state rise out of the shackles our current governor has clasped around the wrists of progress.

Again, this letter comes from a place of respect for your career and your desire to make this state even greater.  It just seems to me and many others right now that the best way you can serve this state is to withdraw from the race and place all of your support behind Mike Michaud to right this ship.

Sincerely,

Signature

David Patterson