Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Olympia Challenged

It's beginning to look like Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe will be challenged this fall by a writer whom the Bangor Daily News called a farmer in their article yesterday about how close the race is. Jean Hay Bright, Democrat for U.S. Senate 2006 (as her business card proclaims) appears to have won the Democratic primary this week by about 600 votes. I picked up a bumper sticker for her campaign a month or two back when I went to the Hope Festival in Orono. I think it's time I put that on my pickup.
I must confess, though, for my readers, that I voted for Jean on Tuesday and in order to do that I had to register as a Democrat.
Maybe I'm imagining it but it certainly appears to me that Jean Hay Bright does not have the support of the Bangor Daily News. Unless I read it wrong, I think both Jean and her husband have in the past been writers for that newspaper. But that paper has always strongly supported Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Maine's two "moderate" U.S. senators so it comes as no surprise that they would not support Hay Bright. However, unless I am imagining it, it looks to me like the BDN coverage of Hay Bright is a bit tainted by something other than simply this pro-Republican support for Snowe. It looks to me like there's an ax being ground.
Jean Hay Bright is more than just an organic gardener. She is a political writer and a liberal against the Iraq War. She represents a new facet of Maine popularized by a yearly event in Maine known as the Common Ground Fair. This is the annual fair of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, MOFGA. How can I say that Jean Hay Bright represents a fair? I say it because that fair has virtually from its conception represented a progressive liberal political movement here in Maine and the neighboring states that advocates making a transition from industrialism, the mainstay of the late 19th and most of the 20th centuries, back to sustainable living, that lifestyle which brought civilization up to the 19th Century. This "post-industrial" (as the Maine Times used to say) era is defined by sustainable organic farming and gardening, sustainable energy production and usage, traditional manufacturing processes like spinning and weaving and crafts and carpentry with hand tools, and the use of farm animals for work. All of these and more are the themes of the Common Ground Fair.
Jean Hay Bright represents the generation of Maine people, many of whom moved to Maine in the "back to the land" movement of the 1970s when young people were fleeing the pressure-cooker lifestyle of the cities. Maine was, at that time, looking at the end of the era of farming, but it was also looking at the end of the era of cheap labor in the textile mills and shoe factories. Maine was "For Sale" and these young people were in the market. The result was a whole new generation of Maine farmers, but these people weren't the high-stakes farmers pumping out produce for low-profit corporate markets. These people organized farmers' co-ops, developed organic farming methods for use in Maine, and built a solid reputation for both profitability and quality.
Somehow, Jean Hay Bright is rooted in this movement. I'm going to have to do some research into this, but one thing I know for certain. The time has come for this movement to have a say in the U.S. government and I hope Jean is the girl to do the job.
Good luck in your campaign, Jean! May the Gods of Maine outshine the dimwitted Bangor Daily News!!

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