The following conversation between two progressive, open-minded, welcoming Mainers never actually took place. But it could have.
Ted: Ned! I love that new sign you just put on your lawn, the one that says, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” in the middle. (Chuckling) Is it aimed at me and my family?
Ned: (with a wide smile) No, but we are glad you’re our neighbors, Ted. I just want everyone who passes by to know that the Mainers in this house are accepting of everyone.
Ted: What’s that it says above the blue section of the sign, on the green part.
Ned: Oh, you mean, “No importa de dónde eres, estamos contentos de que seas nuestro vecino?” It’s the same message, only in Spanish. We want everyone to know they’re welcome here in Maine.
Ted: And on the orange part, where it says, يهم أين أنت من، نحن سعداء لا كنت جارتنا?
Ted: I should have known.
Ned: I’m all about tolerance, acceptance, and love for my neighbors, whoever they are.
Ted: You’d welcome anyone to Maine, Ned?
Ned: Of course I’m sure! Don’t I give money to the ACLU, read the New York Times, and watch Rachel Maddow?
Ted: You mean you wouldn’t care if Maine suddenly got overrun by hillbillies from Texas, inner-city escapees from Chicago, or millennial Yuppies from Hollywood?
Ned: Are you serious? The Maine I believe in welcomes everyone, regardless of their origins.
Ted: So if a whole bunch of Brits or Scotchmen or Irishmen immigrated to our state you wouldn’t mind?
Ned: (slightly miffed) Of course not!
Ted: Suppose it was Aussies or Kiwis or Canadians?
Ned: (becoming more curious) I’d welcome them!
Ted: Of course you would. But…..(pausing) how about Greeks, Brazilians, or Iraqis? People who don’t speak English. How would you feel then?
Ned: (now getting offended) I told you, here in Maine we welcome everyone. Ethnicity has never been a problem for me OR for the thinking people of this state, and it never will be.
Ted: Suppose the new immigrants coming here were, ahhh….swarthier than you and me?
Ned: Martin Luther King dreamed of his children living in a nation where they’d be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Surely you agree Maine should welcome all people, whether they’re white, black, brown, red, yellow, or green.
Ted: What if they’re gay?
Ned: (Exasperated) So what if they are? Why are you being like this, Ted? You’re starting to make me angry.
Ted: I just don’t think you’re really as accepting as you think. I’ll bet there’s at least one type of person you’d prefer would stay out of Maine.
Ned: (Huffily) I really resent this, Ted.
Ted: Would you welcome Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or, Heaven forbid, atheists like me?
Ned: Of course I would! My neighbors’ religion is no more a concern of mine than mine is to them. And the same goes for Godless heathens like you.
Ted: I’m glad to hear that. But….(grinning slyly) would you welcome a neighbor who puts up a huge sign in his front yard that says, “Trump in 2020?”
Ned: (Taking a deep breath) I……I (clearing his throat)……I’m sure I could find something I could appreciate in him. (Pause, then hesitantly) Yes, he should be welcome in the state of Maine.
Ted: Would you welcome Parasites to Maine?
Ned: (angrily) This is really annoying, Ted. I’ve already told you I’m fine with immigrants from everywhere, including France!
Ted: (patiently) Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe you’re confused. Parisians come from France’s largest city. Parasites take advantage of others, usually those who can’t or won’t recognize greed when it’s hidden inside a pretty package. Parasites are hypocrites who take from society without giving anything back. They never feel shame, and they’re usually skilled liars, too.
Ned: Maybe I am confused. Could you give me some examples of Parasites?
Ted: Sure. How about drug dealers, loan sharks, and out-of-state casino operators. Or in- state casino operators, for that matter.
Ned: (after a long pause) Ted, I stand corrected. You’re right. I’m not as open-minded as I thought. There’s no way I want any hypocritical, slick-talking Parasites coming to Maine, promising all kinds of things they won’t deliver just so they can get even richer at the expense of some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Ted: Changing the subject, how are you voting on Question One?
Ned: (Smiling) Do you really have to ask?Andy Young
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