Short takes on the week’s news

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Double jeers to the Maine Legislature for its plan to celebrate Franco-American Day next Wednesday.

Isn’t that St. Patty’s Day? The annual feast day to celebrate one of Ireland’s most celebrated patron saints? And a day of great importance to the Irish?

Really?

Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate Franco-American heritage on a day of significance to Francos?

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Why not May 17, this year’s La fête de la Reine in celebration of the reigning Canadian monarch’s birthday?

How about July 1, to coincide with La fête du Canada, a celebration of that country’s confederation?

These two dates don’t fall within the scope of the Legislature’s session, but if that’s important, lawmakers — with just a little more planning — could have celebrated on Feb. 15 to coincide with the annual Canadian Fête de la famille, the nation’s day to celebrate family.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lisa Marraché, March 17 was chosen because it falls within a worldwide celebration of International Francophone Week. True. But that celebration lasts an entire week, not just Wednesday, and there are plenty of countries and institutions that are celebrating this observance during other weeks in March, from March 3 right through the 28th. That’s a lot of wiggle room to select something other than March 17.

Celebrating Franco-American culture on St. Patty’s Day is blatant disrespect to the Irish, and diminishes what should be the rightful celebration of Maine’s Francophiles.

The double diss here is that the Legislature — although it will welcome Irish dancers to perform Wednesday — has not reserved an official day in celebration of the Irish-Americans who are as proud of their heritage and culture as Francos.

What gives?

Jeers to Rep. Henry Joy for putting forth legislation to literally divide Maine in two.

Joy, who lives in Crystal — in Aroostook County — is advocating for the people of northern Maine to be able to decide “their own destiny,” according to the House Republican Office. The northern Mainers are tired, he argues, of being used as pawns in the game to establish the much-resisted, 10-million-acre Maine North Woods.

He is worried, and rightfully so, that establishing a federal reserve could push people off their private lands and create a gigantic, tax-exempt, business-absent, human-free swath. It might, and that’s a real problem. But the answer isn’t cutting Maine in two.

If Joy is convinced that the environmental movement to establish the North Woods would be disastrous to the people and economy of northern Maine, he can take that argument — and it’s a good one — to the feds with the same vigor as Keeping Maine’s Forests has shown in making its proposal to establish the park.

Enough evidence that destroying the economy in northern Maine would put a greater burden on southern Maine might actually bring the two Maines together in shared purpose.

Cheers to Doris “Granny D” Haddock for proving that one person really can make a difference. That one person can win the proverbial fight against City Hall. Or Congress. Or the White House.

Haddock died Tuesday. She was 100 years old.

She was the face — and the feet — of federal campaign finance reform, after walking across the country in 1999 and 2000 to raise public awareness about the need for reform. Age 89 at the time, this stoic New Hampshire woman walked about 10 miles a day for 14 months and grabbed this nation’s attention for her steady conviction and just plain gumption.

Her spirit will long be remembered. We hope her example to be a participant instead of a spectator will long be followed by other proud Americans.

editorialboard@sunjournal.com

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