Retired history teacher; active history researcher and reader; amateur naturalist; xc skier; canoe restorer; hiker; traditioinal small craft enthusiast; active citizen.
J. Dwight is right - there are elites! There are ivy league elites (University of Maine elites? not when I was there - hard to believe); there are preppy elites and summer colony elites; Sugarloaf and other ski elites; Rangeley and Moosehead hideaway and private kingdom elites. There are academic intellectual elites and financial elites. There are elites in legal professions. There are artistic elites. There are athletic elites we call varsities and pros; Yes, Matilda, there are elites - all kinds of elites.
While there are some who have been born into elite status. Some hucksters, hustlers and cheaters get to that point; most arrive at that level by some sort of winnowing among others in the same pursuits. But, are game wardens elites? public school teachers? state police? social workers (who, by the way are employed because of poverty and various dysfunctions - not the other way around)? wildlife management specialists? forestry and park rangers? highway engineers and workers? the secretaries, the analysyts and data managers, the maintenance workers without whom no public programs would function.
Although Dwight seems to give them a pass, there are small town chamber of commerce elites, local development commission elites and various social elites whose power can be as significant as any others in the lives of the working poor as any other. Local elites usually don't see themselves in that light, but if he asked the unemployed and working poor he says he cares about, I'll bet they would tell him the term is equally descriptive of local honchos.
Mr. Dwight doesn't say whether he spent time actually interviewing the angry people he says inhabit interior Maine. He mentions their resentment at people who are paid more, but only those in public service. Because public workers exhibit enough collective interest in protecting their livelihood while workers in private employ either can't be bothered to do the same or have trusted their bosses to know what is in their best interest and act accordingly, public workers, who are paid with public funds are singled out for special abuse.
Maine's economic woes are a product of many factors - educational, geographical, historical and, yes political of course. Although it seems to bother him, the means by which any society governs itself and by which it regulates its civic life are always political. No matter where one is on this planet, it can't be helped.
That said, Mr. Dwight ought to be advising the underdogs he identifies with these days to get out there and organize themselves, not for Paul LePage who, after all, is part of another elite - the managerial/employer elite, the same crowd that has been keeping them cowed and afraid - but to form leagues of the unemployed and the working poor and act in concert for better treatment by all elites, particularly those closest to home. If they were organized to the point where they could turn an election it is likely they could get a government capable of delivering the goods the current system can't seem to deliver. Handing over yet another election to the managerial elites wouldn't necessarily be the answer. Organization and solidarity are the watchwords for success for any class of citizens - they've always been.
I see no evidence of Europeans railing about loss of their freedom to get bilked by health insurance profiteers. I see no evidence of Europeans bemoaning the idea that when it comes to promoting a nation's general well-being, a national health plan in which all have a stake makes all the sense in the world. When one discovers how small a slice of the national euro is spent for adequate coverage for all, it makes one wonder what is in the water over here that makes us flee from common sense. Too many ad-men, that's the problem.
No matter where we wind up, it seems we Mainers never really leave home. It must be the air and water. In your case, I suspect it might have been that good old Mexico town water your parents drank throughout their childhood. I don't agree with your characterization of Libby Mitchell, and I sense too much bitter and too little sweet in your memories of leaving Maine, but you are as entitled to weigh in on the issues faced by Mainers as any of us.
FYI, as you had hoped some years ago, whenever I play a piccolo tune, hear good jazz or trumpet I think of him.