While reading Sunday’s articles on the race rallies held on Saturday, I was struck with a couple thoughts.

First, I was struck at the blatant unfairness that those criticizing Mayor Raymond displayed.

The mayor did not organize the hate rally, to my knowledge did not organize the anti-hate rally and, additionally, had previous vacation plans. I’m curious how many of his critics would give up their vacations (in Florida during a Maine winter) to attend a rally that they had no part in planning.

I can appreciate staging an event to counteract the hate-filled rally being held by the World Church of the Creator; however, were an event not held, the fact that such a scant few showed up at the WCOC’s assembly would have spoken volumes of this great state’s stance on racism. Were an event not held at Bates College, or on the steps of the Lewiston City Hall, Omar Jamal and Ismail Ahmed would not have had cause to call for Mayor Raymond’s resignation.

This is nothing more than riding the wave that Trent Lott created with his now famous words and it is nothing new for Jamal, who demanded Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson be dismissed after a Somali shooting by police last March.

It seems to me that those calling for the mayor’s resignation at the tolerance rally on Saturday are, themselves, intolerant of him. Perhaps those who believe him to be lacking in leadership should set the precedent and take heart in the amazing turnout at the Bates College rally; and, instead of being bitter about one man’s decision to take a vacation, they could rejoice that Maine regards men of all colors to be equal.

I agree with John Baldacci and his statement that “we stand united as one Maine,” and I am proud to live and work with people of all backgrounds. However, I don’t agree with those who ask for the mayor’s resignation, something they admit would not have been requested had he been there.

This is nothing more than conditional acceptance, which is another form of intolerance.

Jim Mentink, Poland


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