Well, now we have it. The field is nearly set for Election Day 2012.

President Barack Obama versus presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

U.S. Senate contenders Charlie Summers versus Cynthia Dill versus Angus King.

U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud versus Republican challenger Kevin Raye.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree versus a Republican challenger Jon Courtney.

Sen. Susan Collins on the sidelines, a boatload of legislative office-seekers and a variety of referendum issues — including several bond issues and the controversial referendum to allow marriage licenses for same-sex couples. That measure is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and the Maine Education Association, among others, and opposed by some churches and the organization No Special Rights, among others.

Election Day is 145 days from today, but it’s not too early for our readers to be deeply engaged in debate.

The most vigorous debate so far, and by far, is the question of same-sex marriage, a question that Maine has alternately rejected, approved and rejected for the past decade.

Ethan Masselli of Lisbon is among a number of Sun Journal readers who support passage of the referendum. In response to news reports that some churches will be passing a collection plate this Sunday to raise money in opposition, Masselli has suggested church-goers drop in a note “of love” instead of a banknote.

He has some support for that, but there is strong and clear opposition in our communities to what Farmington readers Elaine Graham and Lois Henry and Poland reader Gerald C. Pare, among others, believe would be a sin.

We can expect that debate to rage up to, and beyond, the general election as other states in this nation grapple with this question at the polls and in our state legislatures. Now that the president has, after years of being pressed, made his personal feelings known, this is a question of national interest and conflict.

It’s a bit too early for real constituent contention in the state legislative races, or races in the Senate and Congress, because we’ve just selected the challengers.

But, in the race for the White House, we’re plenty warmed up and picking sides.

On Sunday, we published a letter from regular writer Robert Lacombe of Sabattus in which he suggested that if Obama were re-elected, we Mainers should consider storing dried foods and be prepared to fend for ourselves.

Allisa Milliard, also of Sabattus, isn’t overly worried.

“Most Mainers stockpile foodstuffs anyway because winters in Maine are,” she posted, “really tough.”

“We knit because we have to do something when the power goes out for days at a time because of storms. We jar, can, and make preserves because it is crafty and we hate to throw away perfectly good veggies, especially after all that work in the garden,” she reminded us, and since “home heating oil has been overpriced for years,” many already have alternative sources of heating.

We hunt. We fish. We look out for our neighbors.

She’s right. We do.

Most important, she suggested, “Washington, D.C., is a very long way away and most of us can live just as well without it as with it.”

That’s not entirely true since the folks in Washington control the nation’s finances, our involvement in war and many other things, but it’s not a stretch to suggest that the day to day in Maine does not exactly hinge on the daily minutia of Washington.

We’re not exactly pioneers, but we’re more self-sufficient than most.

And, as consistently strong general election turnout numbers prove, we’re more involved in choosing our own government than most.

Nov. 6 is about debt. Jobs. Taxes. Economic growth. Military spending. Military involvement. Taxes. Social engineering. Individual rights. Religious freedom. Taxes. Foreign policy. Left and Right. Taxes.

One-hundred-forty-five days and counting.

Let constructive debate reign.

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The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.


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