A sleep-deprived new dad says ‘thanks’ — and responds to reader comments

Life sometimes moves quickly. On March 28th, my wife and I welcomed our first child — a boy — into the world. To all those who said it changes your life: you’re absolutely right.

As I talk to or make faces at my son, I recognize he does not yet understand what I am saying or doing. And I cannot wait for the day when he can smile and laugh at a funny face, recognizing his dad and engaging. But, until then, it is a bit of a one way street — one that is a lot of fun to drive.

Meanwhile, this column has evolved in reverse. While writing with Cynthia Dill, we offered an occasionally humorous repartee on issues of the day. The arguments she made would parallel some of our readers’ comments, allowing me to address them indirectly. Yet, as I have continued on solo in Maine’s premier paper, I do not always have the opportunity to respond to objections, counterpoints, or tangents offered by several readers.

So, in that vein, I will use this effort — in an admittedly sleep-deprived state — to respond to some of the letters and emails I have received over the past several months from you.

First, to the people who expressed surprise at agreement or disagreement with an argument I have offered: don’t you love the power of probability? If you assume there are only 20 policy issues in the world and each issue has only 2 possible answers, the odds of two individuals agreeing (or disagreeing) on all of them are over a million to 1. Chances are you share some common ground with people you’d least suspect; you just have to be open-minded enough to find it.

Second, to the readers who accused me of being against those “from away:” you mistake my position. I have no qualms with individuals who move to Maine and become part of this community — that group includes my mother and my wife. It also includes numerous friends, family members, and mentors.

However, I do object to those who do not live here sending hundreds of thousands of dollars into our state to push referenda on numerous topics, whether bear baiting, casinos, or gun control. If they want those laws where they live, fine — other states can make their own decisions. If those proponents want to move to Maine, pay taxes, and truly become part of our state, then I support their right to be heard as much as someone born here…even if I think they are wrong, like Ms. Roxanne Quimby. But if people are from away, decide to stay away, and parachute in with large checks only to tell us what our laws should be, then my patience wears thin quickly. That is why I believe referenda should require statewide support before going to the ballot.

Third, to the gentleman who wrote that I am “full of [excrement],” with nothing further: please grow up. You join the ranks of those who throw out ad hominem attacks, offering jewels such as “corporatist Koch puppet,” “corrupt ReTHUGlican,” and other literary gems. If you disagree with my arguments or positions, fine. Write a letter offering a different perspective, challenging my assumptions, or disputing my value judgments; all reasonable responses. But apply some grey matter to the subject at issue, rather than churlishly hurling insults.

Lastly, to those who have expressed appreciation for my writing, especially if you don’t agree with me: thank you. We can fight like cats and dogs. We can disagree on the best way to make our state better. But we’re all here and we all want a healthy, happy, prosperous Maine. With a new son, that is my greatest wish for the future. So, again, thank you. Now let’s go make it happen.

Michael Cianchette

About Michael Cianchette

Michael Cianchette was the chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage from 2012-2013 and deputy counsel from 2011-2012. A Navy reservist, he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2013-2014 as a trainer and adviser to the Afghan National Police. He is an alumnus of the Leadership Maine program and holds a BA in economics and political science from Boston College along with a JD and an MBA from Suffolk University. He works as in-house counsel and financial manager for a number of affiliated companies in southern Maine.