In Maine, “our” governor is planning to waste time and effort removing a few walls with murals depicting the history of labor unions in our working man’s state. The murals are located inside the lobby of the Department of Labor. In a simultaneously brilliant and idiotic move, this blatant political obfuscation is yet another insult in a litany of dumb stuff Paul LePage does and puts him in prime position as a contender in the arena of GOP extremism laughing stock. Well, hilarious, but dreadfully scary. Running his mouth yet again about making Maine “pro-business,” (he wanted Maine to be the red light state by changing our highway welcome sign from “The Way Life Should Be” to “Open For Business”) LePage is waging a war on the labor movement, on worker’s rights, on community organizing, and on everything that is democratic and socialist and good in our state.
In the global political war for control of space (like in Israel, see Arena of Speculation for more on this), if LePage has his way he will have succeeded in wresting an important moment in our collective history from our grasp.
When we erase history, we change history, and we tell small lies. By effectively denying and dis-acknowledging a critical and formative event or era in our collective consciousness and awareness, who we are as Mainers, you rewrite history and truth for the benefit of short-sighted political goals and obfuscate and delegitimize alternative narrative and opposition. This is political warfare carried out in the name of selfish personal gain.
Paul LePage, by removing murals that depict scenes from the labor movement in Maine, is denying Maine’s rich history as a working class state and delegitimizing the role of labor unions throughout history and today. In yet another stroke of brilliance, he is planning to rename several conference rooms in the Department of Labor. The rooms are currently named after labor leaders such as Cesar Chavez.
It’s not so much the act itself but the principle and motivation behind it. The murals won’t be destroyed and the rooms can be re-re-named. But it is indicative of his disrespect for the rights of the collective, his disrespect for the rights of workers, and his complete disregard for history and the people of Maine.
He is making a play for spatial control because he knows he has no political control. Between this and his new state-owned propaganda TV show, Inside the Blaine House, his “administrative directives” are rapidly becoming symptomatic of authoritarian dictatorship, crafted to promote his personal agenda as a greedy, selfish businessman, with absolutely no consideration of what Maine people, the people who mostly didn’t vote for him, want and need.