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Originally, I thought I would limit this blog strictly to all matters food — and leave politics to my twitter feed and everyday life. Just one little problem: I really cannot keep them separate. I am passionate on both topics and both have been a vital part of my life for as long as I can remember. Hell, politics and food often go hand in hand! Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman and Barbara Kingsolver have been mixing the two for years! Even my heroine, Julia Child, was politically active.

Julia was raised in a strict Republican Presbyterian family in California. Her father helped to finance Richard M. Nixon’s first campaign. But the young Julia found her ideas challenged after graduating from Smith College:

I was a Republican until I got to New York and had to live on $18 a week. It was then that I became a Democrat. – Julia Child

From that point on she was a staunch Democrat who crusaded for women’s rights, Planned Parenthood, and helped support politicians such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. In fact she was such an ardent liberal that many of her friends feared she would turn down the Presidential Medal of Freedom when President Bush awarded it to her in 2003. She accepted the medal but stated this about W:

I’ve nothing to say about him except that I am appalled that he was chosen by our people to be president. – Julia Child

So there you have it. I am using Julia as excuse to launch into a political tirade here on www.growingupjulia.com.

So what’s got me in such a tizzy? Our darn Governor of Maine, Paul LePage and his latest blunder! Since taking office on January 5, 2011, Governor LePage has insulted and bullied the people of Maine again and again. With his constant blustering blunders, he has proven himself to be out of touch with both the populace of our state and with reality.

Governor LePage and his cronies have attempted to disenfranchise citizens, loosen child labor laws, threatened the Department of Environmental Protection, ridiculed our unemployed, suggested that welfare recipients are lazy and should take drug tests and told the NAACP to “kiss my butt”! His idiocy and anger knows no bounds. He has lost his cool and physically threatened reporters and desecrated murals honoring Maine’s proud labor tradition. AND he manages to do all of this with a certain je ne sais quoi that only he can muster: a certain blend of pompous arrogance, naivety, condescension, confusion, bullying and rage. He always seems so angry. What’s wrong LePage? Did you not realize that being the Governor is much harder than managing Mardens?!? It seems every time he is in public he manages to stick his foot in his mouth all while claiming he speaks for the common men and women of Maine (the same ones he wants to submit to drug tests and disenfranchise)!

LePage has been running town hall meetings throughout the state and on November 10, 2011 he conducted one at the Ellsworth Middle School. During this meeting he huffed and puffed and managed to insult Medicaid, welfare, teachers and a plethora of other topics. In regards to his desire to “reform welfare” and fix the budget he threatened to hold the state’s education funding hostage until his demands are met:

Eighty percent of the budget is Medicaid and welfare and education. If the Legislature has the political will to fix the problem [cutting welfare], education will keep the additional $63 million we gave it.

Then he alluded that Maine’s welfare benefits are SO generous that we are attracting a benefit leeching underclass from all over the country. Because yes, folks, LePage thinks that everyone on welfare LOVES being on welfare and just wants to keep riding that fat gravy train:

People that don’t qualify in New Hampshire come to Maine; people that don’t qualify in Massachusetts come to Maine. And my feeling is I would much rather help Maine people before I help the rest of the country. – Governor LePage

Then LePage got onto the topic of healthcare. When asked by an audience member about whether he supported universal healthcare:

Yes. Now, would I support a plan that covers everybody and the taxpayer pays for it? No. – Governor LePage

Mr. Governor, clearly you do not understand the concept of universal healthcare. Sigh… Whatever happened to those Christian principles of caring about those around you? Whatever happened to helping out the needy, the sick and the poor? LePage wants a scapegoat for every problem this state is facing. He points fingers and furiously blames it on someone else. What we need in this period of economic strife is a leader who will bring us together, not someone who wants you to believe your neighbor is a greedy welfare-loving, drug taking, and unemployed villain from New Hampshire!

Now this is all stuff that has become de rigueur with our Governor. But then LePage offered up one last nugget of crazy that sent me spiraling into this rage. He implied that young people should get rid of their Blackberries, iPhones and iPads and instead buy health insurance with that money.

Because yes, Paul LePage, the youth of Maine cannot afford healthcare because we have spent all our money on smartphones! I am so glad you’ve discovered the problem. Tomorrow morning I’m going to stroll right in to ATT, cancel my iPhone and then use the $70 I’m saving a month to buy health insurance. Oh wait! What’s this you say, Anthem? I can’t buy health coverage for $70!? Wait, you want a minimum of $325 a month for a catastrophic plan with a $5,000 deductible? No way! Governor LePage made it quite clear that if I stopped paying for my high tech gadgets I’d be able to afford health insurance on my yearly salary of $16,000. WRONG!!

Diagram comparing the cost of a smartphone and health insuranceI am horrified that LePage alluded that the youth of Maine could afford healthcare if they would simply stop spending their money on gadgets. It truly shows how out of touch he is with my age group.  My phone is a necessity, not a luxury. How could I find or keep a job in this economy without a phone. And compared to health insurance, a smartphone is a bargain.

I am thrilled to be back in my home state after college. But the job market is rough and I am considered underemployed. For over a year I went without health insurance. I have an autoimmune disorder and I could not purchase a plan on my own. When I approached Anthem, I was quoted around $500 a month for a catastrophic plan!  And I still have to cover all my medical bills and tests, because the deductible is so high.  So, in essence, I would be double paying.  Catastrophic health insurance is really asset protection. I simply cannot afford it on my income, not with living expenses and college loans. It is not that I was wasting money on my iPhone; it is that even with an extra $70 a month I cannot even begin to afford coverage. I actively lived in fear of every cough, pain and twitch until the miracle of President Obama’s health care reform occurred. Now I am covered until age 26 by my parent’s insurance. This is the biggest relief I have seen since being handed my diploma. But I am scared about what happens when I turn 26. Will there be an affordable health care plan for me then? Or will I return to living in fear of my own health? I cannot afford to pay almost half my income on insurance. With Governor LePage in charge, I doubt there will be a viable option for me when I reach 26. His statement is out of touch with the financial reality of being under 30 in Maine.

So, Mr. Governor, I am begging you. Please stop your angry pattern of bullying and blaming. Stop threatening to hold various branches of government funding hostage to your desires and pitting one program or group against another. Stop cultivating a climate of fear and hate with your hurtful rhetoric. Instead, Sir, please get a grip on reality. Being elected with just 39% of the votes does not give you a mandate to radically destroy our great state.  This past election Mainers spoke loud and clear. We told you we do not want our same-day voting registration taken away. We told you we do not want outside money and businesses coming in to set up casinos. We stood together, across party lines, and said we are sick of the current political climate. So, Mr. Governor, please, get a grip!

In the meantime I am going to go fuel my anger into something productive, such as a delightful apple pie recipe. Maybe, all LePage needs is an outlet for his anger. May I recommend tennis or hockey? Or perhaps, you could take up bread baking.  Kneading bread is a great release for your anger. Or maybe, Sir, you should purchase a Smartphone and start limiting your rage to twitter or perhaps Angry Birds! I hear your healthcare is taken care of so that should free up about $70 for a fancy new iPhone!

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