By: Ronda Snyder – This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
On July 27, 2021, there was an event at The Crosby Center in Belfast, Maine. The event was put on by Arise USA; Resurrection Tour and Maine Stands Up! Arise USA bills the tour as “Over 111 days, we will hold conferences at 85 stops with local and nationwide speakers in the areas of health, human rights, and constitutional freedom. Be part of the experience. Change the nation. Change the world.” Maine Stands Up Statement of Purpose: We are a community group called Maine Stands Up, which is a branch of Pam Popper’s Make Americans Free Again movement. Our purpose is to support and maintain medical and civil freedoms for ourselves, our families, and our larger communities. We are non-partisan and apolitical. All are welcome here, regardless of political affiliation, faith, creed, nationality, ethnicity, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stand for freedom and build community.
One of the tour organizers, Robert David Steele, is a a former Marine Corps infantry officer, CIA spy, and second ranking civilian in Marine Corps Intelligence. Controversy surrounding comments made by Steele ensued when he made comments regarding Zionism. Steele was labeled a Holocaust denier by detractors. Whether Steele is a Holocaust denier and/or something else entirely is for you, the reader, to decide but there is no doubt he holds some very odd opinions with which many people disagree. Here is a comment from Steele: “The Holocaust happened. Millions died. However, there are several lies by omission that Zionists celebrate and these need to be challenged.” Unlike local media, MJN provides you with the comments made by Steele about the Holocaust so you can form your own opinion. You can read them HERE.
When the event was announced, The Crosby Center was the victim of a cancel culture attempt by the left and received many comments on its Facebook page. Marianne Direso tells the Crosby Center the event should be CANCELLED! The Crosby Center had a very logical and reasonable response to the hysteria from the left.
Now the “Blue Mafia” in the legislature are going after and targeting Representative Heidi Sampson (R-Alfred) for speaking at the event at The Crosby Center. Sampson spoke about election integrity in Maine and provided information about a potential forensic election audit for the 2020 election in Maine to ensure that our elections were fair and correct. Representative Laurie Osher (D-Orono) ironically wants to have Sampson denounced for something Robert Steele said rather than something that Sampson said herself. This level of unawareness, hypocrisy and double standards is astounding as Osher voted to Indefinitely Postpone House Order 11 which called from disciplinary action against Representative Charlotte Warren for words Warren wrote herself. Maine Journal News has Osher’s email to fellow legislators along with a google document she asked legislators to sign by 10 am on Monday, August 2, 2021. Osher writes:
Good afternoon Legislature colleagues,
As some of you may have heard, Rep. Heidi Sampson participated in an event in Belfast on Tuesday evening that was co-organized by Robert David Steele, a known anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist. Her participation in this event and involvement with this individual are problematic.
I live in the United States because my grandparents fled the pogroms in Europe in the early part of the last century. The perpetrators of the violent attacks aimed at eradicating Jews form the shtetls of eastern Europe were encouraged by leaders who allowed hate speech to proliferate – hate speech like that espoused by Steele and condoned by Sampson.
As representatives of all Maine people, it is our duty to lead. Partnering with individuals who demonize members of a minority community in the service of white supremacy is not the type of leadership that Maine needs.
It is our responsibility as elected officials to speak out against associations between our colleagues and those who undermine the safety of our citizens. Please join me in signing onto this letter condemning Sampson’s participation in the event in Belfast and condoning of this peddler of virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Here is the Google Doc Osher asked fellow legislators to sign:
Let’s break this down. Representative Laurie Osher is concerned about the “impact of hateful rhetoric” not made by Representative Sampson but by someone else. Surprisingly, House democrats weren’t concerned about “hateful rhetoric” made by Representative Charlotte Warren when she posted “Straight white men are too emotional to be in politics.” To be clear, the “Blue Mafia” in Maine wants to denounce Representative Sampson for far less than the actions and actual words of Charlotte Warren. Even more astounding is that Osher is basing her information on reporting by The Bangor Daily News. Let that sink in. Osher wants to denounce a fellow legislator based on reporting of Bangor Daily News.
Representative Gary Drinkwater (R-Milford) responded to Osher’s request to sign the above letter to denounce Representative Sampson. “Let me see if I understand this, you read an article in the Bangor Daily News and you believe it is true? I was at the same meeting and there were several speakers, some I agreed with and some I did not. By being there I’m guilty by association? If your against antisemitism then why did you vote to table LD 215? You voted to give Rep Warren a free pass because it’s her right to free speech, but because Rep Sampson went to a meeting you want to censor her. No where did I hear her say she agreed with any of the other speakers. Lets call this what it is, a double standard.” Drinkwater is referring to LD 215, An Act To Require Instruction on the History of Genocide and the Holocaust, which the Democrats voted down including Representative Osher. You may read the text of LD 215 HERE. Well that seems like Hypocrisy 101 by Maine Democrats.
Dave Miramant (D-Knox) is often a voice of reason for Maine Democrats. Miramant also states he will not sign Representative Osher’s letter denouncing Representative Sampson. “I question the rush to silence any voices that present an unpopular viewpoint in a country that stands for free speech. As a lifelong supporter of the ACLU, I have had to watch them defend the right of people to say hurtful and hateful things in order to maintain our freedoms. It’s a hard but necessary part of a democracy. It was horrible that your grandparents had to endure that hate and violence, and there must be no patience or understanding for any violent action such as that. I have watched this country’s commitment to the free expression of different ideas fading over the past several years. I really appreciate having meaningful, civil discussions and look forward to more. I have seen people being shouted down, belittled and shamed for expressing their views and that is unacceptable. For those reasons I will not be signing onto this letter.“
Representative Heidi Sampson who is the target of Representative Osher, made this following statement on her official Facebook page.
Sampson, by all accounts, is a respected member of Maine’s legislature. She received a great deal of support for this statement.
Of course, there were detractors, One detractor, Alyce Ornella, a member of Maine Families for Vaccines apparently still holds a grudge because Sampson opposed LD 798 which was a bill Ornella supported. Ornella says “you were informed about the nature of what you were joining in.” Informed by whom? How? Where? When? According to Sampson who appeared on Mike Violette’s radio program on Legacy 1160 AM this morning, Sampson said “someone said they tagged me in a Facebook post” and said she never saw the tag. This comment from Ornella ends with typical snark “The applause must have felt so good.”
If it weren’t for double standards, would there be any standards at all for Maine Democrats? Representative Osher who is outraged about anti-Semitism voted AGAINST teaching Required Instruction on the History of Genocide and the Holocaust as set forth in LD 215. Robert David Steele wasn’t even scheduled to be a speaker at the event and was not on the flyer for the event. Representative Osher voted FOR indefinite postponement of House Order 11 filed by Representative Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan) to Require Disciplinary Action against Representative Charlotte Warren for her biased and disparaging remarks against fellow legislators.
Twenty-two (22) House Democrats ran unopposed in 2020 giving them the majority in Maine’s House of Representatives and giving them the perceived power to “denounce” fellow legislators who did nothing wrong except attend an event to discuss a Forensic Audit of the 2020 election in Maine. Are Maine legislators only allowed to speak at events at which there are no controversial speakers with wacky opinions and theories without being denounced? According to Representative Osher, the answer is yes – unless it’s a democrat who does it.
This article will be updated as soon as we receive a list of the legislator’s who signed Representative Osher’s letter requesting fellow legislative member denounce Representative Heidi Sampson.