Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Maine is Gucci

Al Diamon

Having talked to a millennial, I’m now an expert on that generation.

Or I would be if I were dank enough to understand millennial-speak. TBH, I’m as shook as any old person when it comes to getting the high key on young people.

Which means I have only a slightly better grasp of the situation than state officials, who are frantic to stop the exodus of millennials from Maine. To that end, they’ve proposed a number of initiatives designed to make the country’s oldest state more on fleek. Unfortunately, their concept of millennials is about as snatched as my use of their slang.

I’ll stop if they will.

Among the ideas aimed at keeping younger people (defined as anyone who isn’t dead) in Maine is to help pay off college debt. Companies that hire millennials would make payments on those loans and get tax breaks in return. In other words, everyone else would pay for this.

Another proposal calls for the state to forgive the borrowing if a young person agrees to live and work in Maine for five years after graduation. In other words, everyone else would pay for this.

Also, the state would designate an official rap song. One that’s cool, but without profanity. Or misogyny. Or violence. Or racism. Or … you can see why this isn’t going anywhere.

The weird thing is Maine is already well positioned to appeal to millennials, even without bribery schemes or phony efforts to appear hip. Through a bit of foresight and a hefty dose of luck, the state blundered into a series of political decisions that could make it a millennial magnet.

Let’s start with abortion. This procedure has been legal all of millennials’ lives. If (when) the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, that generation is going to notice that right no longer exists. Young women, who are not likely to accept being told by the state what they can do with their bodies, will consider gravitating to places where their right to choose is protected. Maine is among the securest of those locations. Even when anti-abortion Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the Legislature after the 2010 elections, they didn’t dare attempt to pass any serious abortion restrictions because they feared voter backlash.

The next Maine attraction is LGBTQ rights. Millennials consider issues of gender identity a personal matter that needs no government involvement. Marry whomever you like. Use the public restroom of your choice. Be as ambiguous as suits you when designating your sex on your driver’s license. This state has long recognized its legal responsibility to treat everyone equally, and it’s made strides in doing so socially. We’re not perfect, but we’re getting better.

Finally, there’s marijuana. The jolly green is legal here, as most millennials think it should be. Medical pot is readily available, and stores selling it for recreational purposes will be opening once the Legislature finishes making the regulations sufficiently complex that no one who’s inhaled a little Alice B. Toklas will ever decipher them. Again, not perfect, but as long as the black market is thriving, it’s acceptable.

I’m not saying millennials are only interested in sex and drugs. They also want good jobs, high-speed internet and avocado toast. But they do care about respect, personal privacy and common sense. Once this generation compares Maine to states doing an imitation of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” they’ll discover we’re lit.

If you think you’re more woke than me, email

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19 Responses »

  1. Don't forget another important area- with the rising numbers of people willing to identify themselves as atheists, non-believers or agnostics, our Yankee attitude of "my religion, my business" is a breath of fresh air for young people who are accustomed to the stifling "Let me tell you about my relationship to Jesus" lifestyles in many states.

    Now we just need to address those jobs...

  2. I'm thinking Maine will gain population when Florida floods, Arizona is out of water and California is burnt to a crisp. We just need to be patient and they will come.

  3. Al, You dream, dreams are good, living life thinking they will come to fruition, is another matter. Kids today want the Hoover deal, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." only instead of a chicken and a car, it is filet mignon and a BMW. Hoover was probably the best example of a RINO as there ever will be. He touted an end to poverty in the nation, and thanks to his gum flapping, he caused a market saturation on cars and manufactured goods there was no way to sustainable economic growth and it caused the stock market to crash. Millennials and aging socialists want the government to pay for everything, which will bankrupt the country. If the government pays the loans of millennials, how does that teach them to be responsible adults? Enough with the hand holding, they need to learn to live with the student debt that 4 years and a sociology degree may not have been the smartest decision to make.

  4. it seems like people of a certain age feel that anybody younger than them must be a "millennial." i suppose they can't be blamed, as the term's definition has been a source of disagreement. but the general usage reflects a consensus that millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. this means that many of the eldest of them are now late-thirty-something professionals, if they were lucky enough to successfully navigate the wake of their parents' utter destruction of the economy. at any rate they probably aren't spending a lot of time fretting about getting high. and i've never heard a millennial use "gucci" as an adjective.

    I’m not saying millennials are only interested in sex and drugs

    that's good, because it would be a pretty stupid thing to say about a generation struggling to individuate from boomer parents who basically invented the cliche. statistically millennials have fewer partners on average than the baby boomers did, and engage in less casual sex. the l.a. times attributes this trend to

    A culture of overwork and an obsession with career status, a fear of becoming emotionally involved and losing control, an online-dating milieu that privileges physical appearance above all, anxieties surrounding consent, and an uptick in the use of libido-busting antidepressants

    ok, so maybe drugs are key, after all. just not the ones you're thinking of. on the other end of things, the youngest millenials are now of the age that they've already entered the workforce (in an economy where real wages have not increased since the days when their parents paid for college working summers at mcdonalds), and maybe even graduated with a marketable degree (and crippling debt). if they aren't living hand-to-mouth in their parents' basements, it's probably because they've already found a niche, in- or out-of-state. if state policymakers are "frantic to stop the exodus of millennials," they should probably realize that the damage has been done, and the focus should now be on "anyone who isn’t dead."

    an official rap song. One that’s cool, but without profanity. Or misogyny. Or violence. Or racism. Or … you can see why this isn’t going anywhere.

    if the implication is that such a thing does not exist abundantly, then you're really reaching. how old are we supposed to believe you are, anyway?

  5. Al, while using humor, and picking up on trendy issues, you have kind of hit the nail on the head, especially with abortion. The deep red states will ban it and the deep blue states will allow it. Banning abortion, does not mean it will never happen again and sadly, many young women will be victim of back alley procedures or forced to csrry out pregnancies from rape and/or incest. Personally, I think abortion is a tough choice but I am a man so it is not up to me as I will never need one. Outlawing something rarely solves the problem.

    Another area that will dive population change is education. The states with the worst education systems are historically deep red ones. Everyone makes jokes abut West Virginia and Mississippi.

    Employers seek a well educated work force Maine is a bit of a bellwether as our education system is in decline and look at how our population is starting to recede.

    The current Republican party is Communist. It is pro Russia, pro dictator, advocates state controlled media (Fox news) , weakens intellectualism and spends needlessly on defense. Donny "my dad is from Germany" Trump says he wants us out of wars but is spending more on defense than ever before while he inflates the deficit. Lets face it, the Red party really is Red in the cold war sense. They don't care about freedom.. That is simply the opiate of the masses they spoon feed their followers while they slowly turn us into a Soviet satellite. Under hard core Conservative law, personal freedoms are stripped away, just like Russians dealt with under Communism.

    I bet LePage is looking to get campaign money from Putin for a 2020 Senate run. After all, the Soviet leaders were like circus clowns (Yeltsin was an actual circus clown) and LePage always sounded and acted like Mayor Quimby from the Simpsons. Time to bring back the Alien and Sedition Act. May God Bless these United States and may He share his blessing only with us as why shouldn't t we be so arrogant to think we have an exclusive blessing from God. .

  6. What Drives The Next Generation......... I not sure.. but there is no doubt that you are one that is making America Grate......... yes I spelled that the way I see it...

  7. What Drives, here is an interesting link.
    Some of the bluest states have some of the worst education statistics. Especially the high school graduation numbers.

  8. What drives. Please refrain from procreation it will benefit us all. If you believe the stupid crap on t.v. it will make you part of the problem in our country. They are trying to divide us since 2008 and even with OUR PRESIDENT TRUMP in office the talking heads are still trying. No one is trying to ban abortion so stop spreading that false narrative. After reading your comment I have come to the conclusion that you are extremely liberal and want everyone to get everything free ie.paid for by our tax dollars. Did you go deep in debt for a degree that has NO corresponding job ?
    Perhaps the best thing for many kids graduating today is get an education fit for the area. Plumbers, electricians, truck drivers, carpenters are all in large demand. You can graduate from Mt. Blue and FTC with an CNA certification if you want to be a mechanic you can have a state inspection license and be ASC certified. The need for multiple years of college are behind us if you want a descent career and not spend more of your life in a classroom and want to grow up.
    Lastly Al I know a LOT of millennial kids and most of them don’t smoke marijuana because they did pay attention in school when they were taught drugs were bad. Unlike these idiots making choices that get them narcan administered when they o.d. Yes some do make these bad choices but more and more are not.

  9. Legalized abortion is supposedly an enticement to live in Maine? Wow - we have really sunk to the bottom of the barrel. Every time the Democrat party comes into power, it seems like nothing but death, destruction and depravity follow in its wake.

  10. Let's leave the issue of a wide array of jobs for another column.

    But let's add to this list things like clean air (except near the few paper mills that are left).
    And clean water (isn't there a never ending crystal spring in a small town named Poland?)
    And a wonderful array of changing seasons (10 inches of fresh snow today, April 8th)
    And so much land that rents and housing are cheap (compared to San Francisco)
    And brilliant new brains in Augusta as a quarter of the legislature departs every election
    And plenty of brain exercises as we renumber the exits on the interstates periodically
    And Trump stays away.

  11. Cooky Monster, The rent in San Fransisco is, $3811, the rent in Portland Maine a city mostly inhabited by millennials and former Bostonians, is $1396, the reason the rent is high(er) is that these cities employ a tactic called "gentrification" now what this does, is it forces the let's say, the less desirable people from the city. If somebody can pay $1396 a month in rent, there is a better chance that they will be better people. and that they will have money to spend at the better eateries and boutique stores, that line the streets of the Old Port. Now let's look at our capital, Augusta. That city doesn't practice gentrification(yet) and the average rent is $673. It also has the highest crime rate, maybe linked to the low rent? The cities that practice gentrification seem to think low rent and crime go hand in hand, due to the quality of people that can afford cheap rent.

  12. It seems really weird to see a letter and comments from the generation that made the State the way it today assessing and judging a generation that was just born into an the unstable and uncertain State created by the said, mature generation. Strange letter and even stranger comments.You don't seem to even want to understand this generation but no problem blaming them for being honest. I guess it's the right of passage that every generation gets to blame the other for the things they don't like about the world. Personally, I would rather see taxes invest in tuition at State Schools and Community trade colleges rather than a failed war that cost over 6Trillion. Think about it. War in the middle east has cost about 26M an hour since 2001. No wonder the younger generation is concerned about their education to make a better future for themselves.They have been born into a country at war their entire lives and their taxes will be paying for it long after we are gone.

    HB: Again, where do you get this stuff? "cities that practice gentrification" Developers and landlords are the main force behind gentrification by investing in specific areas of towns and cities all over Maine. Gentrification is kind of an effect of developers and investors marketing a place that was once run down and making it yes, un-affordable to most including Millennial's. It was a big part of the Maine "Open for Business" marketing and downtown improvement grants. It's a double edges sword. Business people in Farmington are also trying to do this on Front street and downtown making rent only affordable for some. Notice any old buildings getting a hip look or brick and barn beam makeover lately? Wilton has been trying to but ... Maybe the new brewery will bring in the coolness a.k.a the fun crowd. Portland was already a desirable place for a big economic growth but the cityhall has also balanced the increase of property investors by providing income based housing and homeless shelters that turn developers off to certain areas of the city.

    Also, a quick google search for the average rent in Portland ME $980 (the ME part is important not OR) which puts your assessment about $416 over today's average. Where did yo get 1396? If a land lord told me my rent was 1396 then I would tell him this is not Walmart I'll just round it up 4$ to an even 1400. lol .Or maybe I'll counter offer with $1395.23 Sorry, having way too much fun with your odd numbers.

  13. I guess I qualify as Gen-X but I have many Millennial friends. Maybe because I chose not to marry or have kids and traveled a lot, lived many different places, worked in sport/ outdoors industry. I guess though I'm in my 40's, I live a similar lifestyle as a millennial--- I'm looking for a place to live+work+experience new things+ I'm NOT looking for a place to stay (isolated) with the same family and friends from birth. I like interacting with the millennial generation because they seem really smart and creative-- their exposure to internet, education, new technology just makes them...really refreshing from my perspective.

    Some people really want to stay in the same place with what is familiar. Some people want to take calculated risk, explore opportunity, careers, locations, different cultures etc. I think the younger people tagged as Millenial have grown up with access/ exposure to the vastness of the world. The world is a huge place, millions of people and things and opportunities to step off into. I think younger people today embrace that. I think also older people that got exposure outside of isolated home towns also embrace that.

    For me, the stinker about living in Maine is....It feels suffocating. Yeah, I'm game to live close to the earth, upta camp, minimalist, survivalist. I can do all that. However, I identify as a citizen of the world. I like experiencing other cultures and ideas and food and religion from around the globe. I DO NOT LIKE being stuck in a isolated, remote, rural small town where my neighbors think driving to Lewiston Auburn is as culture busting and treacherous as flying into LAX would be. The Problem for me in Franklin County Maine's hard to live here, make money here, and be able to go the distances to get a breath of fresh air in Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, NYC etc. Or fly over seas. Or go to Quebec, Montreal. I don't make enough money here to be able to juggle doing my rural Maine thang with my citizen of the world thang. It works better for me to live and work outside of Maine, and just visit my Maine heritage now and then.

    I don't like living here full time because I find the atmosphere very white nationalist. I hear too much about Hitler being OK, gays being bad, immigrants bringing all the problems, anyone not white is a drug dealer welfare queen. I mean, yes, there are people like this everywhere, I just find in a place like Franklin County there is not enough else on the menu. There isn't enough diversity of people or anything else to just toodle off to find your own tribe. These isolated rural towns feel to much like cults.

    Oh, and at this point there's that whole thing that you are or aren't a real Mainer. Well, my family has had our farm over 100years, never owed anything on it, one generation to the next, paid our taxes here since 1900, never a mortgage or loan. Every single one of my family members traveled to work and get education outside Franklin County. They were not rich. They were farmers. My great granddad left school in 6th grade but married a school teacher. They had an outhouse and nothing but a hand cranked pump in the kitchen till the 1980's....but they sent their daughter to Colby. Other family members went in the military. Got degrees, got careers, worked around the country, traveled the world, came back to the area. My family has paid tribute to our Maine heritage by keeping our land, passing it on generation to generation. BUT, it's always been real clear--- you have to leave this area for awhile to make money and experience life, the world, the options out there.

  14. I am not sure what is keeping anyone 'here' that don't want to be here... I say get out of here... If necessary start a Go Fund Me account.... Or I will drive ya down to the Turnpike entrance and you can put your thumb out.... I done that years ago... hitchhiked... Probably best for all of us... if you don't want to be here... just leave..

  15. Exodus-er,,,
    Thanks for a good laugh.
    Happy trails to you.
    Hope you find what you're looking for,,
    After you figure out what that is.
    Oh,,, you might want to think about growing up.

  16. Exodus-er, I hear Venezuela is perfect for a visit from a free spirit like you. Check out some of the remote mountain trails.

  17. Editor please remove the rude comments by Captain Planet and OMG LOL We need reasonable back and forth and better listening , not nastiness These comments are exactly what Exodus experiences. If someone "from away" dare move here and want the place to change they are criticized for coming here and then wanting the place to change, BUT if they move here and want it to stay the same they can get criticized for not supporting change.I have seen it over and over. Fair to talk about it but politely Mainers are like most humans and can be their own worst enemies . Stay 100 yrs here on the farm and Mainers just thoroughly enjoy telling people they are from away .To what end?? Not nice . Mainers will help anyone out of a jam --over and over I have seen it But be friends with you /be nice?? Or not belittle you for being a "flatlander"(like Wells is mountainous??)
    Tolerance people. Exodus has some points Consider them Others who are not sarcastic may have points Play nice.

  18. With a name like this,it's a wonder that I'm not a cereal killer!

  19. I disagree with you hmm.
    I found the article from exodus-er to be hypocritical and not true from my experience. I am from away and lived here as a teen in the early 70's. Moved back about 3 years ago. I still find the Maine people to be friendly, smart and very self reliant. You get what you give. If you give better than thou attitude Mainers will just give it right back.
    Having lived many places in my life, there are many more insular than Maine. And really, if someone doesn't like it why would they stay? I wouldn't.
    You are correct though, exodus does have some points to consider, first and foremost, don't whine.