I will not be casting a vote for David Corbett on November 8th. Nor will I cast a vote for Henry Ingwersen. I can’t; I am a resident of Delaware. I do, however, have a great interest in this decision, seeing it is my dad running on the Republican ticket. What good is my persuasion, then, if my family will not be living under the leadership of these two candidates? I think I have a perspective that is unusual. A son of a candidate? No. A son of a reverend? No. I am someone who left Maine physically, but never left Maine in that deep, hard-to-describe place of existence.
Maine is home. I grew up there; I was grounded there. Funtown and Lisa’s Pizza highlighted my summers. My sneakers were laughed at by my friends because they smelt like fish – it was the price of growing up on a lobster boat. Daily chores included bringing in wood for the winter. La Kermesse and the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl were fun times with friends. I still have my collection of Sea Dog autographs. Kevin Millar learned curse-breaking skills in Hadlock Field, right?
Maine voter: you have something precious here, harsh winters and all. I have lived years in the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, the outskirts of Memphis and now Delaware. I have yet to find a place like Maine. There is a uniqueness that flies well past childhood bias. Mainers are driven, resourceful and purposeful. Again, I have observed this from within the state and without the state. No other state has people so united by a common independence. Oxymoron? Kind of. Mainers are independent but share it generously with their neighbor. It is quite a phenomenon. Mainers do not want a handout, an undeserved day-off, or a free meal. BUT a Mainer would be the first to give all three! Why would a Mainer give what he would not take? Past all the chiseled hardworking persona, Mainers are sincere, empathic people. And you cannot fool a Mainer when it comes to value. They are not fooled by the Vegas lights, the Hollywood façade or the sweet-talking politician. Mainers know what has value: getting up early, working a complete shift, conversation at the dinner table, encouraging a broken friend, being home for the holidays and taking responsibility.
Sadly, I wonder if Maine is beginning to lose some of its uniqueness. Is the Internet taking Mainers away from what they’ve always been? Did the reclusive side of Maine get bombarded with apps and national politics? One issue seems to make this so clear to me: abortion. My dad and his opponent, Henry Ingwersen, differ starkly in regards to the issue. What has been replayed countless times is the scenario in which a presumably, young woman (or young couple) will better herself and her future by subtracting an unwanted pregnancy from her life. People love to run to extremes, but the everyday “on the ground” scenario makes abortion a supposed wise choice for young adults seeking to “make it” or “save their careers.” Perhaps a child will have physical problems that will further complicate the lives of the young adult. Do you see that at the heart of this abortion issue is a quest for the “perfect life” or the “perfect career”? It is at this juncture that Mainers say dryly “there ain’t no such thing, bub.” Perfect life? Perfect career? Right, and the Vegas lights hide their opioid epidemic, right? No one above the Piscataqua River is buying that “gahbage”. Mainers know life is what you make it, rough edges, bad days, black ice and all. Mainers, unaffected by the Hollywood elites, know it’s actually the storms of life that build character and that give each day meaning. True living is finding value in the obstacle; finding meaning in the struggle. “Unwanted” pregnancies are only a burden when the eyes are distracted by the glitter and away from the most valuable things you could never buy.
This takes me to Jeffery. As an educator and a coach, I was blessed to meet, coach, and affect Jeffery. But he has affected me far more than I have ever affected him. He and wife had a troubled pregnancy that led to the doctor using terms like “disabled” and “challenging.” If you know Jeffery, he was a fierce fighter every time he stepped within athletic lines. On the basketball court he would outrebound players eight inches taller than him with fury. At the doctor’s words, he never flinched. The doctor said “disabled” and Jeffery said “she’ll be my girl and no one will protect her like I will.” The little girl was born and survived miraculously. She lives with struggles and hardships and you better believe, she is the joy and the heartbeat of her home. She embodies perseverance and achievement to all who are blessed to observe her. Your eyes will go blurry watching her face light up when her daddy, her protector, walks into the room. Unwanted? The thought is recoiling! Nothing could be further from reality. Jeffery and his wife have treasures that nothing on earth can compare with in value. If you are taking inventory, Jeffery has won the lottery several times over.
Mainers, have we lost something? We protect life because it is sacred and the very thing we treasure. Hardships and disability are not something to avoid at the expense of life. To embrace hardships and disability is to embrace life and to learn values that those infatuated with glamor will never know. These are the values we share. These are the values of Maine. These are the values that give life its meaning.
My dad will stand for life. Please stand with him!
David Corbett Jr., CAA
Delaware Valley Classical School