Although I’ve discussed the idea of two Maines being the difference between northern Maine and southern Maine, in my experience there has been an attempt to create two Maines in my own hometown. Where I’m from in central Maine, Orono, is thought to be a fairly bougie part of the region, which may seem like an oxymoron.
The term “from away” and the discussion of it are often in reference to people from U.S. states other than Maine. However, a population not usually considered when speaking about people “from away” is Maine’s immigrant population.
As of 2013, the median family income of a student from Bowdoin is $195,900, and 69 percent of students come from the top 20 percent of household incomes in the U.S. This means that for over two thirds of the student body, in the four years they are at Bowdoin they will feel they share a space with students who come from a class background similar to their own.
Paul Richard LePage could potentially be Maine’s governor again. Lepage is the man who vetoed Medicaid expansion seven times and who bragged about an evidence binder of racially-targeted crimes that he falsely claimed showed more than 90 percent of the drug dealers arrested in the state were Black or Hispanic.
It’s not uncommon for those from out-of-state to have their opinions about Maine shut down for the simple reason that they are “from away.” In the eyes of Mainers who are especially territorial, no matter how long your residency here has been, if you’re not born here, you will never know what you’re talking about when you speak on any aspect of Maine.
As a Bowdoin student from central Maine, I have begun to realize that, in many ways, Maine is like two different states. To the Bowdoin students who are used to the liberal and welcoming politics of Brunswick and the greater Portland area, there is confusion as to how someone like Paul LePage was able to become the leader of such a seemingly open-minded state.