Creating small pockets of anarchy
I’m no Scrooge; Christmas lights in season are a colorful and joyful addition to the holidays. However, our HOA stipulates that the lights not be activated until Nov. 18. This year, posts on the homeowners’ Facebook page became an echo chamber of “Who are they to tell me when I can turn on my lights? Let them stop me.” And on came the lights soon after Halloween, first a few and then dozens, obscuring the beauty of the stars for an extra few weeks.
It’s not just the night sky, though. There’s a trend to more and more selfishness in our community and our country. For example, shouldn’t attention be paid to our city’s water restrictions during a drought? One of these restrictions is to use a shut-off nozzle when washing anything with a hose. But wander the development on a summer day and any number of homes have owners scrubbing or waxing their cars while water runs from hose ends and into the gutter.
Those octagonal signs on posts at many street corners? Personal observation indicates that roughly a third of drivers think the sign says “Yield” or even “Do whatever you want at this corner.” For them, “Stop” appears to be one of those four-letter words and is, at most, a suggestion. Even at the four-way stop at the local elementary school. Even when kids are using the crosswalks associated with the stop signs. “I’m going to drive however I want” is more important to these people than the safety of others.
Our most recent ex-president set the example of such behavior. He used his time in the most powerful position in the United States to flaunt the normal constraints of his office as well as the usual expectations of decorum, saying with his actions, “Who cares? Let them stop me.” And, with few exceptions, no one did.
Expectations and informal agreements, rules and laws — these are all good things until some percentage of the populace decides to ignore them. What then? If there’s no consequence to the noncompliance, there is anarchy. And anarchy is incompatible with democracy and with rational society.
Those who create small pockets of anarchy in a development, or even on an individual street corner, are selfish. They are imposing “I want” on everyone nearby without consideration for others’ wants or needs. And those who exhibit a preference for anarchy at a high level, such as at the top of government, are thumbing their noses at the many who depend on sufficient wages, healthy living conditions, and the very framework of democracy.
Teachers need our support
This is in response to the Tuesday Gazette’s Viewpoint “Make 2022 the year of education reform.” I object to the statement that new school board members should “invite, encourage and welcome parents into the classroom to observe and critique teachers and the instructions they provide.”
I would love for more parents to visit classrooms, and I would encourage them to spend at least one full day there. They would be able to observe firsthand the struggles that teachers face daily trying to create a welcoming and accepting environment for students, many of whom have returned to the classroom this year bereft of social and emotional skills.
They could see how much time it takes to assure that all students are treated with respect so that an environment is created where learning can take place. Besides providing in-person and possibly online instruction, parents could see the other duties that teachers are expected to perform at school, I would encourage parents to observe and, rather than critique, take notes and formulate questions to ask the teacher about things they might not agree with or don’t understand.
Then make an appointment and ask those questions.
The parent, unless he or she is also a teacher, is not the professional educator here. I fear there will be a mass exodus of teachers from the profession this year if they don’t get the encouragement and support they need. Most love teaching, but they can make more money with less stress elsewhere.
Hawaiian islands’ rules vary
Hawaii Islands vary in their rules regarding COVID. Oahu rules require proof of full vaccination or recent negative test to enter public venues. In contrast, Hawaii Island (The big Island) has no such requirement. Equating Oahu rules to Big Island rules and implying that a previous Gazette letter writer was incorrect reflects a misunderstanding of differences in rules on each island in the state of Hawaii.
Moreover as a Big Island resident, I take exception to the statement that only 80% of residents do not wear masks indoors. I believe this is due to the fact that as a visitor he was only exposed to tourist-heavy venues (Kona), our Aloha attitude keeps us from challenging nonmask wearers. On the less touristy side of the Big Island (Hilo), I see full compliance with masking in public venues, the only exception being masks off when seated in a restaurant.
The state has one of the highest vaccination rates in the US and low infection rates. You are safe to visit using the safe travels protocols before arrival (vaccine or recent negative test) and won’t have problems if you if you are cognizant of specific island differences.
GOP and government handouts
A recent op-ed piece by Catherine Rampell should be read by all conservatives who think that Democrats are wasting money with “left-wing pet projects.” Those same Republicans don’t complain when money is spent to help them.
Rampell gives examples of government funds provided to Republican states and congressional districts, which their GOP governors and representatives were happy to accept. For that aid, there was no complaint about waste or pork barrel spending.
For Republicans it’s money for me, good. Money for you, bad. These “fiscal conservatives” become liberal when they accept government handouts.
David J. Baker