Letters for Sunday, March 11, 2012

• Praise for road crews • Left-wing hypocrisy • Sound bites and certainty • Our county engineers

Praise for road crews

Now that the windy, cold and wet days have passed (for the moment) I would like to send a big mahalo to the people who have been working day and night to repair the roads.

These county, state and private employees have endured standing in running water and unstable mud to move tons of earth and countless downed trees.

Some of this work has been dangerous. All of the work has been necessary in order for our island community to return to normal.

Many of my friends have also expressed their gratitude. We noticed.

Wicki Van De Veer, Hanalei

Left-wing hypocrisy

There are few examples of left-wing hypocrisy more blatant than the Limbaugh “slut” remark and resultant Big Media melt-down.

Here’s a 30 year-old law student with a history of liberal activism who wants taxpayers to pick up her tab for The Pill. Yet it’s a popular conservative’s ad hominem that’s the story — not the fact that a career liberal who puts out fifty grand a year for an elite law school wants free condoms.

But more important, where were the two left wing “journalists” Steve and Cokie Roberts, when conservative commentator Laura Ingraham was called a “slut” by leftist hack Ed Schultz, not because of any promiscuous sex life but because she’s a conservative?  

Even more telling is the deafening liberal silence accorded the atrocious left wing slander heaped on Sarah Palin and her family. Barack Hussein Obama was front and center to condemn Limbaugh. But the same President Obama, who accepted $1 million from the odious liberal Bill Maher, was apparently out buying cigarettes when Maher called Mrs. Palin two far more vile vulgarities than Limbaugh’s.

  When Obama was asked if he would return Maher’s donation, he simply ignored the question and called on one of his reliable suck-up reporters. And he chose to ignore the question because of one reason: he knows he’ll get away with it.   

John Burns, Princeville

Sound bites and certainty

Not since George McGovern, who was basically ignored, and was soundly defeated in his bid for the presidency 40 years ago, have we had a viable candidate for a major political office who has been willing, even when, perchance, capable, to engage the public in serious and effective debate on the substantive issues facing us.

The rule of thumb (-ing your nose) for a successful pursuit of political office appears to be reliance upon sound bites, simplification, and creating the illusion of certainty.

After serving in the armed forces during WW II, George McGovern returned to his basically rural heritage where he became active in politics.  

He had been raised in a Republican family, but first registered to vote as an Independent, then worked as an activist for the Progressive Party, arguing against America’s peacetime draft, and opposing British and American domination of the Middle East. Like most third parties in America, the Progressive Party was largely ignored, and McGovern became a Democrat after hearing a provocative speech by Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson.

He ran for President in 1972, and was given little chance of securing his party’s nomination.

 Republicans, however, saw McGovern as the weakest Democratic opponent, so the Nixon campaign targeted Ed Muskie, the current frontrunner, with inflammatory sound bites and dirty tricks, including a smear campaign against Muskie’s wife, which led to Muskie’s rejection and McGovern’s nomination.

 Running on a promise to end the Vietnam war, bring home the troops and prisoners held by the Vietnamese, and offering amnesty for draft evaders who had fled the country, he willingly and openly engaged the general public in open and meaningful debate on the real issues facing our country.

In a world as complex and complicated as the one in which we now live we cannot tolerate the “dirty politics” of mere political sound bites, simplification, and proprietary certainty, yet there seems to be little tolerance for sound debate, simplicity, and the strength and integrity of living courageously in the face of uncertainty.

Robert P. Merkle, Koloa

Our county engineers

Most of you will join me in congratulating County Engineer Larry Dill, his staff and volunteers for their virtually 24-hour days combating the Storm of the Decade, enduring horrendous weather conditions. We all read or heard about the extensive damage to our island’s infrastructure, and many saw how these stalwarts fought hard to minimize damage and keep safety and traffic first in mind.

Did you know they worked most of the night to grade and asphalt a temporary bypass around the sinkhole on Kuhio Highway in Kilauea? How they managed traffic to get stranded North Shore visitors to the airport efficiently and safely? How they cleared a major landslide to open the Kalihiwai River bridge? I’m sure there was much more that I couldn’t see and compliment them on.

Isn’t it a good feeling to see county leaders and staff doing the right thing and expeditiously? Maybe some of their focus, skills and zeal will rub off on others in our county government, both elected and staff.

Tom Rice, Princeville

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