Letters for Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
• Federal money better spent on homeless • Ovens for the elderly • Activists need to accept compromise, be civil • Fresh Fujis don’t rot
Federal money better spent on homeless
A total of $5.2 million dollars — wow that’s a lot of cash for us federal taxpayers to give to the federal funds to fund one mile of the multi-use path, don’t you think?
Then if there is some kind of damage to the path, it will take us state taxpayers to fund the damages that need to be repaired.
On another thought, couldn’t the feds invest the money to better use? Don’t get me wrong, the path is good. But here one Kaua‘i we have a lot of homeless people.
Most of them at some time or another paid into the federal tax system.
We say that we want to keep these homeless out of sight from tourists. Why then, didn’t we ask the federal government during the planning process of the multi-path to put the funding into a federal housing for the homeless instead?
Those homeless who have some kind of Social Security income could have been charged a small rental fee. This fee would go back into the federal funds.
Isn’t it sad that a small percent of Kaua‘i’s people got their way? Why can’t the homeless have shelter to protect them from the elements (wind, rain, or heat from the hot summer sun) over their heads?
Ovens for the elderly
Dear Mr. Lewis, you are certainly right in your lengthy column about Social Security (Jan. 27, “It’s time to take some fiscal responsibility”). How dare Americans live longer? If only Mitt — your guy — had been elected, that little problem could be easily solved. Ovens for those who dared overstay their welcome.
Peace and Love.
Activists need to accept compromise, be civil
There is a familiar pattern to modern politics and activism.
Let’s call it “neoactivism.” There are established stages to activism, regardless of it being left or right or local or national.
The stages used to be: 1) problem recognition 2) mobilization 3) confrontation 4) negotiation 5) resolution. All that’s changed.
Today, problem recognition is made by a relative few (eg: special interest group leaders, Rupert Murdoch) and distributed via sources that cater to those already on one side; awaiting their spin.
Mobilization is a constant. Partisan sides have been rigidly decided and taken. People blog over issues throughout the day, everyday.
The confrontation stage has become presentation of propaganda, demonizing the target, in media or settings that were designed to be neutral (eg: newspapers, community meetings).
A new, “purity” stage frequently overlaps confrontation. Uncivil, obnoxious comments can establish one’s “purity” within the group. They certainly are not produced, as often proclaimed, to educate or persuade; but, rather to impress one’s own cheerleaders. Today, we repeatedly read the same myths and falsehoods about the multi-use path despite the repeated, patient ten-year efforts to refute the uninformed claims.
Nationally, we observed conservative ideology purity purges during the Republican primary campaigns of last year. The purity stage can completely break up a mobilization into factions, weaken and bring a de facto end to the activism.
With neoactivism, the negotiation stage is skipped altogether because compromise is not to be tolerated (and will be viewed as impure) when the confrontation stage has elevated the cause to “saving Kaua‘i” or “saving the nation” or “saving all humanity.”
Witness the continued effort to stop the Wailua section of the multi-use path despite all of the delaying, expensive mitigation of the concerns and the start of construction.
The resolution stage has become either electoral or judicial.
Integrity and honesty departed at an early stage.
Like littering, everyone complains about uncivil politics and activism. Like littering, it’s solvable. Like littering, it begins with the individual. Resist the peer pressure.
Return to honorable stages of activism. Insist on negotiation. Accept compromise. Have a “I’m losing perspective” alarm for when you think you’re “saving the world” or “the Island.” Activism should be another way we try to get along and not the means to render that impossible.
Fresh Fujis don’t rot
I had to laugh when I read the letter on Monday about the non- rotting apple (Jan. 28, “Why don’t the apples rot?”). I am not a nutritionist. I am a grandmother who grew up in Washington State which is famous for its apples.
Each year my parents would buy a big crate of fresh apples in the fall and put them in a storage bin outside our back door. They lasted all winter.
Instead of calling Linda Bothe a communist (as she suggested) let me suggest that perhaps that somehow she got a hold of a fresh Fuji and that is why it didn’t rot. My apples rot just fine.