Guest Editorial

Monday, September 29th, 2014

“A (stewed) chicken in every pot.”
So it was a bit later in the afternoon, already past lunch hour…
Standing at the counter at Briana’s this meant no wait or lines, but also the worrisome chance that all the food might be gone! The “lunch special” of the day certainly would be. So optimistically and politely, I asked, “Do you still have rice & beans? And if so, can I order two please, to go…”
“Would you like white meat or dark?” replied the woman behind the counter, smiling.
“Hmmm… dark I suppose, but it does not really matter.”
After all, I knew the effort behind each was the same -made with conscience and care, with respect for both the ingredients and the customer, the results being consistent and delicious.
“Right now…” she said.
A freshly printed edition of the week’s San Pedro Sun sat on the counter. “Do you mind if I look at this?” I asked. Standing there paging through the paper, one thing immediately became obvious: we’re approaching elections. Pages were filled with promises, picture ads, more promises and catch phrases. On the front page sadly, was more typical election fare – a breaking story about yet another scandal of subjects all too familiar: land misappropriation at the detriment of the environment, back door deals to conjure favoritism and cajole votes, all topped off with a healthy dose of finger pointing, indignation, pontification, accusations and flat out denial… from both sides.
I shook my head disappointed, though not terribly surprised.
“You realize,” I said to the woman at the counter while pointing to the headline, “that this has NOTHING to do with party affiliation. Red, Blue, Blue, Red, Red, Blue… it’s all rather meaningless, at least with respect to FIXING the problems we all face.”
This caught her attention, as well as that of a customer eating lunch. Both looked at me surprised… So I continued.
“I mean really… there is only one group that can ever begin to address all this, let alone hope to improve things… and that’s us, the community as a whole, ALL OF US. After all, if we knowingly allow, REPEATEDLY allow, things like this to happen, we ultimately have no right to exclude OURSELVES from the blame.”
I turned to the fellow finishing his lunch…
“The next time you run across one of our elected officials ask them this…” I suggested…
“Do you have kids? Or grand kids? If yes, then tell me…How much money would it take, how much money would have to be put in YOUR pocket today, for you to comfortably sell off the future of this island out from under your kids, from under your grand kids? Knowing that the island will be worse off, how much money NOW would make it worth it to you? What’s your price tag for our future? Surely you must have a price?”
The man finishing lunch, the woman behind the counter and myself all agreed that that patent reply from ANY politician of course, would be that “there is no price worth compromising the future.” Yet that is exactly what is happening. It’s happening largely because we allow it to.
“Here is your lunch,” the woman said as she handed me the food she had prepared. She then paused, nodded and said, “I agree with what you are saying.” I smiled back.
So I have no idea if she was Red or Blue. I have no idea if the man I spoke to was Blue or Red. Perhaps they were both Purple? I myself espouse no allegiance other than to the color of common sense.
Conscience.Care.Respect.
Surely if we demand (and receive) such from the person we choose to stew our chicken, it’s not too much to expect and receive the same from the people we choose to steer our community. After all, “a chicken in every pot” is of little promise if we can’t stomach the taste.

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