Letters to the editor: 11-01-19

Easy experiment on the great divide

Here’s a sobering experiment you can try, right in the safety of your own living room. The only equipment you need is one working TV. The next time a significant news story comes on, watch the coverage on your network of choice. Then, change channels and watch the coverage on the competition. For best results, use CNN and Fox. The strange sensation you are experiencing is called polarization.

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For those of you whose political worldview (or loyalty) freezes you from clicking the remote, you can achieve similar results by simply watching politicians from opposite sides of the divide being interviewed on the same topic. Caution — you may come away wondering if they are even talking about the same issue.

So how have we become so polarized? Perhaps the most convenient answer is to blame the Oval Office. After all, shouldn’t the president be all about uniting our country? Or, is it that simple? I suggest that the divide can be dated BT (Before Trump).

There was a time, not too long ago, when middle ground was easier to find. Issues like foreign trade, economic policies, welfare, border security, and such, certainly had loud voices on each side of the fence. But, at least the fence did not seem so electrified. If we needed a compromise, at least it was reachable. There was a bit more fluidity between left and right.

I submit that two social issues emerged, that by their very nature gave us very little room for middle ground.

Caution — I am guessing your polarization pulse will be increased by a few points, whichever side you happen to be on, as we expose these two divisive topics. They are abortion and same-sex marriage.

Those two made it harder (some might prefer clearer), to camp in neutrality. Now, for some, it is no longer just social. It is moral. Now, you are either left or you are right. Now, you are liberal or you are conservative. Now, you watch either CNN or you watch FOX. Now, you are wondering, “Which side is this guy camping on?”

I am not embarrassed to call myself a Christ-follower, who believes in the absolute truth of the Bible. And, if all of a sudden, you feel the need to place “phobic” at the end of some word to describe me, might I request it be theophobic. A healthy reverence for my creator has gone a long way to give me great peace and assurance in these divisive times.

However, rest assured, it is not the purpose of this letter to convert anyone to my side. I simply wanted to help explain the tension that many out there, on both sides, might be feeling.

Bruce Campbell

President, Kona Ministers Fellowship

Mahalo to library helpers

The Friends of Thelma Parker Library would like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who put in so many hours counting and cleaning up during the October 2019 Count Week. The Friends and staff are grateful for all those who were able to work the extra hours.

Carol Buck and Chris Dunlap

Co-Directors of Volunteers

Editor’s note: The following letter is rerunning in its entirety because a previous version included incorrect information on the author.

Where was rule of law back when?

For this past year, since the protests began about Maunakea, public figures like Mr. Blangiardi, the manager of KGMB news, and Sen. Inouye have been tossing around the concept of the “rule of law” like it was a legal fundamental Frisbee.

I haven’t heard so many people embrace the concept since I was in law school. Where was the “rule of law” when the Hawaiian Monarchy was illegally annexed by the US. in 1898? Congress said, “Hey, that’s OK. It’s all good.”

Where was the “rule of law” when over 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent were put in concentration camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese? The US Supreme Court said, “Hey, these are all potential spies. It’s all good.” More importantly, where were the protesters?

In a country that seems to have lost it’s way and currently appears to be going nowhere except downhill, the idea of people protesting civilly in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Dr. Benjamin Spock has been long forgotten.

Thank god there are people who are willing to peacefully stand up for something that is bigger than all of us — the idea of protecting a culture, a way of life. As the great author Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) said, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.”

There will always be more telescopes.

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Sean Gallagher HFD ret.

Big Island