Civility and community
The storm is currently raging outside my home. The turbulent winds whistle through the panes, the stalwart evergreen trees are swaying as the horizontal rain blows across the landscape.
The weather today is a characterization of my internal struggle to serve community. I have loved my work over the last 20+ years in local government but I’ve never felt so sad and disappointed. Our community is broken and a shadow of its former self, and progress forward can only occur if we work together. Admitting the problem is the first step. This brief letter today is about us.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve all experienced an agitation in our community whether it be about the coronavirus, political divisions, or civil unrest. My guess is that most residents want peace, to survive a pandemic, to love family and friends, be kind to neighbors and strangers, respect other people’s rights even if they don’t align with their individual belief system, and for things to go back to “normal.”
If we want to truly move our community forward, we must address the issues surrounding our divide and learn to communicate with one another again. The work will not be easy. I challenge you to actively listen and hear opinions that do not align with your own. In the mis-attributed words of Walt Whitman and stated by my most recent favorite fictional Kansan, Ted Lasso — “be curious, not judgmental.”
Learn to ask questions, debate in a respectful manner, make friends with that have differing views than you. Take the time to value your fellow community members. We have more in common than what divides us.
The responsibility to drive change is in all our hands. Your hand must be open to embrace someone else’s hand as your heart and mind must be opened to truly accept your neighbor.
Editor’s note: Deschenes is interim city manager for the City of Sequim.
‘We must do better’
An examination of hundreds of health departments around the country shows the nation may be less prepared for the next pandemic than it was for the current one (“Why Public Health Faces a Crisis Across the U.S.” (New York Times, Oct. 18).
In 1966, newly married, my first job was with a county health department in the small farming town of Colfax, Washington. My job title was sanitarian (environmental health specialist), duties ranging from sanitary inspection and permitting of restaurants and school food services, issuing food handler permits, etc., and an occasional game of pool with my boss. He took me on knowing I knew little about the job. It was a wonderful, lucky experience. With a newborn baby and his working mother a nurse, not knowing anyone in town, it was a nuclear, self-contained experience. But we pulled through.
I reference this as a context for the article. The greatest lesson was the underpinning of what was to follow through my 46 years in public health. Encouraged by my boss, I went on to earn a master’s degree in public health. Other jobs and transitions, and two more family additions followed. I was fortunate to have the support of my wife Sharon as we traveled from town to town as a young family.
But etched in my DNA was the dynamics, authority and importance of public health in this unit, the county, that defines public health in America.
Now at its lowest point, as the article describes, it seems like a terrible personal, community and national loss to see this important resource denigrated and under-resourced. We can and we must do better than this.
U.S. is not racist
A little frustration is people move in from bigger cities and want to bring the same politics to Sequim.
Racism is not a problem like city council candidate Lowell Rathbun seems to think. I don’t find the U.S. to be racist. I am of Hispanic descent. I grew up with kids being cruel and calling me certain names comparable to the “N” word. Racism is ignorance if you dislike someone because of what they are. But how can the USA be a racist country? Let’s start by acknowledging it’s not mine or anyone’s responsibility to teach people not to be racist. We show that in our actions. It also should be taught at home.
When there is a police officer or a firefighter or EMT going to help someone, they don’t ask the person’s race. They go and they help, regardless of color or nationality.
Do we honestly think a country that voted in the first family of color could be racist? Have you noticed how many politicians have been voted in who are Muslim, Hispanic, Black, Asian, etc., in both parties?
Americans have good hearts and most of them have open arms.
Many individuals have spent lots of money, time and energy to become legal citizens of the USA the right way; I have several in my family. What makes people think they have the right to just walk into our country and live here without doing it the right way?
If we are so horrible, why do so many people want to live here? Many types of groups, especially Marxist type groups, create the notion that America is racist, convince people of that and create turmoil and violence. These people are small-minded. If you want to make situations better, do something about it. Don’t go out and meet up in groups that create problems and accuse people of being racist.
No ‘free lunch’ here
Trillions of “free” dollars seemingly created out of thin air and trillions more promised! Well, not really free. Eventuality someone, somewhere and somehow will have to pay for these political giveaways that seem never enough to satisfy all the wants out there.
If the COVID doesn’t do us in maybe we will founder ourselves into oblivion with all the “free” lunch!
Politicians never let a good crisis go to waste and this one “takes the cake!”
The “not so hidden” tax, inflation, has already reared its head and consumers are and will be paying much more for their cost of living.
Housing has jumped to unaffordable levels for many, along with fuel and other essentials.
I fear the worst for our younger generations ensnared in this debt trap with no honest way to get even, much less ahead! There is simply no way 25 trillion and counting can be worked off!
It sickens me our so called leaders are making beggars and paupers of our young people who will be perpetually indentured to public debt and therefore inadvertedly subservient to their government. Their vote, if they vote, will be for the candidates who offers them not freedom and opportunity, but socialism on a platter!
Hiding information is troubling
What is concerning is that the (Sequim) school board wants to hide anything from parents.
They should be fired for breaking faith with the families and teachers who they are serving.