By Margie Doyle
I had a good, if quirky education. For example, I’ve known what parthenogenesis meant since I was 16 and it was explained to me that virgin births are, in fact and science, possible, documented in other species, if not in humans.
And though I grew up on one side of the Iron Curtain, during the blanketed terror of the Cold War, I was taught first and foremost to love my neighbor as myself, to think of others; and to value goodness above all else.
Well, then came my introduction to American politics, with the explanation that democratic meant “of the people” — or more precisely “of citizens” and republican meant “of public affairs;” that democracy meant “government by majority rule” and republicanism meant “government by representatives.”
Then came the Libertarians, whom I understood to represent those who guarded personal rights in the face of government regulation and restriction. Conservatives were those who felt it was of paramount importance to “conserve” the values and principles on which the country was founded.
In the county council election this year, there was much talk of “partisanship.” If I were to explain the active “parties” in this local election, it would not be democrats or republicans, but more property rightists and environmental protectionists, or more targeted, Common Sense Alliance and Friends of the San Juans. It appeared that their followers were more involved in public matters than the Democratic or Republican Party. So the argument about partisan or non-partisan seemed specious? to me.
All prelude to meetings in these past weeks where, along with the Exchange Design, Eastsound Planning Review, School Bond discussions, the Friends of the San Juans joined with Futurewise to discuss Shorelines and Boundaries in consideration of the county’s process through the Shoreline Management Plan update, and the Eagle Forum’s annual meeting included discussions about OPALCO’s broadband vision and the San Juan’s National Monument designation.
And I got to thinking about the similarity between the two groups if you consider their basic missions: the Friends, to conserve for future sustainability the environment and “natural capital” of our natural environs; and the Eagle Forum, to conserve the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty and governmental restrictions.
It’s not that I’m unprincipled or radical; it’s just that I think they both speak truth, and both speak truth to power.
For example, slides shown by the Friends and Futurewise showed the catastrophic results of bulkheads on feeder bluffs; points made by Daniel Himebaugh, attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, illustrated the disproportionate and unconnected regulations some governments apply in what appears to be a disingenuous show of “protecting” the environment.
And who benefits? Those who are trying to preserve Constitutional rights against governmental heavy-handedness or those who are trying to preserve the environment for the future benefit of all? Neither.
I’d like to challenge a board member of the Friends to commit to be a conserve rights and environment spokesperson on the Eagle Forum and likewise, challenge an Eagle Forum board member to be a conserve the environment and rights spokesperson on the Friends board. And thereby challenge the boards to welcome such liaisons.
Further, how about other “polarized” organizations to welcome their counterparts to regular meetings or dialogues with each other?
We use different words and different emphasis, based on our own experiences. We speak the same language.