Who’s wrong? The other guy!

Recent letters and editorials in the Islander inspired Bainbridge resident Joe Honick to raise his pen and made a toast to young voices.

After reading all of the colloquies and editorials over the past few weeks, I could not help but remember one of the funniest scenes in the musical hit Fiddler on the Roof.

In this scene, the village leader, a milkman no less, named Tevye, is approached by a businessperson who complains about his competitor. Tevye assures the complainer he is correct. But the competitor, target of the complaint screams about the complaint and again is assured by Tevye he is also correct.

Finally, a bystander hearing all of this says: “Tevye, he’s right; he’s right; how can they both be right?”

In his simple wisdom, Tevye the Milkman, responds: “And you are also right!”

What we have read in Islander editorials and letters is the collective wisdom of everyone who is totally convinced of his or her commentary, something that tells us the democracy lives. If all this were occurring in a schoolyard, the principal would doubtless call for an assembly to address all the grievances because no one could be heard or understood otherwise and because no one is apparently listening to anyone else.

And, frankly, the reality is that hardly anyone is listening to anyone else, but we’re all sure who is wrong: the other guy!

I’m not smart enough to know which of the verbal combatants in all of this is correct or what combination of opinions makes the most sense. But a nice bright young man named Bob Scales touched on an important point but regrettably had to color his vital idea with some more of the why the other guy is wrong. He called for greater community involvement. But the part of the community almost never seen at Council meetings or other similar venues are the generation of parents and younger folks who are omnipresent only at the “All Comers” racing contests, leaving most of the vocal and written commentary to the wonderful but mostly retired folks of the community.

So, I would hope those younger folks, parents and single men and women, who toil daily for living and also pay the taxes on this Island…and are often business people as well…my hope is that they will enter the “assembly” to be heard and to contribute to the dialog so that not only the old time insiders and aspiring politicians monopolize the debate, well intended and passionate as these ‘more mature’ folks may be.

If all those fine people would become part of the discussion, perhaps then we could all eventually raise a toast “To Life!”

Joe Honick

Bainbridge Island