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Hospital stay is preferable to more slogans

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer
9/1/2010

This month instead of an opinion piece per se, I’m providing more of a public service announcement: Enough about Measure B! Please try to forget this whole chapter in our town’s history as quickly and completely as possible and I will try to do the same.

Yesterday, we got the results from the Measure B election, which I obviously haven’t seen yet as I write this opinion piece right now, by which I mean last week.

 

Maybe some of you have noticed that I like to do this, write about something that is about to happen, knowing that my thoughts will be read after the event is over.

You could theorize I do this to avoid giving my actual opinion on the outcome of elections to preserve some mystique about my personal beliefs, but my argument is that I try to do this when I think that a political moment is more significant than the outcome.

In any case, we need to act like this whole episode never happened because otherwise I will have to spin a globe around, pick a random spot, which statistically speaking will probably be in the middle of a large patch of blue, and move there as soon as possible.

Frankly, floating aimlessly in a random body of water, starving to death in utter silence, seems preferable to me compared to the last few months of living in Quincy.

This is because the Measure B discussion has been the overbearing background for my life over that period of time.

The only thing positive I have to say about this situation is that I didn’t have to cover the topic, and I applaud my coworkers who did for somehow resisting the urge to send themselves or other people to the emergency room.

To be realistic I do care about the results of the election. I care very much, as we all do, but over time I have become more concerned about the nature of the discussion than its resolution.

Practically everyone in the hospital district has acted like the outcome of this election will either ensure or avoid the utter destruction of our society.

In reality I think the pathetic nature of the political discussion centered on this election is what threatens to actually accomplish that feat.

Ever since I went off to college, I noticed an amazing phenomenon growing every year when I returned to this town.

Life seemed less divisive; people appeared to be getting along, and doing so increasingly well over time.

I grew up in the middle of the spotted owl debacle. I remember as a small child my parents didn’t talk to me much about the issue, I think because they didn’t want me to be worried about politics at that point in my life.

But eventually I learned about the debate and found it confusing as a child because I cared about animals and about people losing their jobs. What a foolish youth I must have been, actually wishing that the political sphere would recognize that someone could care about two things at once!

In the four years I spent away from this community it seemed that organizations like the Quincy Library Group were actually succeeding in turning community screaming matches into some level of useful discussion.

There are understandable levels of controversy that occur in any community and are ongoing in American society in general at all times, but this Measure B debate has returned us to the time when spotted owls changed neighbors into enemies.

This hospital disagreement became one of those debates that was dominated by slogans, “save our hospital,” “cap the tax,” that suggest they are somehow mutually exclusive.

Wow, silly me, I actually enjoy money and medical services, just like every other person in this county, what a concept.

The artificial divide that these types of issues create is what truly sickens me.

This was a serious issue, that will affect the future of our community, and frankly I was pretty disappointed by the level of the conversation on all sides.

By the end of most weeks, I was far more interested in exiling myself from society than hearing another person’s slogan passing as an opinion.

The only thing that can possibly make this situation more pathetic is if we don’t all just drop it once a decision is reached.

This means I’m asking the losing side not to spend the next month sending letters to the editor predicting the downfall of human society and talking down to everyone about how you know better than the “tyrannous majority.”

Even more importantly, I’m begging the winning side to act like you’ve been there before.

Please don’t throw a parade or call in to the radio station to talk about how you were instrumental in saving our community from the impending dark ages.

If you won, then remember that winning was the goal — that was the point, not stoking your ego by rubbing it in the opposition’s faces.

We are living in hard times and our country is a very divisive place right now: The greatest victory we could possibly have in this nation would be to get back to a time when people can talk about issues like they involve the future of our country and not the outcome of a football game.

There’s no question that everyone has the right to free speech but there are times when it’s better to just bite your tongue, and this is one of them.

At this point I would rather spend a night in the hospital than talk about it for another minute.


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