Dave Richards for March 18th….…………
--Well, well, well, things have certainly ‘gone south’ since we last met on these pages, dear friend. It wasn’t totally unexpected, but it is disappointing.
According to Governor Gina Raimondo, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has “skyrocketed”. Duh. Unionized teachers who elected to be paid over 52 weeks will still have a check coming in, but private school teachers, school bus drivers and monitors, wait-service staff at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are thrown out of work with no pay. And the members of the above occupations are just a small example, space restrictions prohibit me from posting a complete list, even if I could.
So, before you start griping about not being able to dine out in one of our great local eateries, think for a moment about the restaurant staff who are concerned about paying their rent or mortgage. Compared to that, we have no problems.
And thinking also of the owners of our local businesses who are forced to close to the public. Imagine not being able to pay your taxes or rent or mortgage for both your family AND your family business. Most of them are making the best of a bad situation and opening on a limited basis for take-out or drive through orders only. Unemployment Insurance is not going to solve their problems. If you truly want to do something to help, eat out more frequently than you normally would and take those meals home to eat them. Perhaps with increased volume we can help make up the difference and these fine hard-working people will survive the crisis.
--Speaking of increased take-out volume…..they couldn’t keep up with the take-out volume last Sunday at the St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center “Luck of the Irish” corned-beef and cabbage dinner. They were forced to cancel the Irish band and set up a table up in the parking lot for take-out. Well, 150 pounds of corned beef was gone in the first hour of a three hour event. Talk about volume! A quick run out to the store to get some sliced ham was the best they could do for folks like The Fabulous Denise and me who arrived an hour and a half into the event. Congratulations!
--It’s hard to think of any topic which isn’t affected by the COVID-19 virus restrictions. But I’m sure we’d all welcome discussion of another variety for a change. One such topic popped up on my computer screen yesterday.
It’s from a young man called Derek Brennan who heads the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law. I’ve never heard of the place, it could be made up. But the idea he brings up is not a new idea.
It’s the idea that if 40 percent of the population are “people of color”, as he puts it, then 40 percent of the police, fire, government administration, elected officials, and judges must also be “people of color”.
It’s not a new idea.
At the risk of stirring up the ire of people who think like this, I will put forth my opinion because this is an opinion column.
I respect their idea. I think it is a great idea. But in my experiences in life I have come to believe we can do better than that. I think ‘proportionality’ only addresses part of the problem and causes other problems. It’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough.
I believe if you really want change, ‘quotas’ will only slow the process of social change and the perfection of social justice. I believe that only when we train ourselves and our children to see only the similarities in the people we share this planet with and reject seeing the differences among us that we will truly make a lasting progress.
Don’t you see? If you don’t see the differences, it is materially impossible to discriminate! That should be our goal, I say, because ‘quotas’ REQUIRE us to see the differences. ‘Quotas’ force us to deny one person an opportunity because they are not the same color or whatever you’re comparing. And two ‘wrongs’ never have and never will make a ‘right’.
If I seem like a ‘hippy’ of the 1960s or 70s to you with that point of view, I’ll accept that. But I wasn’t. A ‘hippy’, that is. But I did see a lot of people get hired for only the reason that they were a member of a group which was ‘underrepresented’. What happens next is human nature. People resent being discriminated against. Even if it is to give someone else a chance. It hurts. And it is the second ‘wrong’.
Then, when the inevitable happens and a person with less talent or qualifications gets preferential treatment the resentment grows into bad attitudes, pushback, and more ‘revenge discrimination’ in the future.
It has to stop. And I believe the only true way to stop it is to stop trying to legislate morality and treat everyone with respect, with regard only for a person’s ability and the content of their character.
With the retirement on June 30th of Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Gilbert Indeglia causing a vacancy on that high bench, I hope you’ll agree that we need the best and wisest judge we can possibly find, regardless of their color, sex, or any other differentiation.
See the similarities. Change the world for the better without hurting more people along the way.
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.