Thursday, February 01, 2007

the Hospital and Civility and Lessons to Learn

I have two sets of comments about the hospital issue, and they relate deeply to each other.

One set goes like this: If you want a hospital on Broadway: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want a hospital in town: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want the Cirrus private hospital and medical spa: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want a small downsized approach: vote for the Parcel Tax.

Without the tax, the hospital can't keep operating, and all the above options are years from being up and running. They can't take place if we have no hospital that is transitioning to the new hospital, whatever it will be.

Though the temptation is to cast negative feelings about one aspect or another of the hospital's troubled and sometimes bizarre history into a negative spin about the Parcel Tax, don't. I too had my temptations and see the folly.

In short: if you want a local emergency room, vote yes on the Parcel Tax.

The Second set of comments is a refrain that many have heard from me before, and will probably hear again. The refrain is this: if we disagree with others, that's human; even disliking others can happen to the best of us; but to get personally wrapped up in dislike or anger or hatred toward another is, as the visiting folksinger John McCutcheon's father said: "Poisoning ourselves and hoping it will hurt our enemy."

What's this got to do with the hospital? I won't go into all the hospital's troubled history of variations on the theme of attacking your opponents rather than standing up for what is good and positive in your own approach, but want to highlight my disappointment with the resignation of Bob Kowal. He has done tremendous service to this community and this hospital and he seems victim to me of the ancient and regrettable practice of scape-goating, wherein primitive folk would choose a goat and send it through the village to be flayed and attacked as if it represented the sins of all the villages inhabitants.

Frustrations are normal. The attacks of the Measure C days were, to my mind, reason enough for doctors to want to leave a community so little able to restrain the wish to polarize and attack. Now Bob Kowal seems to latest victim.

I, for one, commend his service and am sorry to see him go.

And, don't let this sorry state of affairs be an excuse to do what I spoke of above: take it out on the Parcel Tax.

To learn to love one's enemy is the big human work, and one I've commended people before to study the work of Byron Katie ( she's coming to town Feb. 6, c/o our own wonderful Readers' Books.) This is the big work.

But even before we figure that one out, and we must if life is to be truly civilized, we need to see through our petty fears and confusions and get one thing right: if you want a hospital of any size, stripe, approach, or shape: Vote Yes on the Parcel Tax.

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