As a member of Citizens of the Reserve, I was surprised to suddenly see two large noticable signs in the yard of a respected neighbor advertising their commitment to keeping the Outlying Field fully upon us.
The surprise kept at me all day, and now I sit here still miffed, hoping my fingers on the keyboard might direct me to an answer they are struggling to find.
There’s no debate here — we all want safe training for our young men and women and a healthy environment for all. Those are not mutually exclusive goals.
To me it is so very simple. The issue is the immense human cost of life-damaging noise, safety, and fuel dumping that our society elsewhere is fully intolerant of versus the other side seemingly unable to balance the comparatively nominal cost and inconvenience of moving the OLF — or adding a runway at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station — against the far larger human impacts that needlessly divide our community.
This is not a battle over who is or isn’t a patriot, and to have had it framed that way is irresponsible and reprehensible — a battle trumped up by jet hobbyists and myopic politicians too willing to wave a flag without thought to their oath of office or to the propaganda that too easily has afflicted their absence of independent thought and rubber-stamped their rhetoric.
As I write, I am remembering this is Martin Luther King’s day and finest hour.
The ruling class at that time wanted to keep the “negroes” in their place and the caucasians in theirs.
This is noteworthy because the need to accept change comes from the need to realize that perceptions morph as knowledge advances; that most of us can and do grow with the times and for those that don’t, attrition corrects; that debate can be honorable without becoming a feud; that personal interests and narrow-mindedness held over reason become biases that twist the spine of society.
The OLF should not be a symbol to divide but should rather be a catalyst for the island communities to reflect on that old Pogo line, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”