Yes, yes, we know that the bond issue for the Berkley School District passed, but we would like to take this opportunity to discuss the opposition to the bond issue and why it is symbolic of many other problems in the world. Those of us who were daring enough the read such publications as The Mirror close to April 10 found a number of rather disheartening letters to the Editor (well, at least they get letters). These letters spoke of such things as the fact that enough of taxpayers' hard earned money was being taken from them already, and that the school district should simply manage its finances better and do away with all the unnecessary things rampant in our schools; books, for instance. But the underlying message was that the schools should fend for themselves--that people who were not directly effected by the schools had no business helping to pay for them. One sees this mentality in dealing with many other topics. For instance, many people say things such as "I don't need Medicare, why should I help pay for it?", "I don't watch PBS, I shouldn't have to pay so that someone else's kid can watch a yellow bird sing", or "The poor should pay for themselves. It isn't my responsibility." This thinking is wrong for two main reasons. First, while one may not be directly effected by something, in the long run, it may be of great importance. A person with no children in school may not see how the bond issue is valuable to him or her directly, but having a well educated generation will be an advantage for everyone in the long run. The second reason is that our type of community requires that people be dependent to some extent on each other. People of all ages pay for Medicare, despite the fact that most people receiving it are older. In the same way, people of all ages pay for our schools. This kind of relationship is vital for a community to survive, and is based upon simple values that are hard to argue against: values of sharing and helping others even when it may not directly benefit oneself. It is particularly telling that the Republicans, with all their talk of returning to traditional, religious values, ignore this, interpreting "traditional values" as selfishness and lack of concern for the well-being of others. Perhaps that is their tradition and, as was shown by much of the response to the bond issue, the tradition of many other people. But we think that most people do believe in real "traditional values." That is why the bond issue was, in many ways, about more than a new boiler. It's passage shows that people do still believe in helping others, and we hope that this idea will become more prevalent in the future.
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