I am sending this copy of my public comment to the Grand County Commission since it is also relevant as part of the current larger social dialogue (or possibly “duel-logue” at some levels):
I’m an old guy, a retired teacher with four decades of serving our Utah communities and families speaking in favor of the common good.
Generally accepted, the common good consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people.
Because social systems, institutions, and environments have such a powerful impact on the well-being of members of society, it is no surprise that virtually every social problem in one way or another is linked to how well our systems and institutions are functioning…the common good does not just happen. Establishing and maintaining the common good requires the cooperative efforts of some, often of many, people.
As a child of the 1950s, I grew up hearing family stories from the two World Wars and the Great Depression. Stories about how people from diverse backgrounds and locales came together in common cause to survive and with hope to again thrive as communities, as a nation, and for the common good.
I heard stories of how they survived: the deprivations of the Depression, an uncle dying in WWII and another who survived years in a German POW cell who survived by staying in Morse code contact with other prisoners, and my grandmother who continued to save bacon grease for the war effort for years after WWII ended.
I heard stories about how they made it through incredibly difficult times by helping one another, oft-times through great personal sacrifice, always in common cause for the good of the whole…Those stories are the moral basis, the foundation of what I still believe ethically. I am, and so should we all be, indebted to and grateful for the sacrifices and lessons learned from those who Tom Brokaw deemed ”The Greatest Generation.”
Commenting on the many economic and social problems that American society now confronts, Newsweek columnist Robert J. Samuelson wrote: “We face a choice between a society where people accept modest sacrifices for a common good or a more contentious society where groups selfishly protect their own benefits.”
The 40 years I spent as a professional educator in our neighborhood public schools were focused daily on public service to and for our communities’ children’s best interests. As educators, we pledge and commit to serving children in our neighborhood schools in loco parentis—literally “in the place of a parent.” You, as elected leaders, represent the majority of Grand County residents and are in the position to best be judged by how you serve our most vulnerable members: our yet unvaccinated children.
Thank you for your sometimes most challenging public service; and, tonight, for taking a strong ethical stand for others’ well-being.
It is the highest order of what we in public service do and the hardest thing we do for the good of the whole.