The Bee's third-quarter visiting editors share thoughts on a topic of their choice.
Yudhvir Singh Grewal
We have come a long way from 1776 to 2012. The Founding Fathers declared the United States as "we, the people" instead of creating a nation of a few, for a few, by a few. We must not lose sight as to how immigrants from Europe came, displaced native Americans and British forces, and formed a new nation. It was created as democratic republic.
Despite this history, we still have some with racist outlooks, with hateful expressions under the guise of freedom of expression. Forty- seven percent are branded as a liability worthless, a useless drain on taxpayers. Some in the white majority are fearful of losing power after 235 years. But whites are still a major force. What is expected of them to create congenial environment and extend hands of trust and faith, to move forward as one nation, not to shout "You are on your own." Who are the 47 percent? They include baby boomers and veterans, many of them white.
We have a moral, ethical and social commitment to care for the homeless, helpless and hungry.
Each of us will end this life with what we started with nothing. We are only temporarily on this Earth.
When speaking of the county in which we live, do you articulate the final "s"? There's no consensus among Stanislaus County residents about how to say our county's name.
I consulted the county Board of Supervisors and a field representative told me that the history of the name has caused the discrepancy. It seems the original version of the name of our county, Estanislao, came from the Yokut Native American who led hundreds of rebel Indians against the Spanish mission system in the early 1800s. Though the Anglicized version of this name in use for our county does end in "s," many people still prefer to leave off its sound.
According to the somewhat dubious source Wikipedia, the pronunciation question became complicated due to the fact that American immigrants from the southern states arrived in the Central Valley and tended to drop the "s." This was possibly due to French pronunciations, which drop most ending consonants. To confuse matters further, the name Stanislaus also derives from a German or Polish spelling, whose alternate spelling happens to be Stanislaw.
Among county officials, educators, long-time residents and Bay Area transplants, there seems to be no consensus. The county CEO pronounced the "s" at a swearing-in of new board members. Two supervisors also pronounced the "s." Numerous other public officials drop it.
I searched for a document that would end the confusion. I found none. The story of our county in Historynet.com states that both pronunciations are acceptable. An entertaining but still confusing video was done last year by KCRA: http://youtu.be/cujdWNj94Ic.
Does this bother anyone else, or just me?
Hoping to make at least one point with the last of my short series on personal responsibility, I asked myself this question: Is it possible, when trying to become personally responsible for our choices, to open our minds to change on any of the many topics being debated throughout California today?
Right now, each one of us has immediate access to more detailed information than a team of researchers could have come up with in a month just a few decades ago. It's easy and not uncommon to feel like we are in complete information overload.
How do we process all this information? If presented with common sense, logic and the right data, are we willing to admit we might be wrong? I decided to find out.
Since I needed to talk to a few people with strong opinions that would be willing to have a perhaps difficult discussion, I needed topics that created clear polar positions. What better arena to find them than politics? I decided on two topics: 1. Is taxing the rich the best way to finance our state? and 2. Why should we have to show identification to vote?
Finding people willing to talk about these two questions was no problem. I did the research, compiled the data, put together a couple of very logical, common sense arguments and went to work. No matter how hard I tried, in the end, I didn't change the mind of even one person. Even though I listened intently so I could argue to their specific rebuttal, no one was open to change.
I find it sad but somehow not surprising that with all the information available, all the facts at hand, even these very intelligent people could not open their minds wide enough to see I was right.