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Find good role models on Maui

When did it become cool to be selfish?

The behavior has been with us forever, everyone’s been guilty of it, but we don’t remember entitlement ever being so embraced. From quarantine breakers to the Narcissist in Chief, our world is rife with individuals putting their desires first.

It is not a Republican or Democrat thing and it is far from solely an American thing. Around the globe, the pandemic has exposed societal frailties that were easier to overlook when everything was humming along at full speed.

Perhaps selfishness is no more prevalent than it was 30 or 100 years ago, it’s just that self-centered folks don’t bother to hide it like they used to. Scan the TV any time of the day and you’ll find a host of egotists in action. “Two and a Half Men,” “Veep,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends” are just a few comedy classics that feature funny characters and great lines, but not necessarily role models.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Charlie Sheen’s misogynistic character on “Two and a Half Men” has aged the worst, but none are the type of pals you would call at two in the morning to lend a hand. Or run your government.

At some point, network TV stopped trying to provide a moral. Way back when, Archie Bunker would drop his incendiary bombs on “All in the Family” and they would come back to bite him. Whether it was the “Beverly Hillbillies” or “Saturday Night Live,” characters full of avarice and greed were portrayed as the bad guys.

Now it’s up to viewers to grasp the difference between comedic farce and traits worth emulating. Patience and introspection have no place in TV’s rat-a-tat world. Is this why so many people are frustrated by COVID-19, it refuses to resolve itself in a 30-minute time slot?

If you are looking for examples of positive lifestyles, turn off the tube and check out the island’s volunteers. The pandemic may have made them a little harder to find, but they’re out there putting in the time and effort to aid Maui’s people and environment. You would be amazed how many of our island programs, sports and services depend on volunteerism.

Today’s givers and helpers stand on the shoulders of men like legendary tennis coach Shigesh Wakida and women such as environmentalist Jan Dapitan and swimming teacher Jojo Apo. Products of the Greatest Generation, it would be impossible to count the hours they put in selflessly helping others.

We believe in the good in people and feel fortunate to live in a place where courtesy, respect and generosity are so common. Perhaps that is why selfish behavior is so jarring. Living on an island, we know we’re all in this together.  

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