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To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, October 28, 2000

Lessons from
school days

IN the greatest theatrical performance of my life, I played a knight in T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral." I was a high school senior and it was the autumn of 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis. Wearing chain mail and carrying a sword at rehearsals was comforting, considering the news coming from Washington.

Our dramas always featured soldiers or priests, since ours was a school for boys. This play was about Thomas Becket, who King Henry II installed as archbishop of Canterbury. Henry thought his friend Becket would side with him in royal beefs with the church. Becket, however, chose church over king and it cost him his life. Four knights murdered him in his cathedral on Dec. 20, 1170.

Thomas Becket's tomb became a shrine attracting pilgrims from all over Europe. In his play, Eliot entertained the suspicion that St. Thomas desired to be remembered as a martyr. His line stuck with me: "The last temptation is the greatest treason/To do the right thing, for the wrong reason."

It echoed in my head this week as our editors met with candidates for the Board of Education, of all things. No living resident of Oahu could be unaware that someone named Gabbard is running for the BOE. Many thousands of votes will be cast for and against the Gabbard name based solely on Mike Gabbard's high-profile campaigns against homosexual marriages, lifestyles, rights and wrongs.

Mike's not running for the school board, however. His wife Carol's name is on the ballot and she was among the public-spirited hopefuls who met with us.

Not every candidate for the board is a product of public schools -- there's at least one Iolani grad in the bunch. Still, most have experience and con-nections with the system, except for Carol Gabbard, who home-schooled her children.

There's nothing wrong with that, but I can't see electing someone who rejects the school system to run it. So, I'll ignore the Gabbard campaign circus and just do the right thing for the right reason.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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