A disturbing report has come to us from Alison McKellar of the Camden Choose Board.
Alison, along with being an elected official on the town, is somebody who grew up on this neighborhood and is elevating her kids right here. She has gone on journeys to South America to assist folks there and raised cash and picked up gadgets to assist folks displaced by battle in Syria.
Her views seem in our newspaper frequently, we’ll add for full disclosure.
A few of Alison’s views are controversial. She has been closely concerned within the dialogue over restoration of the Megunticook and the potential elimination of the Montgomery Dam. Different scorching matters of late embody what to do with the previous tannery property. We additionally perceive there are passions in Camden round what timber are planted or minimize, and the place this stuff occur, in addition to the lean of sure downtown sidewalks.
Not too long ago, whereas she was strolling in downtown Camden, the place it isn’t uncommon for any of us to run into one another, a person she is aware of jumped out of his SUV and began yelling expletives at her. Among the many ranting she discovered he was involved concerning the road timber and the sidewalks. He informed her she was not going to be round for lengthy.
Alison has taken it in stride acknowledging that she is an elected official, however she did notice that she was glad her kids weren’t together with her.
It isn’t a very remoted incident. Tempers flared at a latest Choose Board assembly to the purpose the place Choose Board member Sophie Romana rightly scolded a person, saying “We don’t elevate our voices,” or one thing to that impact. Good for her!
Ardour and even ire round politics, be they state, federal or native, is comprehensible. Many people discover our quantity has risen whereas debating the problems across the dinner desk or amongst our pals.
Previously month or so, we now have been bombarded by nationwide information that’s downright scary — the Jan. 6 hearings, rising fuel costs, college shootings, the battle in Ukraine, the doable elimination of Roe v. Wade, ongoing issues about local weather change, the endless pandemic, and looming elections. Folks, even pals and neighbors, are up on screech.
We have now seen the discourse in letters and feedback on-line have risen in temperature.
The problems are vital and the stakes are excessive. We wish and encourage sturdy debate. A few of us would even argue that debate ought to be taught in each highschool in America. It’s a part of our system of presidency.
Generally the decision to be civilized or discover frequent floor is a disingenuous try and silence disagreement. A few of us don’t wish to discover frequent floor with our political adversaries: we wish to defeat them on the polls and see significant change. We don’t wish to see folks silent on the problems dealing with us. Wave indicators, march within the streets, write your letters and social media posts, vote and be heard.
However shouting curse phrases at your neighbors shouldn’t be the proper path. That borders on assault and creates a way of worry. In Alison’s case, we might argue that not one of the points dealing with Camden, although they’re vital, rise to a life-and-death state of affairs which may justify such acts. The city is in a critical debate about a few of these issues, however the folks of Camden will kind all of it out.
The individuals who serve on Choose Boards and Planning Boards and college boards are primarily volunteers though they’re typically paid a stipend. They do that work out of a way of service and we owe a debt to them for the work they do. They put in hours in conferences and studying dry authorities experiences.
Anybody can get too intense speaking politics, however it’s good to recollect to stay to the problems and never make private assaults. It’s good to say, “I disagree with this vote on the tannery due to X, Y and Z.” It’s a weaker argument and a path to an inappropriate confrontation to get into, “In fact you assume that, you’re a ….” and fill within the clean with no matter insult comes subsequent.
We’re an extended marketing campaign season as we anticipate November. There may be time sufficient for passionate debate, however all the time remember you reside in a small city and also you’re going to run into this particular person once more all too quickly. Let’s keep neighborly and bear in mind the golden rule.