To The Daily Sun,
Stereotypes. Assumptions. We all make them, and I am wary of their hazards.
Last weekend, about 20 people who have known each other almost 50 years were gathered for fun and reconnection. Ironically, we were talking about free speech and the necessity for us to learn even from those with whom we disagree, and to do so civilly and respectfully. Yet, since most of us were of a progressive, Democrat affiliation, yes, the conversation became more strident about how we fear for our country: The potential loss of health care, weakening of environmental laws, under-staffed State Department, rise of the alt-right, lack of support for public education, plight of the refugees and DACA youth, fear of inadvertent war with North Korea, etc., etc. So very much to worry about, from our point of view. But throughout this, we ourselves grew less civil about the president, and voiced some very negative assumptions about what might have motivated any who voted for him.
Then, one brave soul had the courage to admit she had voted for Trump — a woman who has a heart of gold, has worked with immigrants, has lived overseas, etc.
Yes, this gave us all pause. Who else in our very own families and communities are we writing off because of what we assume? And who is writing me off because I’ve had signs in my yard supporting Obama, Hassan or the local library?
For 18 years I worked in a high school whose staff had very differing political views, yet those did not keep us from collaborating to create the best for our students. I’ve now lived for 42 years in small town Gilmanton. Yes, we’ve had some notable controversies, but for the most part people serving on the School Board, Planning Board, or Board of Selectmen are not identified by party and truly try to solve problems for the good of our town.
Let’s try to step back from our assumptions, listen, and find out what connects us in our aspirations and concerns, and work together for the good of our towns, our state and our country.
- Written by Mike Mortensen
- Category: Letters
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