Us and Them or We?

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How we think of those around us sometimes makes a big difference in how we treat them. In recent years we’ve watched as our national political dialogue has become more about preventing the opposition from succeeding than in having a plan for creating a vision to address real issues faced by citizens and businesses.

In our local area we’re faced with issues that can easily become divisive. No matter how divisive those issues become, we live together, we shop together, and we join civic organizations together.

I’ve been impressed at the ways The Civic Standard has created events that bring together people who don’t usually gather together. Attending homegrown dinner theater murder mysteries at Hardwick’s American Legion has been fun for everyone who performs and attends.

I’ve found myself sitting next to, or across from, people who I wouldn’t otherwise interact with.

Questions about Greensboro’s Lakeview School and its possible closure seem to be creating deep divisions. Comments like “we want our school,” “they want to close our school,” “their petition will take the heart out of our town,” can lead to divisions that are hard to repair.

Sometimes we’ll hear, “I understand their position, but…” That “but” makes it pretty clear whatever position is being advocated for, the speaker isn’t going to seriously consider it.

There’s almost certainly a way we can find common ground when difficult topics must be addressed, though that’s sometimes hard to remember. We all want to live in a safe town.

Almost all of us want good schools for our children and grandchildren. We want our towns to be prepared for emergencies. We want to eliminate waste from town budgets.

How can we remember the important things that unite us when we need to have those hard conversations? How can we remember that it is all of us having the conversation together before we jump in and summarily reject the positions of others?

The best solutions for us all usually come from listening carefully to each other and letting our feelings about each situation guide us to sharing ideas that lead us to solutions that are better than any of us would have found alone.

Paul Fixx

Interim Editor

Paul Fixx is editor of The Hardwick Gazette and lives in Hardwick.

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