by Scott M. Graves
I wrote this essay after the events of Gardner's Special Election, an election which resulted in our current administration. Now as never before, we are called upon to demand more of ourselves, to believe we can achieve the economic and social success we know we're all capable of. Another term with the Nicholson administration is another two years wasted on policies that lack vision. -Scott M. Graves
Ellie Wesiel said, ‘When language fails then violence becomes language.
I’m struck by the intensifying violence, the pressure evinced in the dialogue between individuals, between groups; from leaders to their followers in this country.
I can’t help but think this whole escapade is leading towards a destructive outcome.
That is not to say the solution would be to shy away from issues that require attention.
Rather, it is to say that we all, when wounded in various ways, are often taking in a deep breath of cinders only to expectorate them with at least as much hellfire on whatever or whomever happens to be in our path.
Let’s focus on our own little city. The vitriol in evidence during the most recent special election is a prime example of the hellfire over rational dialogue. For those of us who attempted, each in our own way to focus the dialogue on economic development issues, on social programs, on business development or the stewardship of our environment, it was particularly galling to wake up daily, read the paper, check on our social media feeds to watch our neighbors duking it out over partisan or personality issues while the real issues of our day were largely overlooked.
We are a community whose soul requires healing. We have only too recently experienced the kind of de-industrialization many other communities have had a century or more to come back from.
We have further suffered from leadership that for years has fomented the divisions between us in order to maintain our current trajectory. We as a community have, by and large been only too willing to be complicit in this dance, one we desire to look like Appalachian Spring but plays out more like Dance of the Macabre. What is required is a set of actions that will look wholly familiar to us. They are actions that, backed by certain ideas should be familiar to nearly all of us.
‘When language fails then violence becomes language.’ -Ellie Wesiel
I am not suggesting we back down from a good fight. I’m only suggesting we look deep into each others eyes. That we listen to each others pain. That we don’t make assumptions about individuals among us based on hearsay, especially when that hearsay came from supposed leadership. That we not exclude anyone from that dialogue, no matter what. That we stop blaming each other. That we embrace the inherent goodness that is in all of us, even the truly despotic among us. In Wynton Marsalis’s latest, ‘The Ever Funky Lowdown,’ Marsalis’s Sirens ask in refrain, ‘What would the Savior Think’. The voice of the savior states, ‘Create the Right instead of avenging the wrong.’ Our city will not last another 2 years of the status quo. Nor will the United States. Not without our hearts open wide, to both the pain and joy of our neighbors.