Martha Hanner: Urges more respectful dialogue

Published: 08-31-2023 5:44 PM

We have now lost four talented, dedicated members of our local school committees, because they could no longer tolerate the ugly personal attacks as they worked to find the right path forward to deal with a very complex situation. To these four members, thank you for your years of dedicated service.

Our democracy depends on committed individuals willing to volunteer their time and energy to serve our communities and our country. Without them, democracy cannot thrive. We lament the current polarization and the threat it poses to democratic institutions in our nation. We should be equally concerned about the impacts of such polarized behavior at the local level.

Professor Loretta Ross said it well: We need to practice “calling in,” not “calling out,” if we are to be a tolerant community where all residents, of all backgrounds and all viewpoints can feel accepted.

Amherst is facing elections for School Committee, Town Council and other offices this fall. I call on all candidates and all supporters to conduct your campaigns with civility, respect, and humility, recognizing that no one person or group has all the “right answers.”

Martha Hanner