I have lived in Maine for 18 years, recently making Windham my home for two. Being a relative newbie to the lakes region, I am discovering that my role as a reporter, and now managing editor, for The Windham Eagle introduces me to some pretty amazing people in the community. The list of descriptions I have used to depict the leaders and active participants I have met thus far include the following: Friendly, tolerant, innovative, intelligent, creative, entrepreneurial, supportive and motivated. But the one description I use the most is collaborative. In all my life I have never met such remarkably united individuals as those I have met in the Raymond and Windham communities.
As this newspaper lands in your mailbox, a new President is being inaugurated. So I want to take a moment to reiterate that this paper is non-partisan and does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. But I would like to recognize that we may face, as a nation, some pretty divisive issues and perceptions the next four years, making collaboration difficult. It is my hope that this community can continue in its cooperative manner, reaching common goals despite our personal and differing viewpoints.
It may not be easy but I believe it can happen. I wish I could offer expert advice on ways to remain civil and to continue our positive approach and discourse. I am, however, trying do my part to educate myself. I have started reading but have not completed the book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt.
The author not only explores how the certainty of our own individual righteousness prevents us from civil discourse, he also reminds us that we are stuck here together for a while and it would behoove us to seek to understand one another.
I make a challenge to myself to do just that, seek to understand by truly listening to another’s point of view. I suspect it won’t always be effortless and I might trip and fall from time to time. One thing that might make it a little easier is if you join me with my personal challenge. Maybe by working together, we can not only show the rest of the U.S. how to cooperate effectively, but more importantly, we can show the young members of the Windham and Raymond communities how it’s done. Doing so, might create positive future leaders and contributing members of society who know how to be tolerant, innovative, intelligent, creative, entrepreneurial, supportive and motivated. Oh - and collaborative, too!