Respect, Communication Key in Times of Crisis

Guest Correspondence

This is a very difficult time in our modern history. People are out of work, businesses are shut down, life savings are being wiped out. This has caused emotions to run high and people need outlets for their immediate and historical frustrations.

I’m frustrated too. It is hard to watch our government right now. We don’t necessarily understand everything happening behind the scenes. 

We are in a State of Emergency. Some things are being taken care of by the unelected government manager and administrators without votes by the elected commissions. Making matters worse, citizen participation is limited due to COVID-19 and we are dealing with very weighty issues.

Our elected officials can’t overcommunicate enough right now and they should make sure their administrators and manager are doing the same. Giving the public the ability to communicate back is immensely important. Citizens want to feel heard. Elected officials should acknowledge those communications with compassion and gratitude for whatever position they are listening to or reading.

Conversely, we as citizens need to remember, our elected officials are human beings. They live here with us. They are doing the best they can while getting heavily attacked from those who disagree with their decisions because emotions are so deep. 

The stakes are high and officials are hearing the “You will have blood on your hands” statement from both sides of various issues right now. It is easy to sit behind a keyboard and angrily send an email without having to look the elected official in the eye and hear other thoughts differing from yours. 

All of us, myself included, need to take a step back and remember that everyone is making the best decisions they are able. We need to try to be as respectful and equally compassionate for officials as they do their best to foresee the consequences of whatever decision they make. With the rules of the game changing daily, it is very difficult right now.

We can agree that all of us love our community and are very passionate about it. We need to remember that when we meet those we disagree with. 

To our elected and appointed officials thank you for serving. To our candidates for election, thank you for being willing to serve. To my fellow citizens, continue to weigh in on your government. To all of you, show compassion and humanity to our neighbors no matter what role you serve in. We need that now more than ever.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation.

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