Dave Richards for September 18th …………
--Before I get into some unusually specific comments on a matter of politics, I want to remind readers of this year’s Great Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the North Smithfield High School and Middle School for one day only. This Saturday September 21st from 11am to 5pm. The list of community and business sponsors is impressive. The whole town comes out for this one.
The Great Pumpkin Festival features booths, entertainment, exhibitions, and the highlight of the day for the young ones, the Pumpkin Chuck where real pumpkins are launched into the air by a catapult. Everything about PumpkinFest is a real crowd pleaser. I hope you’ll take some time out of your Saturday wherever you are in the Blackstone Valley, fill your lungs with the clear North Smithfield air and just relax for a while. The weather promises to be exemplary.
--Our newly-elected Woonsocket City Councilor Alex Kithes attended his first council meeting as an elected official and I’ve got to say one thing for him, he jumped right in. Some newbies would have played the “wise old owl” game with a cautious ‘watch and listen’ attitude, but not Alex. He made his presence and point of view known on nearly every vote of the lengthy agenda.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Councilor Kithes placed before the body a resolution condemning White Nationalism. It was when this item came up for action that young Alex’s education as an elected city official began. And I mean it just the way I wrote it.
It is an education to be exposed to and learn to understand the points of view of others. It is a skill of vital importance to any person wanting to serve in government, since one cannot compromise with those one cannot understand. And compromise is what political governance is all about.
I think that young people today operate at a distinct disadvantage to those who grew up in earlier generations because in their lifetime the public discourse has been running along the lines of extremes and intolerance where defeating and suppressing those who disagree with you (or worse) fail to agree with you, is commonplace.
As I say, it’s not his fault. But he’s a bright young man and I think he’ll learn quickly. He had the right idea, but the wrong way to go about it. His resolution was aimed at improving the world by denouncing intolerance, but it failed to address the real issue. The real issue is people noticing the differences between people and not focusing on the similarities among us.
Those of us who grew up on the 60s and 70s learned that if we train ourselves to not see the differences and only the commonalities among us, we cannot treat people differently because of those differences. Without differences there can be no discrimination. With commonalities clearly in focus we can bring people together to work together to make the huge changes needed to improve the future …..for all of us.
To conclude, the travelling good-will performance group ‘Up With People’ got it right more than 50 years ago. Forget “Down with This Group….and Down with That Group…” and put your efforts into “Up With Everybody”! Defensiveness diminishes, bridges of cooperation are built, and society strengthens itself.
The Beatles’ John Lennon also said it well. “All we are saying is……Give Peace A Chance”.
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.