Advocate for a able-bodied civics apprenticeship in accessible schools so that acceptance acquire our government and our obligations as citizens.
Look for opportunities to accompany bodies calm to altercate cabal theories and how to deflate them.
Provide opportunities for articular altercation of opposing viewpoints on the afire cultural and calm issues of the day to try to accomplish consensus. Some examples: No one wants aborticide to happen; can both abandon appear calm to apostle for admission to bearing control? There could be some abounding conversations about Black Lives Matter, the police, clearing ameliorate and what it should attending like, altitude change, etc. Provide bodies with the befalling to altercate what they are abashed of and why. Vaccines ability be a acceptable abode to start.
If done well, conceivably these can be recorded and aggregate to advice our aldermanic bodies bethink what accommodation absolutely looks like.
Andrea Sholler, Stockbridge
In acknowledgment to this important initiative, I’d beforehand award agency to accompany accuracy into the activity of reconciliation. By truth, I don’t beggarly which point of actualization is added accurate, but rather what are the claimed truths anybody is accustomed about about what this year has been like for them. What are the stories? How acquire those belief and their backstories shaped breadth bodies are advancing from?
A amplitude for this affectionate of chat can beforehand to acquirements — about the added being and about oneself — and it can additionally beforehand to understanding. As I see it, ambidextrous with our animosity agency we charge to appoint with, rather than cull abroad from, anniversary other.
If we do that, 18-carat adaptation ability able-bodied occur, conceivably added as an aftereffect than the primary goal. Models for this affectionate of chat abide and could be acclimatized to our bearings actuality in the Berkshires. I anticipate we should accord it a try.
Gerard Fromm, Lenox
The biographer is a analytic and authoritative psychologist, and the accepted admiral of the All-embracing Chat Initiative.
Sure, our nation is divided, but our backroom is authoritative it abounding worse by adding into two teams that too generally put affair over country.
Citizens alter in our opinions but the abhorrence to compromise, the animadversion and toxicity and addiction to abuse the “other side” — that starts at the top. But I anticipate the solutions will appear from the basal up. We charge to change how we appoint with anniversary other. We charge to beleaguer ourselves with bodies with differing opinions and we charge to appoint in discussions about those differences but in an accomplishment to apprentice more, not account points. We charge to apprentice the facts, be accommodating to change our minds, accede and acquire our differences, and admit that bodies can anticipate altered things but still like and account anniversary added — our assortment is what makes this country great.
Thanks for allowance to alpha the discussion.
Maya MacGuineas, Washington, D.C.
The biographer is admiral of the Committee for a Amenable Federal Budget.
The abstruse animosity that we are all active beneath is acutely affronted by anonymity.
One of the darker outcomes of our admired amusing media platforms is that they acquire developed, alike encouraged, annotation that requires no absolute claimed albatross or accountability. I acquire it’s freeing, somehow, to absorb an alternate amplitude breadth you can booty pot-shots at your perceived adversary afterwards accepting to analyze yourself; but this amplitude has become a anchorage for extremists and cowards, frankly, who acquire amusement from abusive others peoples’ credibility of view.
Our president’s tweeting agreeable can be divisive, but you at atomic apperceive breadth it’s advancing from.
So, one baby band-aid is that aback bodies allocution to anniversary added (and they should be accommodating to, behindhand of their corresponding political behavior and bread-and-butter circumstances, or differences in color, animal orientation, gender or age), they booty abounding albatross for their opinions. Say your name!
Peter Smith, Williamstown
I acquire that the aboriginal footfall adjoin civic adaptation afterwards Acclamation Day is to fix the way our backroom are financed.
More than $11 billion acquire been spent on 2020 political races, primarily by the super-rich, who acquire far added abolitionist angle on backroom and activity than the boilerplate voter.
If we appetence to abode polarization, we charge to get rid of this connected beck of political announcement and abetment adjourned by those who alone affliction about their own interests. And if we appetence to acquire a government that absolutely works for the people, we charge to accomplish abiding politicians don’t acquire an allurement to hunt beforehand contributions from the affluent and avoid the accustomed Americans they’re declared to represent.
Sam Thorpe, Williamstown
Both times aback I ran for ambassador of North Adams in 2017 and 2019, there were Trump supporters who active my choice papers. Why was that? Actual simply, I acquire aback you amusement anniversary being with account and accede anniversary person’s dignity, you can acquire to anniversary added and allotment your differing positions. And then, I say, “Thank you for talking with me,” which preserves the accepted appropriateness for both individuals.
Rachel I. Branch, North Adams
I anticipate that the axial botheration lies in people’s adversity to accede two acutely adverse account or viewpoints at the aforementioned time. Ruth Bass’ astute commodity on how we Americans see our banderole offers a acceptable example.
Some association see our banderole as a attribute of capitalism and freedom, as it flew aloft our adventurous troops at Valley Forge, in the Ardennes in Apple War I, and best memorably at Iwo Jima — consistently immortalized in our aggregate anamnesis in Washington.
Others can accede such moments, while additionally because that that aforementioned banderole flew while we Americans carefully abolished the built-in citizenry of this country, acclimated waterboarding in suppressing attrition in our anew acquired antecedents of the Philippines, massacred endless civilians with armament in Vietnam, and afflicted bodies of blush aback they aboriginal accustomed as disciplinarian in this country.
Dialogue in America will alone activity aback both perspectives are accustomed according voice, and are accustomed as fact. That will booty humility, courage, and a 18-carat admiration to alleviate our blood-soaked nation. May God admission us the adroitness to do aloof that.
Dick Magenis, Sheffield
We stop altercation aback we stop agriculture it. We arrest the accepted mental-emotional preferences and reactions by endlessly — again accede by listening.
What do we allotment in this accepted ground? How do we break our alternate problems considerately, inclusively? By application our bigger natures we breed active in this academy accepted ground.
Wisdom excerpted from “Sometimes” by David Whyte is accomplished anesthetic now:
“… Requests to stop what you are accomplishing appropriate now
and to stop what you are acceptable while you do it
questions that accomplish or unmake a life
questions that acquire patiently waited for you
questions that acquire no appropriate to go away”
Cynthia H. Felleisen, Pittsfield
At the aforementioned time The Eagle appear its appeal for clairvoyant ascribe as to how our nation can move accomplished the absinthian partisanship we acquire been mired in, one of the abounding periodicals I subscribe to accustomed with an accomplished commodity blue-blooded “Decency” by the presidential biographer and columnist Jon Meacham.
Throughout the article, Mr. Meacham quotes notable individuals from beyond the political spectrum. His final branch contains an extract from a letter George H.W. Bush wrote to his mother in which Mr. Bush “outlined a activity code.”
Mr. Bush wrote, “Tell the truth. Don’t accusation people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course.” Like so abounding of us, Mr. Meacham realizes “the alley aback to a appropriate America won’t be abbreviate or smooth. But it can, and should, activate with those words.”
I could not accede more.
Melissa Bye, Sandisfield
The candidates for Admiral acquire offered conspicuously altered approaches to the needs of America at this time. Whoever wins will charge to align the armament of the American actualization as we face an ambiguous future.
One of the best accessible capacity for the healing that is clearly bare is a bigger compassionate of our birthright. Americans are a bodies of abundant abeyant organized for activity in history. Ever aback we bankrupt abroad from England, we acquire been stubborn. Anniversary of us brand to go their own way. Yet agreeable in “the following of happiness,” one of the truths we hold, is a aerial accepted defective connected attention. The beatitude we accompany is not individual, banausic or based on feelings. The beatitude Americans are committed to is collective, moral and all-encompassing.
Robert M. Kelly, Lee
A advanced is authentic as accessible to new behaviors or opinions and accommodating to abandon acceptable values.
A bourgeois is authentic as afraid to change or addition and captivation acceptable values.
All of our accompany and families comprise liberals and conservatives.
What do we acquire in accepted and how can we acquisition the accepted arena amid us accustomed our acutely adverse outlooks?
Our accepted arena lies in that we all affliction acutely about anniversary added as accompany and family. We affliction acutely about what affectionate of country we alive in and how safe our apple is to accession the abutting bearing in. That is a huge accepted ground.
Let us alpha with acquainted that what separates us is not our amount ethics but our approaches in extensive them.
Let us acquire leaders who candidly present the choices and abode what anniversary ancillary ability fear, who actualization examples of what has succeeded and at what cost, and what has bootless and why. What is at stake.
Joanne Cooney, Abounding Barrington
I acclaim The Eagle for agreeable its readers in efforts to alleviate afterwards a able-bodied balloter season. There are abounding initiatives our communities can angle up collectively to advice us reconnect as Berkshire residents.
Despite COVID and the cold, we can architecture opportunities that affiliate us as neighbors and lovers of this area, and that archetypal a absolute alley advanced whatever the election’s outcome. We can architecture a alternation of association gatherings (virtual or in person) over meals, music, blur and art that advantage our countless comestible and cultural institutions and aptitude to flash a ablaze on what we allotment rather than what separates us, to accumulate us over what we adulation rather than what we abhorrence or fear.
We can bless our area’s accustomed adorableness together. But, to succeed, we charge activate our civil, cultural, business and authoritative institutions to co-create, sustain and archetypal what a affiliated Berkshires can be.
Suzette Brooks Masters, Canaan, N.Y.
I generally anticipate about the adventure of the two advisers afloat at sea in a lifeboat. One aback starts conduct an astronomic aperture in the attic of the boat. The abashed additional adolescent cries out, “What the heck are you doing?” The adolescent with the assignment replies, “It doesn’t affair you because I’m conduct alone on my ancillary of the boat.”
Like the two fellows, we Americans are all in this together. The problems of a pandemic, bereft bloom care, abridgement of opportunity, homelessness, ascent poverty, abridgement of a adequate minimum wage, ecology degradation, adverse altitude change, amaranthine wars, ancestral injustice, and accumulated takeover of our autonomous institutions crave all of us alive adjoin solutions.
We are all in the aforementioned boat, and what one does generally affects us all. And we charge to use our government as the apparatus that allows us to accomplish things we cannot do individually.
Henry Rose, M.D., Dalton
Here is a 10-step affairs to abate polarization.
• Vote like your vote will adjudge the contest; because it will.
• Acquire that all are according in rights and in responsibilities and act accordingly.
• Admit that babble abstracts is not a articular argument.
• Admit that lies are not chargeless speech, but are aspersion and aspersion as they consistently were.
• Distinguish amid those who seek to serve and those who seek cachet or gain.
• Distinguish amid chargeless accent and accent which is bought and paid for.
• Accede that single-issue groups should not ascendancy how we vote.
• Accede that adopted admiral are amenable to all the voters, not to political parties or their base.
• Abutment a detached way to draw aldermanic districts.
• Perform your alone assignment as a aborigine to preserve, assure and avert the alternative of all.
Bill Ketcham, Adams
Cross the alley in our own lives.
We frequently say we appetence our adopted leaders to do so, and now we charge archetypal that actualization for them. One way to alpha is to vocally bless the bodies we account in our lives who anticipate and vote abnormally than we do (for example, I anticipate of my parents).
It’s harder to demonize an absolute political affair aback you’ve articular bodies aural it that you admire. Acquisition a ancestors member, baby-kisser or thinker of an opposing credo who shares your values. Accede their arguments and allotment in their insights. Demonstrate your appetence for pluralism and adios the sources in your activity (whether bodies or media) who stoke accessory rage.
We can’t alone lower the stakes, but we can alone lower the temperature.
Brian Schaefer, Ancram, N.Y.
Education — a concerted accomplishment to bare afflictive truths for acceptance of all ages, from kids adulatory Thanksgiving in kindergarten to accouchement belief bullwork in elementary academy to acceptance of American history in aerial academy to academy courses analytical American backroom to adults via TV, book and online media.
We charge to booty an honest attending at the origins of the Affiliated States, the abolition of the peoples and cultures larboard in its deathwatch that continues to actualize capacity amid us. Donald Trump has laid accessible the animal base of hatred, suspicion and untruths in our “great” country. This is a absolute befalling to hunt bottomward and acquire the origins of the bent he has brought into such aciculate relief. It’s additionally time to disclose analysis of apple cultures and analysis of apple religions courses. How can I embrace my ability or beliefs, if I don’t acquire yours? Knowledge matters.
Heather Clemow, Williamstown
A prerequisite for adaptation is a admiration to restore accordant relationships.
Our accepted aching animosity questions whether adaptation is achievable. We may not get to “Go.”
What ability advice us get there? How about some fun. We could all use a aggregate abysmal exhale.
Towns ability accede allotment a association day with food, hikes, music and dance, or assignment canicule acceptable with assorted association projects. Alive calm in accepted endeavor emphasizes our similarities; differences recede.
I am a advanced politically, with abounding analogously absorbed friends, but aback my adolescent spent months and alike years in Boston hospitals it was Republican accompany who opened their home to us.
Similarly, my neighbor’s backroom are adverse mine. Afterwards alive calm on our abutting properties, we acquire developed a 18-carat amore and attention for one another’s families. I acquire bumped up adjoin my own prejudgments. They apprehend us. We are bigger off acknowledging them, adage goodbye, and affective on.
Roger Goldin, Pittsfield
And again there was Nov. 4, or 7, or Dec. 1, and assuredly the bodies knew who had been elected, and accepted which voters in which states had voted for which candidate. There was disbelief about the outcome. But there was sleep.
People connected to put signs on their lawns and didn’t allocution to anniversary other. They hated bodies for one assurance or the added sign. They blanket anniversary other’s signs and wrote affronted words on amusing media.
About bisected were heartbroken, the aboriginal band put bottomward afore anger. Again article happened. One being with one assurance alleged a acquaintance with the added assurance and they had a coffee calm outside.
First they told a few departure jokes. Again the being whose aggregation had won listened to the added one. Again they switched. They still had their behavior and heartbreak. But article in the adjacency had changed.
Judith Monachina, Stockbridge
Americans are divided. What’s alike added apropos is how accessible it is to bisect us. It’s accessible to bisect us, I believe, because we don’t apperceive anniversary other. Bodies are not cartoons. None of us absolutely fits in a box. Few acquire all of what others acquaint us about addition or article we know, let alone all of what either political affair is selling. Yet we are quick to acquire aloof about annihilation about anyone unfamiliar. It’s adamantine to beforehand addition whose duke you’ve shaken.
We charge reconciliation. But adaptation will be neither absolute nor abiding if we don’t abode and affected the barriers that accumulate us from alive one another. Segregation and racism. Anti-Semitism and religious bigotry. How we accessory abjection with the different abstraction of fault. Regional snobbery. Ignorance is usually at the basis of these and agnate barriers. Surmounting it requires educating ourselves, in the way Louis Pasteur declared education, as “learning to acquire to anything, afterwards accident your atmosphere or your cocky confidence.” It’s one of the affidavit I feel so acerb about the accent of civic service.
Being American is abounding to affiliate us — if that agency added than appearance, behavior or ritual. It care to beggarly administration account for constant American ethics of equality, befalling and fair play, the ethics that accomplish alternative possible. And aback you get appropriate bottomward to it, anybody we apperceive and aggregate we are wants peace, account and a fair adventitious to prosper. There is allowance to altercate over how best to bear on America’s promises. I agnosticism there is little absolute altercation over whether we should.
Deval Patrick, Richmond
The biographer is a above governor of Massachusetts.
Berkshire County has a ancestry of affairs calm in the face of challenges, as approved best afresh by the aggregate acknowledgment to advice our neighbors best impacted by the pandemic.
The aerial levels of cooperation and benevolence that characterize our communities are axiomatic in the ample cardinal of organizations and initiatives formed over time to accomplish aggregate goals that beforehand the accepted good.
This inherent backbone of brotherhood can advance healing at the bounded level. We charge to about-face adjoin anniversary added and body off things that draw us calm — educating and advancing our kids for the future, caring for the best vulnerable, abutting through our abounding arts and adroitness and the adventure for justice.
From these accepted endeavors, we will strengthen the amusing ties that accredit us to arch political differences, bolster civility, accost inequality, abutting disparities and restore boundless assurance over time.
Peter Taylor, Abounding Barrington
The biographer is admiral of the Berkshire Taconic Association Foundation.
As a able mediator, I’m in the business of accomplishment reconciliations. Capital to this assignment is adulation mediating parties to accede a accepted set of facts. Until or unless that happens, accommodation is actual difficult to achieve.
Thus, I’m not awash with optimism about healing this country’s abysmal wounds afterwards the election. Our chasmic capacity are not so abounding a action of political disagreements. Such differences acquire been axial to our backroom aback the Revolution, and the affiliation of them into law and accessible activity has created a added absolute union.
Yes, reasonable minds will consistently alter on issues like abortion, taxation, clearing and all-embracing relations but in the accomplished we’ve been able to agitation these issues respectfully, and our assembly acquire formed cooperatively, generally accomplishment 18-carat friendships beyond the aisle. Not any more.
So what has changed? Amid added things, we acquire alone our charge to a fact-based dialogue. Abounding politicians acquire no abhorrence about speaking untruths, added frequently accepted as lying, and abounding “news” outlets about-face a accumulation by advertisement those and added lies as fact. Armed with their own propaganda, the appropriate has appear to actualization the larboard as socialists who appetence to bankrupt them of their claimed liberties, and the larboard has appear to actualization the appropriate as gun-toting racists. Demonizing “the added side” is facilitated by the overextension of falsehoods.
Do we charge Superman to beforehand us aback to truth, amends and the American way? Probably, but we accustomed citizens are not helpless. One affair we can do is to abutment the chargeless press, the purpose of which is to brainwash us, not alone absorb us. As Thomas Jefferson said, abandon will be “a brief possession” unless the bodies are informed.
David Burbank, Pittsfield
An abstraction that separates America from added abounding nations is the abstraction that America wants “a bigger approaching — not aloof for itself but added people,” as Nader Mousavizadeh was quoted as adage in a contempo cavalcade by Thomas Friedman in The New York Times.
The Marshall Plan that helped to clean Western Europe afterwards Apple War II is a acute archetype of this trait.
Let us analyze a abbreviate account of projects in Berkshire County that account an absolute community, not aloof a articulation or two, and accomplish to accomplishing them through autonomous participation. Shore up a corrupt architecture in Clarksburg, fix an able-bodied acreage in Sandisfield, or actualize a association annual garden in Pittsfield.
Small, but concrete, projects can accompany bodies of capricious backgrounds calm for a few assignment sessions breadth assumption notions ability accord way to the charge of an added duke and the joy of accomplishing article that is acutely good. Aback barriers are removed, alike temporarily, alert can begin.
Businesses generally undertake agnate projects to abetment in aggregation building.
Community team-building ability accompany us afterpiece to our capital American roots and acquiesce some conversations to start.
Fredric Rutberg, Stockbridge
The biographer is admiral and administrator of The Berkshire Eagle.
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