Letter To Editor-in-Chief Metroland Media East Ryland Coyne (May 30, 2017)
I would like to let everyone know I appreciate the hundreds of messages I have received from the community regarding this story since its release May 18th.
As many people know who have been following all the negative press articles attacking the mayor and members of the community, anxiety is reaching new levels in our community. This burdensome political climate and abysmal reporting brings bad news to all of us. Regardless of the basis of these articles, the divisive finger pointing and ego driven antics by the majority of council has now turned our town upside down, and the rule of blame is that it now rest upon the shoulders of everyone involved, especially the press, council, the disgruntled developer in the north park, and the dishonoured ex-mayor who managed to place himself in the middle of this smear campaign.
Our community and many other communities across the province are facing challenges that seem unnerving, but the more the media and the majority of council play these smear games, the more powerless we feel and the more unstable our community feels to us.
This series of destructive actions and “in” fighting appears to bring out the worst in people. It makes us more intolerant of disagreement, divides us into factions, and, in the worst case, leads us to demonize those who appear weaker or different. A lot of people can hardly speak now without using negative labels. In these chaotic times in our community, we seek to devalue rather than understand. We tend to take our eye off of the tremendous success and progress our municipality has made over the last two-plus years.
This tendency to devalue our community’s leadership and accomplishments, which impairs the ability for most of us to comprehend, is due to a particular quality of our nature as human beings that contradicts most of our ordinary experiences. Our emotional brain distrusts differences and yet our lives are very much enriched by them.
Our basic character as human beings, has an innate capacity for interest in the well-being of those around us; our friends, our family, neighbours, and other community members. In its higher developed states, it motivates our values to respect, help, nurture, protect and demonstrate our altruistic ways. The more in touch we are with our basic humanity and our community, the more humane we can act and feel in our community.
We need to get back to basics, all of us, especially our elected officials and the media. This doesn’t mean becoming saints, giving to charity or doing volunteer work, although it wouldn’t hurt. There are basic levels to our humanity, and most of us can and do quite well by participating in a more civilized co-operative manner within the community we call home. If I were to make any suggestions to anyone caught up in this negative storm I would suggest the following:
Try and be more proactive rather than reactive. Be respectful towards each other because that is the right thing to do. And if you have lost respect because of this nonsense, earn it back, become a better citizen in our community. Know that all of us have a sense of basic humanity, even the people who have lost their way. Realize that you can raise your self-value by valuing others. Recognize that people by nature are fragile not cruel. From here on in, do some small act of kindness and make our community a better place – a small act of compassion or kindness during these troubled times will go a long way.
I hope that one day all of us can better appreciate the community we call home:
Carleton Place – Fidelis (Faithful)