Maybe it’s the long, lazy summer days, when people have more time on their hands. Maybe it’s the spillover from presidential candidates’ vitriolic attacks against various groups in America and their fellow candidates. And most likely, the internet has removed some of the filters from our behavior by providing alleged anonymity. But regardless of the reason, things have gotten downright ugly, and Derry is far from immune.
As the budget cuts in Derry stay in the headlines and residents have every right to be worried that services they took for granted might no longer be there, Derry has become a toxic environment.
Following the charter, more than 1,000 residents signed petitions to have the Town Council reconsider eight budget cuts, and the Council is moving as slowly as possible in addressing that challenge.
But be that as it may, the solution is not to plaster downtown with posters calling into question one Town Councilor’s past – which after 30 years, he admitted to in response – or posting Facebook messages of rumors about other Councilors. Facebook and blogs make it easy to say things without thinking first, and while the message may be funny, it can also be hurtful. And irrelevant, other than to bully and harass.
Regardless of whether the two sides – and there are definitely two sides in this divided town –like or even respect each other, they should feel obligated to work together. Councilors can’t keep repeating that they were elected to cut taxes – did they offer the specifics of the tax cuts to their constituents when they campaigned? That would be odd, considering they declined to offer the specifics at Council meetings.
No, Councilors were elected to listen to the public, and that means hearing them out, even when their views don’t agree. And working to keep that conversation going.
Derry’s not alone. We’ve made similar comments about the back and forth jibes that populate Timberlane Regional School District business, from the superintendent on down.
Yet nobody comes out of such a mess looking good, and it’s well past time to stop the nastiness. Name calling serves no purpose, and dredging up past crimes, while it’s something voters should know about, is irrelevant to the issue of making decisions on budget cuts.
Working within the law to effect change is the high road – and running for office yourself or voting in the next election for candidates who represent your way of thinking is the democratic way.