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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Jul. 5, 2019 2 years ago

Civil Discourse: A creative solution to ‘politics as usual’

Next: Town Hall on septic tanks
by: Guest Writer

Dear Editor:

Civil Discourse has been a life-changer for me. It is a creative solution born out of my own search for a way through the chaos, anger and frustration of trying to influence livability issues in our community.

As a career social worker, I already knew that polarization, divisive tactics and making others wrong was not the way to solve problems; and, this realization did not keep me from thinking I was right. I discovered that deeply held beliefs, opinions, feelings and past experiences had only made me self-righteous, not right! However, this discovery did not preclude the desire to express and problem-solve. There seems to be within us a call to action when there is a felt sense of injustice, a call for resolution, sometimes in the public arena. Ignoring the call to act may also lead to chaos, anger and frustration, and, even to the gradual loss of a democratic a way of life.

As a problem solver and inquirer into human nature, I couldn’t get by with acceptance of the self-righteous anger. I know we humans come by this and other destructive traits quite naturally, as a part of eons of being in survival mode. As history tells us, civilizations have been wiped out, indigenous peoples have lost their whole way of life and genocide still occurs. Little wonder that we operate from an attack/defend mode.

Perhaps we as humans will yet grow up into a new way of thinking, that does not leave us in constant survival mode with others, around the globe, in our nation, but most assuredly, in our own community, where attack-based politics thrives. Now when I hear the anger in my head, I realize it’s a cue, or a call to action, not a call to attack.

Thank you, Susan Persis, our first city commissioner to participate in our first civil discourse town hall meeting, and also Commissioner Dwight Selby, who will be our guest at the next town hall meeting. 

We invite public feedback and suggestions. Help us discover how to become more civilized, and, to begin to listen to all sides of an issue, in an effort to reach creative solutions for what divides us. 

Civil discourse meets at the Ormond Beach Library auditorium at 5:30, every 2nd and 4th Monday. Our next meeting is a town hall on July 22 with Commissioner Dwight Selby on the topic of “Ormond’s septic tanks, problems and solutions.”

Linda Williams

Ormond Beach

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