It was with solemn conviction that I chose recently to withdraw my Financial Town Meeting resolution to appropriate funds that would allow Barrington to pay its municipal employees a livable wage.
My decision was not brought on by a shift in my values or priorities, nor in my view of the values held by my neighbors. I still firmly believe in the merits of the resolution, and hope that we can find our way toward setting this important example for the greater community, in the near future.
A little longer than a year ago, I entered politics because I had grown increasingly frustrated with the widening gap between conflicting groups of people and I had grown increasingly passionate about trying to narrow that gap.
I firmly believe government can help people.
I firmly believe that with transparency and open communication, people who disagree about issues can find their way to harmony. Not everybody gets what they want, but everybody knows their voice is being heard and their needs are being addressed.
It was with those beliefs that I first filed the motion to add funds to the municipal budget.
Over the past couple weeks, I have witnessed some truly disappointing actions, read some truly disturbing comments, and heard some truly disrespectful language being slung across the great divide between us.
I do not know whether the motion would have passed or failed. I still rate it at a 50/50 chance. But, I currently believe that pass or fail, it would have resulted in a loss for the town. We are not healthy enough as a community right now to handle a test of our collective values.
I make that statement with tremendous sadness. I saw the risk of a resolution that is important to many people becoming both a victim to the current status and an obstacle in moving past it.
Following the Financial Town Meeting next week, there is going to be a large group of attendees who are unhappy with the outcome of some of the votes; whichever way they go. That’s part of living in a shared world.
So, whichever way they go, I’m vowing today to continue working to fill the divide between the sides because I want to live in a place where we can consistently disagree, but constantly get along.