What an irony! Today, your paper announced with pride the receipt of a variety of NENPA awards, including for “Serious Columnist.” That follows immediately upon yesterday’s gratuitous editorial slap at the efforts of the Gill Energy Commission (of which I am a member) to persuade its selectboard to purchase a 47/47 mpg hybrid police cruiser rather than the 16/23 mpg gas guzzler it in fact selected. The immediate problem with that editorial is that it simply adopted, without any explanation or discussion, the Gill Police Department’s argument that it should not be the first in Massachusetts to use such cruiser. No reasoning for this conclusion is offered, other than the unexplained statement that Gill’s is a small department and larger departments should go first. The fact that New York City’s Police Department has been using hundreds of these cars for years might have been noted and addressed. Is it not possible that the best way to start having experience in Massachusetts with such cars is in small towns that do not make the same demands on their vehicles as larger towns and cities? But most importantly here, why does a Recorder editorial simply mimic the Police Department’s position without any reasoned comment?
The longer view is even more important. Adding The Recorder’s support to a decision already made by a local selectboard is in a sense irrelevant. But if an opinion had to be offered, why in the world, in this time of crisis in diminishing resources and climate change, would The Recorder take this opportunity to weigh in on the side of moving slowly, making changes at a pace reflecting little concern for approaching disasters? The Recorder, presumably as well informed and socially conscious as it often appears, should be out front helping our population advance, as it must, ardently toward habits of restraint and conservation. Rather than approve a continuation of the old ways, The Recorder at least could have commended the efforts of the Gill Energy Commission to promote undeniably needed change, and have recognized the articulate efforts of the dissenting vote on the Gill Selectboard to convince his fellow members to screw up their courage and provide some leadership for the future of our children and grandchildren. That, to my mind, would have been the work of a Serious Columnist.