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Letter: Overcome the divisions

I just wrapped up my public service to Greenfield before moving to Austin, Texas. I’m happy that the concordant GHS committee is thus far on time and under budget, but I depart with regrets.

I leave a divided town in a divided commonwealth. A town divided will crumble — look at our economy. A region divided will decline — look at our population. Yet diversity of opinion is not division — lack of respect for different opinions breeds division.

Massachusetts’ public sphere, from village councils to state Legislature, is infamous for its acceptance of personal vitriol and bitter character assassination. So intense is the bigotry and vehemence in Massachusetts politics that our Legislature is quite literally half as bipartisan as that of Texas!

I say this as a Republican seeking greener pastures in the largest Democrat stronghold in Texas. I’m not afraid of an uphill battle. I’m just sick of the level of personal nastiness that is tolerated in Massachusetts’ public discourse. If you think Congress is bad, try to sit through a few public hearings!

Perhaps we’ve all become a little too used to the way things are. Amherst and Turners Falls should have been renamed years ago, but tradition is hard to break. Greenfield should have built some kind of discount store years ago, but it’s easier to argue than to compromise.

Greenfield can set an example for the rest of the commonwealth. When you next vote at the high school, bring one of those nice, local red fieldstones. Then leave your stone at the door to symbolize your commitment to civilized public discourse. The architect promised me they could use donated local rock in the landscaping, so your stones can become a lasting reminder to everyone that Greenfield is a place where personal attacks are no longer welcome.

KEITH C. MCCORMIC

Chair Emeritus

Greenfield High School Building Committee

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