For the common good

Published: 8/26/2018 3:00:15 AM
For the common good

I have been following the Greenfield Common encampment with concern for the well being of the homeless people and for the well being of the town overall. Many of us probably differ in our hierarchy of concerns in regard to this expanding situation.

In reading the Recorder and in attending the emergency town meeting on Aug. 2, as well as seeing many helpers on the Common, I am struck by the community’s compassion and attentiveness to homeless Greenfield population.

There is an approach in this situation that I find particularly obstructive and divisive even within the outpouring of sympathy and creative solution finding, and that is the invocation of shame in our solution finding discussions. In the meeting and in recent letters to the editor, well meaning people have cast blame on those whose solutions differ in manner and focus from their own.

One city councilor in particular proposed solution steps, and subsequently several people objected to these proposals due to several valid factors.

Unfortunately, some opted to use shaming when stating their objections, a behavior that discounts the volunteerism and civic participation of our city councilors overall and their attempts to find solutions that address the needs and desires of the wide range of their constituency.

Here is a strong example of how not to collaborate, how not to consider the thoughts of others who differ from us; when we use “shame on you” and calling out tactics to forward our opinions.

To serve the needs of the whole town effectively, we need to stop using insults and guilt, and to open the door to collect all proposals, then work together to develop the strongest solutions for the common good of the community.

Caitlin McKenna


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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