Record editorial: Grateful, this Thanksgiving, for a community where all deserve respect
On Thursday, people will congregate at dinner tables in Summit County and all over the country and do something that seems increasingly atypical in these hyper-partisan times: sit across from people and enjoy their company without spurning those who hold opposing political beliefs.
Most of us will spend Thanksgiving with uncles or mothers or cousins or in-laws whose politics we find disagreeable. But we are able to see beyond their political affiliations or the candidates they support and judge them based on the totality of who they are.
And in the unfortunate — but perhaps not unlikely — event that a political argument breaks out as the stuffing is being passed around the table, hurt feelings are eventually mended, sometimes before the pumpkin pie is even sliced and certainly by the time the December holidays arrive.
After all, family is family.
The dynamic in a community is similar. Short of packing up and moving elsewhere, people can’t choose their neighbors. And like in a family, being a member of a community requires us to get along with others and decide to see people not only for what we perceive as their faults but also as folks who, just like us, are doing their best and are worthy of compassion.
For the most part, we do that in Park City.
Recently, though, a handful of controversial topics have roused tensions and have seemed to chip away, slightly, at the notion of our town being someplace where all well-meaning people know they are welcome. As tensions have increased, the editorial page of The Park Record, for instance, has been filled with letters to the editor and guest editorials not merely arguing against the opposing viewpoint, but decrying those who hold it as harboring ill-intent. The acrimony has been only amplified in the online commenting sections on those pieces.
Disagreements in a community are natural and healthy. In fact, airing them is a foundational part of our democracy, as is the willingness of folks to stand up and fight for what they believe. Hopefully residents will continue to do so using all of the means at their disposal, from submitting pieces for The Park Record’s opinion page to attending meetings of governmental bodies to voting on Election Day.
At the same time, let’s not lose sight of who the people on the other side of the argument are. They are, first and foremost, our neighbors. And they deserve our respect.
This Thanksgiving, we all should be grateful for them, even the ones with whom we disagree most. After all, this place we love and call home wouldn’t be much of a community without them.
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As we mark the life of Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend, we owe it to him and the other civil rights heroes of his time to ensure his legacy does not fade into history.