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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 12:53 pm | A Few Clouds 63º


Letter to the Editor: A Plea to Carpinterians

One thing I hope we can all agree on is this: Carpinterians are fiercely passionate about what we believe. We are passionate and vocal about our schools, politics, civic projects, open spaces and natural resources. We promote our agendas loudly, with pride and with absolute certainty that we are correct.

Carpinterians stand proudly at Linden and Carpinteria avenues with our handmade signs, write articulate, pointed letters to the editor, and sit at tables outside Vons and Albertsons armed with information. We boldly use lawn signs as yard art and hold intense summits with our closest friends over coffee or beer.

Inarguably, we Carpinterians know how to stand and fight for what we believe. But do we know how to do it with honor and respect for the neighbor, friend or perfect stranger who wholeheartedly disagrees with us. I don’t think we always do, and I think it’s something we can stand to work on.

Many of the relationships I hold closest to my heart are with men and women of wildly varied opinions on a vastly diverse palate of issues and interests. Collectively we are Pagans, Christians, Jews, atheists, Democrats, Republicans, Greens or whatevers. We are gay, straight and undecided. We are renters, homeowners, retired, working, parents and not. We come in all different colors, shapes and sizes, young and old.

Our conversations are sometimes heated, we argue as often as we agree, laugh, hug and toast even as we stand in opposition.

I know firsthand that our passions and views, both opposing and alike, make our friendships stronger and richer. The fact that a diverse group of human beings can engage each other over sometimes incendiary issues — and do so with conviction, compassion, empathy and, above all, respect — always strengthens my belief in humanity.

We Carpinterians are currently faced with what is quite possibly the most divisive issue of our time, which sounds utterly dramatic as I write it, but certainly feels appropriate. Each week as I pick up the paper I am saddened by the length to which people will go to share their opinions and lend their voices, with unflagging often ugly conviction to the issue at hand.

By all means, rally your troops. Stick signs in your yard, bumper sticker your cars, sign petitions, write letters, speak long and loud about what you believe is right and good, but please do it with respect and with the ultimate understanding that for as committed, passionate and fierce as you feel about your beliefs, there is another person equally committed, passionate and fierce about theirs.

What a beautiful thing that we are all different.

Poet Robert Frost wrote, “I’m against a homogenized society, because I want the cream to rise.”

If we do this well and conduct ourselves with dignity, humility and fierce passion — despite the outcome — I think and hope we can all rise above so that when we run into each other at breakfast or the dry cleaner or the grocery store we can still look one another in the eyes, smile and say, “Hello, neighbor.”

Sarah Hinton

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