Building Political Bridges

When I look over the last two posts–the thread, theme what have you, appears to be people who are capable of being “bridge builders,” as well as caring and hard working folks, folks willing to “serve” the community.

And I think for this election, November 6, 2007, that is what we would desperately need for the city of Newburyport, MA. Not folks who could be “polarizing,” but folks who would be willing to meet somewhere in the middle for the good of the city.

Gary Roberts, Tom Jones and Greg Earls are hardly alone in the “bridge-building” category. But for me, “bridge-building” would be a good litmus test to apply.

And maybe I would ask myself, if “bridge-building” skills might not have been demonstrated before in a candidate, could that quality exist, because it would be very much needed now.

There are so many things that divide us, and there are so many things that would be good to have a working relationship on.

And as a city, it feels to me as if we are going through huge growing pains. And when that happens it would be much easier to be cranky and blame other folks, than it would be to sit still and try to figure out the best solution for the city as a whole.

And this is not to say that I think disagreement, advocacy, dissent would not be good things. I think that they would be excellent things, and greatly needed to have an honest exchange and thought process to arrive at civic solutions.

Am I a big fan of “I have all the answers and you do not.”

No, not particularly.

And on the other hand, if Newburyport was one cohesive, gooey, sweet family, I wouldn’t want to live here.

I love all the fascinating personalities that make up our town, and serve on all the boards, committees as well as serve as elected officials.

And probably one of the other qualities that I would hope for, would be an ability for mutual respect. Anger, feistiness and disagreement could be very much part of that equation as well. But at the end of the day, a capacity for consideration would work so well.

And I know that yes, we’ve been called “Cannibal City” and that “politics in Newburyport is a contact sport.” But, my, sometimes that feels exhausting. And in the year 2007, almost the year 2008, it seems that there would be just too much at stake.

Mary Eaton