May 7, 2012
I had a brief visit in the office this morning from Heidi Thompson, the West End woman who Pinehurst Police arrested last week and charged with stealing three campaign signs that oppose Amendment One. I shook her hand and welcomed her back to my office to sit down and talk.
Before I could offer a cup of coffee, Mrs. Thompson became quite emotional and angry about the content we've had online the last few days regarding her, her beliefs, her position and her family. Mrs. Thompson didn't stay long, although she was welcomed to come back and talk. I let her express her emotion and anger and move on.
Now, Mrs. Thompson and I find ourselves on the opposite sides of the Amendment One issue. We also view her act of taking signs differently. She felt justified; I feel taking property not belonging to you is theft and, where it's tied to political speech, a violation of the First Amendment.
Before you either heap praise or scorn at the bottom of this post, I stand WITH Mrs. Thompson in saying the dialogue on this matter has grown out of control. It isn't dialogue if each side is shouting and not hearing what the others have to say. What, you don't WANT to hear what the others have to say? Fine, but don't expect then to get listened to.
See, I respect Mrs. Thompson's right to express her views and work for the causes she believes in; just because I don't agree with all those positions doesn't mean she shouldn't have the right. I also respect the positions of her many supporters, as well as her opponents.
Notice the word I'm using here? "Respect." Agreeable people can disagree agreeably, without spewing hate speech and trying to denigrate the other. And no, your use of The Bible to back your view doesn't give your position any greater weight than the opposite side, which can also be supported elsewhere in The Bible.
Are we really a community filled with hate and intolerance? Are we really incapable of shaking the hand of the one who disagrees with us? Are we really modeling the right BEHAVIORS for our children?
Come Wednesday, May 9, nothing will have changed. Whichever way this Amendment One vote goes, we'll still need to rise in the morning, feed our kids, water our tomatoes, take the Traffic Circle to work, buy groceries, get to our kids' baseball and soccer games and talk to neighbors and co-workers who don't always think like we do. Let's all realize what builds community and what destroys it.
Come May 9, may there be reconciliation, not reconstruction.