Now the hard work begins.
For far too long, Gardner has been marginalized by the project to its west, the intermodal. Although that project has largely been finalized by Edgerton, real challenges remain for our school districts and councils in Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill.
We hope the top priority of the newly elected will be to promote an atmosphere of transparency at city hall and in our school districts and that they will make a conscious effort to not live in an echo chamber.
The new council members and school board members need to get out of their comfort zones. Join a new organization – one that isn’t full of the same old people you already know.
Invite a new neighbor to join you. Reach out to those who voted or campaigned on the other side.
The divisiveness in Gardner right now is a black eye for this community, and it will be for years to come, if everyone can’t decide right now to go-along to get-along.
That doesn’t mean forgetting principles or declining to debate or discuss the issues at hand. It simply means agreeing to disagree – in both word and in deed.
It’s time to put the mud-slinging of the election behind us and work to build communities that everyone – both the winners and the losers — can be proud of. It’s time we start remembering the good qualities in our neighbors rather than rehashing some of the bad.
This isn’t a call to put aside politics, but it is a call to put aside politics as usual. We each need to remember that differences in opinion don’t have to result in ripping apart the fabric of a community. People who disagree don’t have to sit at separate tables, dine in separate restaurants, or belong to different civic organizations.
In the kind of community we can all be proud of, there’s room for lots of different voices and opinions at the table.
So let’s start acting that way.
Now the hard work begins.