We were treated to the most disgraceful, wicked behavior in the recent local historic district ordinance debate. Lies, misinformation and a fervor bent on hate and revenge was presented for all to see.
I have been very leery getting involved with the Waterfront Issue for just that same reason. Instead of reasoned debate based on a solid foundation of facts; all I remember from years ago was seeing John Battis jumping up and down on the stage acting like a crazy person. It was all about belief and conjecture and an absolute intolerance to an opposing view and demonizing anyone who disagreed. Recently, I warned our new PortMedia director, Dana Healy, not to bring up the waterfront issue with the locals. To demonstrate how poisonous this debate was, and she not being from Newburyport, I quoted from the Abbott and Costello skit,
But last night, I saw an entirely different approach when the Committee for an Open Waterfront, Inc. presented their alternative plan. You can be fervent in your position and you can aggressively promote your ‘side’ but use the weapons of facts and the skills of rational persuasion. Instead of vicious attacks, a cool step-by-step presentation gave solid reasons for having an open waterfront. Many who came away recognized that it was a cool-headed, fact based approach that was open to compromise and negotiation.
Instead of a declaration of war, it was a call for a peace treaty with both sides ready to sit down and begin the arduous task of negotiation.
It remains to be seen if the NRA will respond in kind.