Preserve ability to disagree agreeably
It was in reaction to a schoolyard fight that was broken up by the father of a student unrelated to the incident. I was an innocent bystander who directed the departing offender to the principal’s office, for which I was blistered by an X-rated reply that was outside the box for the time, for now, and, I hope, the future. And I’m pretty tough.
Port Aransas has been sequestered from the rest of the world for years, and I’d like to believe it still is, even after that memorable experience I’d like to forget.
I’ve reported, probably ad nauseum, how impressed I was with the ability of our residents to disagree agreeably – vehemently, yes, but agreeably – when we established permanent roots here in 1983.
My experience prior to that was trial by fire as a 20-something reporter dealing with highly charged emotional issues involving hometown boys who were fired as police chiefs and the gut-wrenching decisions involving keeping a smalltown hospital open or not. The division was such that people who had been friends were crossing the street to avoid speaking to one another. They wouldn’t go into a shop (everything in small town Texas in the 1970s was home-owned and operated) if they saw a member of the “opposition’s” vehicle parked outside. It was the only time I’ve ever had indigestion.
In an editorial last week, I referred to the ability to disagree agreeably as the bedrock of this community.
I’m going to call you on it if you’re one who is crossing that line. It is counterproductive. It is vicious. It is not Port Aransas. I will not stand for it, and I hope anyone else who believes in our ability, as a community, to disagree agreeably, will stand with me. (OK, I guess that’s not very agreeable, but I have my limits. I’ll be nice. Pinky promise.)
Have a difference of opinion. Get it out in the open. But listen to, and respect, a different opinion. Do not retaliate. Do not talk behind someone’s back. Do not let your differences get to the point that you cannot be comfortable speaking to one whose opinion you do not share.
One of the beauties of Port Aransas is our diversity – not of ethnicity or culture – but of schools of thought. I love being able to interact, respectfully, with my fellow residents with whom I have distinct differences of opinion – they are among my most treasured friends.
That trait is one of the treasures of Port Aransas.
Preserve it. It’s called an open mind – and good manners.