Dave Richards for September 26th…………
--Tonight is the night that Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and the Autumnfest Steering Committee hold a public reception for the 2017 Autumnfest Parade Grand Marshal, Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw. It’s always a fun time, with many of the past Grand Marshals in attendance and I can tell you it is a night filled with unforgettable memories.
Autumnfest is the largest planned event in Woonsocket in any year. To be selected to be the Grand Marshal is an honor which cannot help but fill one with great satisfaction in the choices they’ve made in life. It seems the selection of each successive Grand Marshal sets ‘the bar’ higher for the next one. It certainly did this time!
--On the other hand, this next topic is about people who might have made better choices. Last Sunday morning and afternoon I had a lot of work to do preparing for our part in the upcoming Autumnfest celebration, so I wasn’t watching what was going on in the news and I generally stay as far away as possible from social media anyway, the result being I was watching the football game later on Sunday when the announcers were making a big deal of the NFL players show of solidarity, protesting a statement from President Trump and I said to myself, “Oh dear, now what has that fool gone and done this time?”
I, of course, checked into the matter immediately and found it was just another opinion being expressed by him and being disagreed with by a huge number of people. So what’s new? Well, this time the protest stretched across the sea to the NFL game played by two American teams in England.
My own reaction disturbed me because I don’t think anyone should think that way about their president, but we are being conditioned into reacting that way with one needless controversy after another. This, I think, is not limited to me but rather it shows what I feel is a disturbing trend. The president makes a statement in his usual un-diplomatic style with the predictable result of dividing people, many of whom react with protests. I think a united America is better for our country, and I am becoming increasingly disturbed that Mr. Trump may actually succeed in finally uniting America……… AGAINST HIM! This would not be good for our country.
Disagreement is going to happen, in fact, it is a healthy element in any lively debate and a cornerstone of our democracy. However, a healthy society will at least attempt to reach agreement first, through compromise or persuasion based upon the facts. Divisive opinions and blunt ‘wise-guy’ statements may be entertaining at the moment they are said, but they fail to move the larger civic agenda forward because people get focused upon the superficial entertainment and not on the underlying issues of importance.
--Mr. Trump is not alone in this. We have a citizen in our city who just cannot resist but to cause controversy. Mr. Roland Michaud is, by all accounts, a very smart and successful man, maybe not to the same level, but remarkably like Mr. Trump. He has his opinions and he has the right and means to express them publicly. But just like the president, Mr. Michaud’s comments and opinions seem to stir debate and controversy instead of building consensus. By failing to pass their comments through the filter of politeness, both men who otherwise might persuade other people to support their opinions are driven away instead. I think this is a shame. But it is their burden to bear and their choice to make.
I think in this great republic smart people who care are in short supply at all levels of government. I find it a pity that some who do have the smarts and who do care cannot lead and govern because they cannot control their natural urges to be disagreeable. Remember, you aren’t a leader if most people aren’t following you. And these two men are beating potential followers away with the proverbial stick!
I think that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Michaud have regrettably made themselves “unelectable” by their actions of late. Let’s face it. Do you think when Mr. Michaud’s term on the Woonsocket Zoning Board of Appeals runs out that anyone in office now will re-appoint him? I don’t. Further, do you think that the Republican Party will support Mr. Trump for presidential re-election? I don’t. Just like Teddy Roosevelt over one hundred years ago, I think the party will back someone else because they’d just have had enough of the “personality” which couldn’t be separated from the man’s accomplishments.
I don’t write these words to embarrass either man I have mentioned. Instead, I hope these words will strengthen them to moderate their actions for the remainder of their terms or to encourage others with the same gifts and tendencies to moderate their own……..before it’s too late for them.
All Rhode Islanders live in Hope.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!