2017-07-12 / Opinion

Division In The Community

John Wilson, a respected member of the community for many years, appeared before Archbold Village Council, Monday night, July 10.

Referring to the ongoing debate between Archbold Village Council and the German Township Trustees over the operation of the Archbold Fire Department, Wilson said the community was being divided.

“And I don’t like that. I’ll be flat out honest with you. I don’t like that,” he said.

Wilson is right. The community is divided over the issue.

The community, the county, and the area have seen division before. The Section 19 reservoir debate in the 1970s. The Tiffin River channelization issue in the early 1980s. The regional jail question in the late 1980s. The current St. Rt. 66 relocation issue. The list certainly goes on.

When an issue becomes divisive, the community can be torn apart. Neighbors stop talking to neighbors. Even families are split. Things turn ugly, and one side can’t talk to the other without harsh words and anger.

That was demonstrated Monday night, when Wilson told council it had not worked hard enough to find a solution to the fire department issue.

Several councilmen reacted; Kevin Morton pointed out the comment was offensive.

The problem comes when sides are chosen. Individuals become attached to their positions, and other ideas are shut out. When another tries to discredit the position, anger ensues and things get ugly.

Hurtful comments are sometimes said when one side feels attacked. Sometimes those comments are regretted later. If one side has apologized for making the original comment, should the comment continue to be used as justification for the other side continuing its course of action?

Both council and the trustees say they want to continue talks, but both sides are wed to their positions, so they’re talking at one another rather than to one another.

Council and the township trustees asked for input from the public. They shouldn’t be offended when the public then gives its input.

For talks to be positive, the anger must be suppressed and each side must listen to the other with open minds. Explain viewpoints. Consider compromises. Look into solutions.

Both sides must be willing to bend.

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