Not in Newburyport. People who get mad first, call names, accuse others of mis- and malfeasance, and show no signs of civility are winning all the debates because decent folks back off from their convictions like rats leaving a sinking ship — or to avoid offending anyone.
The scale of anger can’t have been just about our precious waterfront; the viciousness of the attacks came from a deep and ugly place, emitting a spate of invective upon fellow citizens who had been tasked to bring a quality solution to plans for city progress, and did so.
One cannot read the letters from NRA resigners Shanley and Dorfman without feeling shame on their critics who otherwise consider themselves a “community” of friends and neighbors. Then came the exodus from the fray of city leaders who should have put up a fight on the NRA’s behalf, but gave it, and those two civic servants, no decent, public thanks for what were months of toil on our behalf.
As for the historic district kerfuffle, too many names were the same and a trend was clear. Worse, among them were people who reside outside the Port but retain local property that at times have been blights on their neighborhoods. And certain other homeowners should just admit the wish to use developed property not only as current living space but to maximize future wealth by subdividing the lots for separate sale, or their large homes as condos — something already begun on High Street and elsewhere.
More recently, the outrage over ridding our environment of plastic bags is, again, not merely a difference of opinion; it is people going to enormous time and trouble to stifle a sensible effort, while young people leading the cause stand by palpably mystified. It is testimony to the truism that elders must all grow old and die, and thank god for that.