Playground rules diminish us all


June 8, 2017

Government service takes courage. It entails long hours and low pay and requires making difficult decisions that lead to little recognition and often less gratitude. Speaking at public meetings takes courage, too. Anyone who speaks or serves should never be subjected to shame, attack, disrespect, or ridicule. What democracy ensures is that we all get a seat at the table, not that we are always able to get our way.   

  The Chilkat Valley’s long history of contention does not consign us to endless fighting. Because we live in Haines doesn’t mean we are required to demonize those with whom we disagree. If the national situation has taught us one thing, it’s that applying the rules of the playground to the public forum merely diminishes us all.

When statesmen like Jay Hammond and Clem Tillion walked the halls of Juneau, they suffered their own political defeats. After licking their wounds in private, they joined hands with those across the aisle to face the issue that was next on the agenda. Gracious in victory and stoic in defeat, these men were true Alaskans. They gave us an example of how we too might achieve harmony and live in peace with our neighbors.   

  Jean Meaux Ballanco


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