It's time to come together | In Our Opinion | Oct. 30

If letters written to an editor prior to a general election are accurate barometers of a community’s political state of mind, then Bainbridge Island is currently fragmented, apprehensive, suspicious, truculent, accusatory and, in a few instances, quite litigious. This is not a particularly friendly group right now, at least when it comes to trying to decide who got us into this mess and how to get out of it.

About 60 election-related letters and a handful of guest columns have been published in the last three editions of the Review, and probably another dozen couldn’t fit into the space allotted. If letters weren’t published, it’s because they were either too long or were similar to others that preceded them.

With two very important issues – EMS and school levies – and six candidates running heated races for three City Council positions, there was a concentrated effort by the Review to ensure that both sides received equal representation. Some candidates put more emphasis on letter-writing campaigns than others, but whenever possible positions were equally represented. What has been striking about the letters and columns is the degree of emotional involvement by the writers, and their obvious sense of obligation to let readers know how they feel about a specific issue or column. No doubt, islanders really care about their home, which, in many instances, is demonstrated by their involvement and sincere efforts to become knowledgeable.

Sometimes to a fault, however, since there seems to be a growing maliciousness involving island politics. If you’re on one side, then your enemy is on the other. It’s not unique here, of course, nor is it something that just happened overnight. But, when devisiveness seems to be pervasive in a small community, tolerance, patience and neutrality are invaluable attributes when seeking solutions.

It seems that Bainbridge has been a community looking for an identity in the last decade or two, which is probably why there’s so much contention. Will it be found in the outcome of this election? No. Only coming together will do that.

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