To the editor:
Last fall, I shared a conversation with my neighbor Alison Taylor in her driveway where she said, “I believe people can have differing opinions and beliefs, but we at least can show respect. This is our home.”
That conversation meant a lot to me then and even more so now. It was a reminder that this town is something beautiful, special and a storied place to call home.
In the spirit of that conversation, I am ashamed that someone thought it funny or appropriate to engage in such a lowbrow act of idiocy as to leave a balloon depicting a clown at her back steps. I am equally sorry that I did not get a chance to see who did it, nor that I could offer more than a “we will keep an eye out for you and [your child]” comfort. However, that is what neighbors do for each other… regardless of one’s opinions, beliefs, political allegiances or even cultural mores because “this is our home.”
Contemporaneously to this act, Dr. Buckey had a photo uploaded anonymously to one of the town community pages in the caricature of a clown, another act of lowbrow idiocy meant clearly to inflame tensions and suspicion in an already contentious situation. It is equally shameful and embarrassing.
In the spirit of transparency, Dr. Buckey is a friend of mine and has been for 15 years, and for the length of that friendship I have found him to be a man of character and of hard work, with a decades-long devotion to education, educators, students and their families. I am immensely proud to call him my friend and that he so eagerly pursued the chance to be our superintendent.
Further, given his tenure started just a month before the world as we knew it stopped and changed forever, I am also immensely proud of the tireless efforts he put forward in guiding this community through an event few on earth (thankfully) have living memory of. In my capacity as a resident, a taxpayer and hopefully a future father myself, I wish to say that I am grateful for his ongoing service to the people of Marblehead.
I am not looking to persuade or castigate anyone — but ask that each of us pause for a moment and reflect on how bellowing into our collective echo chambers only escalates and magnifies the vitriol that has come to a head this week.
I may disagree with the means, manner and process by which this new School Committee is operating under, but as they say “elections have consequences,” just as decisions stemming from those elections have consequences both immediate and long term that we must contend with collectively.
I appreciate that the aforementioned trauma of COVID-19 did little to dampen the atmosphere of fractured communal bonds both locally and nationally, but the veracity, insinuation and character attacks at large has left us looking small, petty and vengeful. Such an environment is wholly unrecognizable to me and is not indicative of the town I grew up in, and it is not a town philosophy in which any would wish to raise a child.
I am under no illusions as to the final act of this drama, but I would hope that there could be some dignity, grace and decency introduced. No one side is blameless, and no one side is without its merit, but all should be thankful for those who volunteer to be the leaders of our community, our school district and guarantors of our future success and growth as a town.
In a final ask, in the spirit of Barnegat, or Clifton, of Shipyard or West Shore, I wonder if we might take a collective break from the civic rot that is social media and just enjoy being neighbors again? We are so much better than this, and we know it.