In a Civil Society - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2078869

In a Civil Society

As mayor of North Haven Village since the summer of last year, I have entered, wide-eyed, life in a municipality after all my adult life in the corporate world.

In a business environment, we always encouraged people to speak their minds; we urged associates to articulate their positions on various topics. They didn’t hesitate. Their opinions, at times passionately expressed, were looked upon not with scorn but rather acceptance. Not everyone was satisfied with the final result of the exchange, but everyone accepted the decisions of a well-functioning management team.

But in another world, in which I now exist, name-calling and labeling is the specialty of the day. Disagree with an expressed opinion? “Bully” is the label applied. Express a contrary opinion or state of mind? Now you may be called a “tyrant.”

These are powerful words. Like the too often used “racist,” they connote a refusal to make an attempt at dialogue. These words don’t belong in our public discourse.

Mature, lively, respectful and spirited discussions should be the order of the day. Encouraged. Celebrated. This is local government at work. And when the dust settles, there is a vote. There is always a vote. Some are disappointed with the vote’s result. That’s America. Trustees, like juries, make decisions — that’s their job. Never will everyone agree.

But life, in a civil society, goes on.

Chris Fiore


Village of North Haven