Editorial: A broad brush

A letter published last week from an out-of-towner created quite a bit of commentary on The Bulletin’s website and Facebook page, most of it critical of the letter writer. She said she felt Wilton residents were ill-mannered.

She did not say how many times she has visited and she certainly painted the town with a broad brush. As might be expected, many people took offense. But there are a few lessons to be learned from this letter.

As a community, we know Wilton is not dominated by rude and inconsiderate people. Far from it. But clearly there is something going on for her to form this opinion.

One needs look no further than the shelves of the town’s food pantry brimming with donations or the fabulous Norwalk River Valley Trail or beautiful Veterans Memorial Gren, both built with private money, to see how generous Wiltonians are. Less visible are the many acts of kindness that take place every day, the fund-raisers that reap thousands of dollars in donations for good causes of all sorts.

But there is another side of Wilton. How many times do we see comments posted on social media that are highly critical to the point where they virtually eviscerate someone’s character? Public meetings — artificial turf and age-restricted housing to name two in recent memory — have brought out some decidedly uncivil behavior. There is nothing wrong in voicing an opinion, but some people have reached out to The Bulletin, worried about the impression outsiders might form of the town from such behavior.

There is also another lesson to be learned from the letter in question. That is, how often do we do the same thing? How often do we think poorly of an institution, an organization, a business, or even a person based on one or two experiences? It only takes one frustrating experience with a phone tree or website to think badly of your credit card company, your insurance company, or even some places here in town.

The bottom line is, we all need to be a little nicer to one another. We all need to put someone else’s shoe on our foot and be willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Repeated bad experiences, then you’ve got a point. But one or two, let’s cut some slack.