Letter: Good things can come from difficult issues

To the Editors:

TASC (Toward A Stronger Community) is reminded of the marvelous Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom of Speech, when reflecting upon the recent town dialogues associated with air quality and special (education) services. The first of the Four Freedoms series, that work goes back over 70 years to typify our much older and continuing New England tradition of democratic public debate.

From the tradition, and from our town’s own diversity, we gather much strength, and in many cases a better set of solutions for a broader representation of residents. We very much admire those who have the courage to speak up in forums that may not contain a majority of supporters. We understand the personal costs and risks of being involved. And we especially want to note that an unexpected consequence of the interaction and the engagement is often improved understanding between parties, and long-term measures of increased benefit and better outcomes.

All parties to the recent concerns will see positive results. Testing agencies will sharpen their focus on methods and procedures. A new school administration will view the impacts of certain decisions from a broader perspective. Parents and special interest groups will find that their arguments can reach a wide audience with clarity and speed. Attorneys will recognize that their work is also subject to inspection, evaluation, and comparison in the public spaces. Facilitators, middlemen, and service providers of all sorts will recognize that a better controlled and more visible record will exist to document their activities. Town boards will note again the passion and intensity that underlie the issues reaching our children, who are, once again, our most valuable asset.

So useful ends do result from sometimes wrenching and tearing interaction. It can be a strengthening process. It can support the finest traditions of our basic freedoms.

Joseph R. Brenner

For TASC

Wilton, May 6