5 thoughts on “Don’t Fence Me In”

  1. Hear, hear Kristin. Amherst has a rich history in the classically liberal sense – that is: tolerant, lively, engaged and respectful. That spirit has been shouted down or drowned out too much in recent years. I applaud the arrival of this blog and your post especially. And I agree with Richard’s point calling for substance and substantive debate.

    Thank you for raising the topic, – getting it right will improve the health of the community. Let’s keep the discussion going.

    Tom Porter


  2. Thank you for this, Kristin. So concisely capturing both the great schism, the personal pain and frustration that seems to be paired with engagement in any civil discourse in Amherst, but also a pathway forward based on truth, trust, and listening — that is the hard part I know I can do better at myself.


  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and opening the space. I was struck to read these lines: “The ideological camps in town cemented when the school vote failed.” I think that’s too blunt an analysis. I don’t think the camps are as cemented as the writer makes them out to be. In my time here I feel like I have seen camps in town calcify around the capital projects – like the previous schools or the library expansion and the current renovation project. But there’s not perfect overlap among those camps and I’ve certainly seen lots of intra-camp diversity of opinion on other issues like removing the parking lot in front of town hall or how to approach policing in town.


  4. A new blog that does not address the substance of what the big division in town is actually about will be missing the boat. We already have one website in town that essentially serves as an echo chamber for one political tribe in town, and it’s wearying. A second one for the other tribe solves nothing. The competing visions of the future that are presumably behind the conflict have to be engaged carefully and delicately in a civilized, intellectual space that’s safe from the brickbats. We need to get at the substance, somewhere, sometime, how about now? For the time being, I see it, at least in part, as the difference between a sleepy downtown and a bustling one, but you can see that I’ve already slipped into loading the argument. Lord knows if we’ll get some fair engagement in our political forums, that we can sink our teeth into, that we can talk about afterwards, this fall. I thank you for the beginning of this effort.


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