Can we listen to one another, even when we disagree vehemently? In Boulder, Colorado, the answer is…not so much. ~ Waylon Lewis for Boulder City Council.
Over the last week I stepped in it. I hurt and betrayed people I respect and I take responsibility for that.
Over the last week I dared to listen to “the other side,” and then sought to get answers to questions that remained—points they made that I couldn’t answer. I sought to bring both sides together to express their respective deeply-held, thoughtful points in a way that I couldn’t, on my own, playing intermediary, a game of telephone. I leveraged my endorsement, playfully, to encourage such a coming-together to happen. One side was willing to meet, one not. Fair enough—I don’t know people’s histories with one another. But, too, sad. We can disagree, vehemently, passionately, and still listen without feeling a need to bend or compromise. We might just might hear a few reasonable points, and address those in our views going forward.
So yeah: I got raked over the coals for daring to messily try, and fail, to bring folks together—not for a kumbaya hug, but to simply share their passionate perspective. This is why I’m running. And this, if I serve, will continue to be my aim.
But, too, I could have done it better. Despite the exhaustion and busyness, I could have called those concerned directly, instead of waiting for the inevitable texts, where I did ably and fully express my hopes, intention, apologies, questions, where I was coming from. But at that point it all fell on deaf ears, understandably, but sadly.
There’s not much room for coming together, let alone playfulness, around heart issues, and I get that.
And, this will be the challenge going forward, if I am to serve. Can we—me and my fellow Council members—remain friends and friendly, respectful, even as we disagree partially or completely, often, on issues vital to our community and ethics?
That’s a question for both sides, for in our heart passions we must not let ourselves become hateful.
This week has not been promising. But, too, when someone asked if my being discouraged meant I was tempted not to run, anymore, I thought of all the work, the lack of pay, the endless events and questionnaires and anonymous attacks and working on weekends and angry texts and late night 5.5 hour meetings and…the answer is:
I’m frustrated with Boulder on some fronts, and adore it fundamentally. I look forward to working to help it become more fully accessible, inspiring, responsible, and safe, and actually make some progress, find some solutions, on the challenges we have thus far failed to approach because we are too busy yelling at one another.