OUR VIEW: Difficult conversations often lead to workable solutions
Quite possibly the biggest takeaway from the city commissioners forum hosted by the NAACP Ardmore Chapter on Thursday is the number of difficult conversations we need to have as a community.
Far too easily and far too often, our beliefs, approach and attitude toward specific issues or situations are entirely dependent on our own anecdotal experiences.
With issues like homelessness or racial profiling — which were addressed at lengths during Thursday’s forum — one's opinion of the matter is often most influenced by their own experience.
The human experience is unique to each and every one of us and people often reflect the countless variables experienced throughout a lifetime, for better or worse.
Something as simple as the color of a person's skin, the areas they live, work or otherwise frequent, or their stake in downtown can factor in developing an individual's outlook on Ardmore and the world in general.
In most cases, these are outlooks that are difficult to share with others. The perspective gained from living these experiences is not always easily relayed to those who have been largely shielded from them.
If we don’t regularly see it, is it really a problem or is it only a problem if it happens to us?
For some, it is easy to forget these reoccurring issues simply because they are not part of our daily lives. For others, they can be a daily reminder that all is not well in our city.
Some of these difficult conversations have already played out on a national stage but have mostly fallen along political lines. If you listen closely, you can hear that influence on the local conversations and the detrimental effect it has on our own quality of life.
The conversations, while often uncomfortable, are necessary if we are to achieve the results we all deserve. If we want peace, prosperity and a better quality of life then we must first address the issues preventing those outcomes for all and not just those we believe deserve it.
The seven candidates running for Ardmore’s city commission all have unique backgrounds, experiences and priorities, but more importantly they’ve all managed to move several of these difficult conversations forward in a productive manner.
It is quite possible that the results of the April election will make a larger impact on our city than any election has in decades. But that impact is just as dependent on community involvement.
We have a strong field of candidates for the city commission but Ardmore needs voters and engaged citizens all moving the city in a positive direction, even if that means acknowledging some uncomfortable truths.