Be passionate, but leave room for compromise

To the editor:

I appreciate passionate arguments for a sincerely held belief. What I find unacceptable, though, is when that passion leads to inferring that those who do not hold the same belief are evil and/or immoral.

When a person or person’s ardent belief precludes the possibility of genuine conversation, simply because in their mind there can only be one correct position or outcome, then there will be only one result and that is anger and frustration all around. And that is exactly the outcome of the meeting in which I was a participant.

When I listen to folks who promote a position of environmental safety, but they themselves were cited by the DNR for manure runoff into a water source, I tend to question their sincerity, thinking to myself that their so called “environmental concern” is simply one of convenience, not conviction.

I hear over and over from folks proffering their passion that they have lived here in Jefferson County for varying lengths of time, believing I suppose that it lends credibility to their passion, and I think to myself that the very folks they consider evil and immoral are four, five, six and seven-generation families. Those generational families built Jefferson County from the ground up and without them, there would not be a Jefferson County for the other side to have a passion for.

I came away from the meeting thinking to myself that for those “passionate” group of folks, there is no compromise in their passion. When their emotion runs their agenda, only one possible outcome will ever be acceptable, simply put they are right and everyone else is wrong. No one else’s “passion” should exist if it is counter to theirs.

Fortunately, in the parking lot after the meeting, I had an ensuing “conversation” with two young ladies and one gentleman who attended the aforementioned meeting, and it was a pleasant and insightful conversation. I wish to thank them here publically for their reasonableness, inspiration and willingness to receive information they were unaware of prior to our conversation. Truly, they restored my belief there can be common ground achieved, if we recognize that while “passion” has its benefits, success is driven by the understanding that both sides of an equation are necessary to arrive at a solution to a problem.

- Lee Dimmitt, Jefferson County Supervisor