The way several residents behaved at the Stansbury Service Agency Meeting on Aug. 8 was out of line and embarrassing to our community. As a member of the board, I sat there and listened to the comments, the cat calls, the vulgarity, the misrepresentation and was shocked and disappointed. For some reason the opinion exists that elected officials need to have thick skin and it is our duty to just sit there and take it. “It’s just part of holding public office,” I’ve been told. I disagree.
I won’t sit back and let the ugliness directed toward the board occur without taking a stand. I care too deeply for these good men and women, and for my community. The board and the situation were inaccurately represented. Many in attendance were unruly and vulgar. The false accusations and mud-slinging directed toward the board were embarrassing, degrading and unnecessary. Shame on those who stooped to such levels. Nowadays this type of behavior seems to be more the norm in our public discourse than not. What a shame. It’s unproductive, does nothing but divide communities, and needs to stop.
Members of the board, though elected, serve voluntarily. Many hours are required, and it is time willingly sacrificed for the benefit of the community. We love serving and gladly give our time, but who wants to be treated so vilely? I never imagined such behavior from my friends and neighbors, some of whom I’ve known well and served with over many years. I anticipated disagreement, not hate and venom. I believed that in our community, reasonable men and women could get together and talk, figuring things out collectively. What happened on Aug. 8 was out of line, inappropriate, and given the reality that the board desires the same outcome as the community, completely unnecessary. It’s time we all take a stand and get some civility back into our public discourse. Otherwise and soon, no one will want to serve. Imagine the discourse then.
Aaron L. Spilker