It has been many years since I’ve been passionate or concerned enough about a topic to publicly express my concerns, but I have lately been filled with so much hope and despair at once that I’m nothing but compelled. I grew up in Whitefield with many conservative relatives — I have spent time with them, and know and love them. They are all good people with good hearts.

I know many of them voted for President Donald Trump in November, and I love and respect their decision. I continue to engage in constructive discourse with them, even though the direction of the country scares me. I am worried about my voice being drowned amid the vitriol and divisiveness that our president fuels on a daily basis. I worry that our president has a narrow focus and is ultimately pandering solely to elites and the 1 percent. I’m concerned with the state of politics in Washington as a whole, and worried about the legacy we will be leaving future generations.

I am also at once filled with hope by seeing all the passion and commitment shown by so many people feeling the same emotions that I am. I am writing to you from a community organized event in Rockport, seated next to a large, passionate, diverse group of people showing up to do their part. I am happy to be a part of people who care, but also want to make sure our communities and groups and friends don’t become echo chambers. I feel the most important thing we can do within our communities is to talk and listen. We have forgotten how to engage beyond the keys of our computers. Let’s not forget that discourse is healthy. Passion is an admirable character trait. Listening is necessary.

Brendan Chase

Tenants Harbor