After hearing about the derogatory remarks of a potential candidate for Legislature on an innocent student from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I simply had to respond with an open letter to the editor (“Maine House candidate who attacked 2 survivors of Florida shooting drops out of race,” March 19).

Having had discussions with peers with multiple views on this topic over the last few days, it seems time we all speak up to promote civility however we feel comfortable. Being civil does not mean we avoid conflict, but that we embrace the fact that this is how our country has become an even more perfect union over time. Although this is true, there is no place for name calling or hatred in our remarks, no matter how we feel. The angry words spoken this past week were wrong, and even an apology seems disingenuous after such language is used. How do we move past such statements of evident hatred? Individuals stepped up to run against this individual, and he eventually stepped down, but how should the rest of us react?

I’m sure water-cooler and home conversations on this topic are rampant these days, yet this type of hatred deserves more than passive conversations. No matter what your political party, we need to agree to be more civil in our discourse. We need to agree to take a stand and react appropriately when hurtful language or actions are used.

As a first responder from Parkland recently stated, he is ashamed for the good folks in Maine who could be represented by such a person. We are better than this, and even though this is not easy for many of us that have strong opinions, how far can we go when we work through our conflicts and stand together united in our assertion that such hatred will never define any one of us and especially the lot of us.

Jeremy Pare


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