I have been following the uproar regarding Mayor Nick Isgro’s comments and have developed an overwhelming need to speak up.

As a former Winslow resident, I have just completed my master’s of social work degree in Boston, where the animosity between the “left” and “right” is a very real thing. Although a registered Republican with moderately conservative views, I embarked on this degree of social service known to be primarily left to improve the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged children. I felt an overwhelming need to speak up on behalf of Mayor Isgro because of my own personal experiences.

Having spent my first year of social work school silent, trapped, and scared to share my personal views out of fear of rejection, renunciation, or even retaliation from my peers and professors, I was directly giving power to the narrow-minded, tunnel-vision bullies that believe a differing opinion is flat-out wrong and in some extreme cases considered racist or sexist.

I learned through my education that speaking up, speaking out, and listening is invaluable. But how can this be when we persecute, harass and threaten those who speak up and speak out differently than what we may believe? Many on the left preach tolerance and equity but refuse to agree to disagree and thus attack one’s character and career. Tolerance and open dialogue is imperative to create change, voice beliefs, and spread knowledge. We are harming and failing ourselves if those who do so are criticized and ridiculed.

Mayor Isgro is being bullied and I’m disappointed in many of the Waterville residents that are suggesting those who don’t believe what they believe are wrong. I propose we all encourage dialogue, listen intently, and learn.

Chelsea Carrier

Brookline, Mass.