2021 President of the Palm City Chamber of Commerce Tyson Waters
One step closer to fall and cooler weather (well cooler weather somewhere!). Having thought we had moved on from Covid concerns, or at least reduced those concerns, we are now once again faced with wearing masks when out and about and last month confronted with sending our children back to school, with or without a mask requirement. As we encountered last year around the same time, the decision to wear or not wear mask often results in heated discussions and strong beliefs one way or the other. We have seen these emotional responses across the nation, within the state and our County. Those that know me well know my feelings and past requests for respectful discussions, whether with the idea of having a cup of coffee with someone whose opinions may differ from you or just a simple statement on thinking before we speak. With what has occurred recently, and with anticipation that emotions may remain high in the weeks and months ahead, I wanted to use this month’s article to republish the Chamber’s statement on civility that we prepared and issued around this time last year. Please read. We are a small community, but a strong and vocal one. We must slow down and give all others the same level of respect we desire to be given to ourselves. It is okay to disagree and in fact that is what makes us stronger and better. Even if you don’t agree with another person, slow down and take the time to listen and try to understand why they believe and feel the way they do. You may likely still not agree with them, but you at least will hopefully appreciate their feelings. This remains true for your neighbors, for strangers and especially our local officials. If you find yourself on the other side of a discussion with someone, take a deep breath and before posting something on social media, writing an angry letter or providing public comment at a meeting, give that person a call, take the time to sit down with them (and yes have a cup of coffee or a beer with them) and just listen. You will be amazed at the difference it will make.
I would love to be your first call to have a cup of coffee (or beer) with! We are your Community Chamber and are always Keepin’ It PC.
From July 2020:
Civility – a formal politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech. As we struggle our way through the Covid-19 pandemic, the resulting regulations, mandates and closures, and in anticipation of local, state and federal elections in the coming months, we must never forget this word, its meaning and the underlying principles. We must never forget we are but one community, one state and one country. We, as individuals and as the Palm City Chamber of Commerce, cherish our rights of free speech and the value of honest debate and discussion. But as we debate and discuss the issues that confront us, and the tough decisions that follow, we must always demonstrate civility, and respect, especially to those that may disagree with us and to those we have placed in charge to govern. We must appreciate differing views and opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. We must listen. The next time you make public comment at a Commission or Board meeting, the next time you go to post a message on social media, or even the next time you debate a neighbor, friend or stranger, slow down, think about the words you are about to say and the actions to come. Think of these words. CIVILITY. RESPECT. Embrace them. Too many in our community, our state and in our country have lost sight of the basic principles. If you will not uphold and honor these words in your actions, why should others. Why should our leaders? Why should our teachers? Why should our children! Change starts with you. Change starts with us. Change starts with our community. Let us appreciate each other and our differing views and opinions, without name calling, demeaning rhetoric or, even worse, hate filled speech. We, as the Palm City Chamber of Commerce, as leaders of the community, and as your neighbors and friends, take the pledge to do so. As we work our way through these difficult and trying times, let us respect our differences. Let us be civil in our words, actions and deeds. The time is now. We, as individuals and as a community-oriented Chamber of Commerce, will demand this of our leaders and of those that exercise their rights of free speech and public comment. Please, let us all practice civility.