Fresh Eyes: Respect thy neighbor

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Lindsay Burkartby Lindsay Burkart

There is so much good that could be done in Greensboro based on the assets we have within the city, but we tend to focus on the wrong things. We are creating our own discord. As a city, we cannot continue to hinder growth and fight against our own community partners. There is so much hope, energy and passion within Greensboro, but all is overshadowed by negative headlines and public squabbles.

I realize it may seem hypocritical to sit here and write an opinion article about people publicly expressing their own opinions but it’s exhausting to be constantly exposed to negativity and fighting. In regard to the current issues we are facing and the many opinions being expressed, I believe there is a level of decorum and respect that has been forgotten across our community.

Most arguments include the usual subjects related to growth, zoning issues, grants and government… but let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. Let’s appreciate the many good things that have come to fruition that were once considered an “issue” by some. The ballpark, aquatic center and many new housing/mixed-use developments were all once resisted but are now acknowledged as important assets.

Instead of fighting our business leaders, let’s be thankful for their many contributions. Let’s stop publicly attacking one another. Roy Carroll has especially been a beacon of hope for Greensboro. I admire his passion and dedication. The energy and resources he has put forth into the growth of our community is phenomenal. Despite some opposition, he continues to invest some of his revenue and resources locally.

I personally enjoy the many restaurant options now available thanks to Marty Kotis and his team. Greensboro has great seafood thanks to Nick Wyatt and the 1618 crew. I hate that we sometimes take these assets for granted. These businesses mean jobs, revenue, food and entertainment for all of us.

Before we continually criticize and block avenues for growth, let’s remember some positive outcomes including generating jobs and retaining the talent of the many students graduating from our local universities. The educational opportunities in this area are enormous between the many colleges and universities as well as the numerous community organizations and programs. No other city in the state of North Carolina has the same magnitude of options available, specifically in terms of education. It’s the wealth of knowledge and talent we have here that sets us apart. Expansion and development of our local campuses, like projects by Carroll and Kotis, are a matter of controversy now, but will come to be seen as visionary.

It’s disappointing to read negative comments and witness sheer ridicule between people in our city. Can’t we agree to disagree on some issues? Can’t we compromise on a few things and, at the very least, can’t we get along? Hold true to your values and be passionate about the things important to you, but do so in a way that is respectful and well informed. Bring back the needed decorum. Reckless banter is wasted energy.

State Rep. Jon Hardister was spot on when he said, “I’m not a fan of heated rhetoric or name-calling. I have found that using harsh rhetoric tends to be counterproductive, whether it comes from the left or the right.”

I don’t direct this criticism at any specific person or group. I only hope to remind people of the many great attributes of the city of Greensboro as well as to thank those who put their passion and energy to good use. Have a voice and be engaged, but in a right and fair way.

Respect thy neighbor.

Lindsay Burkart serves on the Greensboro Human Relations Commission and the Greensboro Commission on the Status of Women.

  • Anna Fesmire

    Lindsay, you have done us all a favor with your wonderful column. We all need to be reminded that tackling issues is not the same as attacking individuals. You and Representative Hardister are right on the money!

  • Thank you for the great article. Your believe and words are as it should be. For good things to happen one must cut out negativity and work together.