A place at the table

MEEKER | Finding a “place at the table” in participating in Colorado’s legislative process was all important at the beginning of our conversations about finding solutions to statewide issues. Eventually how that place was occupied became even more important. Each representative’s actions became the essential components to ensuring that the interests of both rural and urban communities were represented.

Inclusion in every conversation, as well as acceptance of all points of view are only two of the essential components to keep moving forward. The other is productive communication. While we have Sunshine Laws that dictate open meetings, we seem to resort to withdrawing and putting up roadblocks when it appears no one is listening to our particular point of view.

Resolving these differences becomes an unreachable goal when sides are taken.

“You just don’t understand.”

“We have always done it this way.”

These are fightin’ words. No understanding has been reached by anyone at this point. What hasn’t been said aloud is the biggest obstacle of all: YOU are the problem.

Building a foundation for being able to have reasonable discussions must include immersion experiences or exchange visits. These are not new to most of our communities, but they need to be tailored to the needs of the particular individuals involved. We cannot achieve understanding without them. None of us are capable of reaching the point where we can “sit down at the table” and solve the problems we are all facing without doing just that.

By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times

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