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In Stockbridge Us vs. Them rhetoric is divisive, inaccurate

In his letter to the editor, Rich Bradway of Stockbridge writes: "The term 'our own' identifies 'locals' as noble of heart, and 'transplants' as having ulterior motives and something to hide.

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to John Hart’s letter from the other day. His current crusade is for fostering a growing mistrust for the people who run the town of Stockbridge. While he is entitled to his opinion, in his assertion, Mr. Hart injects a bit of rhetoric that he has employed in much of his public discourse. He uses the term “our own.”

I would like to know what that means.

If I look at the context of his recent musings, I would take it to be a person who has lived in our community so long, that he or she is a veritable native of the town and has the truest and noblest of intentions for the town in mind.

If that is what he means, how long does one have to live here to qualify?

My parents bought their home in Stockbridge in 1952. I live in that home now. Through my extended family of ancestors, aunts, uncles, and cousins, my family has lived in the area far, far, longer. Yet, I do not feel like I am a part of “our own.”

Maybe it is because of the fact that I left Stockbridge in the early 1990’s to live in Boston to pursue a career in technology. Long-time residents of Stockbridge will observe that Stockbridge is not known for its technology sector.

However, the allure of the big city did not last and in 2004, with advances in telecommuting, my wife and I made a conscious decision to move back to the area to raise our family. All due to the fond and nurturing memories I had of the town in which I grew up.

Perhaps my time away has disqualified me from being a part of Mr. Hart’s club.

Or perhaps, it is because the term “our own” sounds all too dubious. It positions long-time residents as locals and everyone else as transplants. It identifies “locals” as noble of heart, and “transplants” as having ulterior motives and something to hide.

If Mr. Hart is an observer of history, he will see that this type of “us and them” talk is divisive, not constructive. By introducing this type of rhetoric into his dialogue, Mr. Hart has laid the groundwork for further, more vitriolic commentary in our community.

This is something I will not be party to.

Rich Bradway


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