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Viewpoint

Awaiting alternatives to the nixed N.H. Charrette plan

Well, congratulations to the citizens of Rindge. The lynch mob has found its victim, and the Charrette hangs limply from the noose.

I don’t know too much about the Charrette, except as I understand it, it was an idea to get people passing through town to stop and maybe spend a buck. Maybe that dollar would end up in the pocket of a resident, and just possibly that would eventually benefit the town.

What a concept?

I’ve been unable to attend any of the meetings and hearings on the subject, but from the troubling reports I’ve had there is something to say.

I feel that some people need to go back to school and study up on what it means to be a citizen of this country of ours. I was born just six years after the end of World War II, a war when it was pretty clear to all the men and women involved just what we were fighting for. In my life I have witnessed many things which reflect not so well on our country: The McCarthy Trials in the ’50s, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War in the ’60s and ’70s, school desegregation, what-have-you. At times I have hoped we were past all that.

Lately, however, I am appalled at the level of uncivil and downright racist attitudes that have been expressed in general, largely at high volume, and in particular about the Charrette and the members of the Rindge Planning Board. Is it just the Internet age that allows people to rant at will from behind their computer screens with impunity? Fine, but to show up at a public hearing and express such views?

The members of the Planning Board are your neighbors. They are people who realized that citizenship is a duty and responsibility. They are unpaid volunteers who decided to give of their own time to see that the necessary work of democracy gets done. They have no agenda beyond seeing the aims of the Master Plan carried out. Where did the Master Plan come from? It was created and voted on by the citizens of Rindge.

Now, I was raised on two basic principles: The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is what Martin Luther King fought for. It means that if we’re both shopping at Market Basket, I can’t tip over your shopping cart, and if I get to the checkout line ahead of you, you have to wait your turn. Difficult?

The other principle is that if you don’t like something, you’d better be ready to suggest a damned good alternative.

I’m awaiting your ideas.

William Thomas lives in Rindge.

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