To the Editor and Gilliam County residents,

Rural counties across America are fortunate to be relatively peaceful places in a country increasingly divided by opposing viewpoints and even violence. But what is it that sets us apart? I believe it comes from a deeper tolerance of our differences and personal accountability to each other.

In rural areas there are fewer of us to get the job done and make things work. Small counties and towns survive because we are communities of volunteers who pull together regardless of our differing political or social views. We’ve learned to overlook our differences because we recognize what we have in common is much more important and valuable than what sets us apart. We have a tradition of focusing on the greater good rather than our narrower individual interests. These are things we learned growing up surrounded by people who taught us the value of working together for the betterment of our communities.

The Gilliam County we live in today is not the product of our labor alone. We owe a debt of gratitude to the generations who came before us for the sacrifices they made to pass on to us the communities we now enjoy. We have this because the people who came before us knew how to work together to achieve common goals and dreams. They cared less about your political leanings, and more about whether you would work with your friends and neighbors to make the community a better place. We have social contract with our predecessors to take care of what they created for our benefit, as well as to continually improve upon it. It is also our responsibility to pass along a peaceful and prosperous county to future generations.

When speaking with others or writing something for publication in print or on social media, ask yourself two questions. If my parents or grandparents were to read this, would they be proud of how I represented myself, or appalled by how little I had learned from them? Is my attitude so loud that no one will hear what I am saying? We can be civil, and agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

I believe rural communities like ours can provide an example to our nation of how people with different political and social views can work together for a better future. Let’s not cast aside a tradition of tolerance entrusted to us by the generations who came before us.

Respectfully submitted, Jordan Maley — Fourth generation resident, Gilliam County


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