Opinion

Letter to the Editor: A plea for civility in Swampscott

Thank you for your front page editorial titled “A Questionable Question in Swampscott” (Daily Item, April 18) about Board of Selectmen candidate Dina Maietta’s question to incumbent Selectmen Don Hause given her knowledge that he has battled cancer in recent years while serving as selectman.

The Item is leading by example in calling out inappropriate comments such as this one. Sadly, these comments are becoming more and more commonplace in our society.

While it is sad to see them on the national level, it is somehow even more disheartening to see the spread of lack of civility on the local level into our small town.

People can make up their own minds whether they want Dina Maietta to lead Swampscott. What cannot be ignored, however, is that insensitive behavior lowers the bar to a degree that others feel comfortable joining the fray.

One example was a social media post commenting on your editorial by a longtime Swampscott resident, local realtor, and former member of the Historic Commission, who stated: “[i]t’s not the woman who asked the question who should be questioned. Hause has a terrible disease. As a husband and father of three kids, what are his priorities? I cannot understand why any human being would put himself and his family in such a situation.”

I cannot believe what we’ve come to by questioning someone’s priorities as a father and a husband in deciding to volunteer for our town — a husband and a father who is working through all the challenges of living with cancer.

This is why The Item’s editorial is so important. This is why I am writing this letter. This pattern of hurtful and inappropriate comments and utter lack of civility cannot be accepted as the new normal. It is our responsibility to call it out when we see and hear it.

Thank you for doing that.

Tara Myslinski

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