Each of us has the ability to stay angry; the question is, ‘why?’ | Publisher's Column

I love Whidbey Island. I love being the publisher of the Whidbey News Group newspapers. From my days in high school paper when we would travel to Oak Harbor once a month to build the newsapaper, I wanted to work here.

And I did. First in 1986, as a college intern, later as a staff reporter. When I interviewed members of the community — whether prominent or someone who tried to dodge the spotlight — people were almost always polite and respectful.

Flash forward to today.

I regularly run into people who were here 20-plus years ago, people who were always lovely. At the Coupeville Arts & Crafts 50th celebration, for example, I ran into Coupeville resident Emily Ramsey.

Emily was very active in the community in the 1980s and ‘90s. She always had strong opinions, political and otherwise, but was genuinely friendly and gracious. Seeing her again brought back many memories.

It got me thinking about the countless other people I wrote about as a reporter. Some are still here, some moved away and others passed on.

I also pondered changes in our island community during the 13 years I worked off island at another newspaper.

Like cursive writing going by the wayside in many of our schools, civility seems to be a waning attribute. Perhaps carryover from the Wild West that is the Internet, people are more prone to cursing, yelling to get their points across, insulting others and making threats and demands that are quite often illogical when you dissect them.

It makes me long for the old days — and yes, I know that makes me sound old and sentimental.

Still, I miss them.

If there’s anything I’ve learned since becoming publisher and editor here, it’s to pause and breathe before responding to someone who is lobbing insults, calling names or making threats.

There’s more to every situation than meets the eye — that’s what I keep reminding myself.

I am a painfully shy person, and that has caused some to describe me as aloof, or even “stuck up.” I think most shy people understand how that works.

But sometimes shy is just, well, shy.

The fact is, all of us are human, and sometimes feelings get hurt. How we respond to those hurt feelings or anger is determined by each of us.

Each of us has the ability to pause, take a breath, consider that there’s likely more to every scenario than we know. There is always a way to find the common ground.

Each of us also has the ability to remain angry and bitter and ensure everyone around us knows about it.

You decide which is healthier and more constructive.

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