The Recorder - My Turn: An open letter to my fellow citizens of the beautiful city of Leiden

Posted: 02/15/2022 06:05:07 Modified: 02/15/2022 06:03:15 Greetings. By way of introduction, I came to live in Leiden in 1987. Bef...



Posted: 02/15/2022 06:05:07

Modified: 02/15/2022 06:03:15

Greetings. By way of introduction, I came to live in Leiden in 1987. Before that, I lived in Colrain from 1978. Before Colrain, I was an oriental. I have lived in several different suburbs of Boston. I am one of those not so rare city transplants in these hills who migrated to this area for various reasons and became part of an established community.

Having only lived in Leiden for about 35 years, you could say I’m one of the first timers in town. However, from the start, I never felt like a beginner. Although I cannot speak to everyone’s experience, my experience as a new Leydenite has been one of a friendly, welcoming and caring community. I’ve always felt, and what I’ve always loved about Leiden, is that it has a ‘folklore’ charm. I mean this in the most positive and endearing way: folksy as well as informal, colloquial in style, laid back, friendly and approachable in the interactions between its citizens. Of course, as with any social network, there have been disagreements and controversies. Anyone who has been in Leiden for a while might remember “Privygate” (ask someone if you don’t know what it is), or problems with the shooting range, or the closing of our primary school, or a number of other subjects. . But in the end, I never felt that these issues lingered long in the minds of citizens. We continued. If there were grudges and retaliatory measures being considered, I was unaware of them.

Anyone who has followed the news from Leiden as reported in the Recorder knows that there are changes afoot in our city. There has been infighting among citizens, a move towards division, somewhat mirroring what is happening across the country, only in this case around local issues. It saddens me. It should not be so in beautiful Leiden.

It seems that folk Leiden is dying out lately. I have always considered myself to be on the liberal/progressive side of the political and social spectrum. Although I always think of myself in this light, I find myself having opinions that diverge from what I would generally consider to be about the same political/social mindset.

We talked about racism in Leiden. Personally, I haven’t seen any first-hand evidence of it, although I have no doubt it exists. It’s an imperfect world, after all. I’m one of those people who tends to believe that everyone has had at one time or another, and maybe more often than we care to admit, racist, sexist, misogynistic or other kind of “ist” thinking. “. Yes, it is important to be aware of the things we say or do that could be degrading or hurtful to others. But sometimes we screw up; it is the trap of the human being. When mistakes are made, they must be corrected. There is no place for racism (and again, any other ism) in a world that desperately needs to realize our common humanity.

I don’t believe, however, that people should be summarily canceled for the mistakes they make. Good things have been done by people who have made mistakes. Also, not all indecent things that are said or done exist on an equal plane. Judgments about the seriousness of a transgression are one of the foundations of our legal system, and so should be the assessment of the seriousness of a lack of judgment.

The division that currently seems to be in evidence in Leiden revolves around how we judge the degree of violation of expected decorum. In my opinion, there has been a harshness in the judgment regarding this violation, and this seems to me a significant change from what my old Leiden was, the one who did not judge me as a beginner in town 35 years ago. .

Is Leiden folklore a thing of the past? Are we in Leiden becoming more formal, less casual, more suspicious and hypervigilant in our interactions, and quicker to judge under the banner of political correctness? Are we more and more divided? God, I hope not! I am concerned about how the concept of ‘moving forward’ here in Leiden should be interpreted. I was happy with the old folk Leiden. What a loss, should she be lost.

We are human. We make mistakes.

We all have warts. You and me.

Jerry Levine lives in Leiden.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The Recorder - My Turn: An open letter to my fellow citizens of the beautiful city of Leiden
The Recorder - My Turn: An open letter to my fellow citizens of the beautiful city of Leiden
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