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A Season For Community

Send your opinion pieces and letters to the editor to william.laforme@patch.com.

The following is an opinion piece from State Senator Katherine Clark:

This is a question many of us are asking ourselves and our loved ones.  Last Friday’s horror in Newtown, Connecticut stands in sharp contrast to the warm scenes of holiday joy and togetherness that permeate our communities and our homes at this time of year.  The fact that this act of shocking violence occurred during the holidays, a time of such joy for so many children, adds to the heartbreak. 

At times of such devastating, national grief, it can be difficult to come together and enjoy the holidays without guilt or aching sadness. 

But that is what we must do.  While we process our own confusion and anxiety and help our children do the same, we have another challenge as well: to be present to what is truly important – our families and loved ones, our communities, and the welfare of all the children in our community.

The magic of the holidays transcends our religious beliefs, politics, and differences and draws our focus to one simple question: how do we treat each other?  As President Obama said, we owe it to the memory of these children and their courageous teachers to build a world worthy of their lives.

We honor all those lost when we reach out to those in need.  Whether it is a veteran, an isolated senior, a child, an unemployed neighbor, or anyone who is suffering, sick or alone; there are many who need our help and support.

We honor our communities when we approach our politics with mutual respect and compassion. We must change the caustic tone of our public debate to solve our nation’s most intractable problems, including those tragically illuminated in Newtown such as gun control, our mental health system, and school security. 

The greatest gift we can give this holiday season is to renew our commitment to each other, our shared values and civil dialogue. All children deserve our best efforts to look past our own fence posts, drop our rigid ideology and move to common, and therefore higher, ground.

We will move forward together; it is the hallmark of our community.  As we do, I wish you and your families much joy, good health and peace in your hearts and your homes. 

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