We are gaslighting the [City of Powell River] name change process just like we gaslighted the vaccination challenge [“Letter: Possible name change strategy is one of tortuous fatigue," May 10].
I have spent the last part of my professional life working with organizations and communities that want to establish a more engaged and open democracy. This work has given me insight into the factors and patterns of behaviour that contribute to a vibrant and healthy community and those that undermine these characteristics.
What I have witnessed in the Potential Name Change (PNC) process is a textbook example of what happens to a community when it has lost faith in its democracy as a protracted experience. When a loss of faith becomes a general expectation, there is groundwater contamination of relationships that become personal and destructive. This is the condition under which we are considering a name change.
It is a slippery slope. Loss of faith becomes a loss of trust, and a loss of trust becomes a loss of interest that diminishes understanding and eventually leads to a loss in cohesion. A loss of community cohesion leads to a rigid, polarized and demonizing culture.
How do we break the cycle?
Ironically, the only way to break the cycle of cynicism involves a leap in faith. I suggest this leap begin with trusting the work of the two PNC facilitators. Their design process offers an opportunity, but we must be willing to withhold judgements and step into the occasion.
I became involved in the PNC process out of curiosity. I was curious to see how the conversations would be structured and how access would be determined. I have seen many attempts fail and always for the same reasons. My antennae were up.
I am convinced that what I saw and heard should have been enough to engage us in constructive conversations. But that is not what has happened. We seem to have slipped too far down the slope.
Please put your anger and angst where it belongs come the next election. In the meantime, take a leap of faith and consider all the possible alternatives.
Gaslighting: when someone attempts to twist another person’s perception of information or events.