Wilmington, Ohio has a strong reputation for being many things. It is largely a Christian community, a Quaker community, one that believes and promotes diversity, inclusion, and was noted “the best small town in America.”
Wilmington, and the greater Clinton County community, have been knocked down many a time before and demonstrated grit, perseverance and resilience. We are a “pull your boots on and get to work” kind of people.
We are a helping, and a forgiving people.
And so, with the recent Sugar Grove saga, I am dismayed and wonder: “What happened to us?”
True, I am a transplant, but have had the privilege of considering Wilmington and Clinton County my home for a quarter of a century. I am a graduate, resident, employee, and volunteer here, and I am deeply affected by what happens in this community.
I am horrified by the ease and acceptance of the vile, hateful and violent remarks posted on social media and in response to the related articles, and especially to our neighbors.
In a climate where there is no mediation, no interception of the mob mentality ready for a firing squad, I can’t help but think, “Are we not any better than THAT?”
Mistakes have been made. Feelings have been hurt. Emotions are running high, and some believe that someone should pay.
My friends, continuing to perpetuate this current state is a testament of how we have failed one another.
So how do we move forward? How do we heal? How do we work together to prevent another similar mishap in the future?
First, we must be willing to accept that what has been done is done. There is no rewind, only forward.
Second, we must be willing to forgive each other and ourselves for our misgivings: miscommunication; lack of knowledge; and the failure to know and/or teach/share, and do our civic duties.
Third, we use this as a learning opportunity. Where did we fall short? What can be done differently in the future? How do we become better?
Until, and unless, we are committed to these three things, then we will continue to fail each other; we will continue to foster divisiveness; and we will have changed nothing.
If being part of this community has shown me anything, it has shown me that there are more times than not that we have overcome trial and tribulation together.
I am confident that we can do it again. The time is now.
Tracy Hopkins completed undergraduate studies at Wilmington College and graduate studies at Wright State University. She is a Clinton County resident and is involved in community interests.