By Ralph Dougherty
Former Addison Planning & Zoning Commissioner (2009-2015)

Face it, Addison is deeply divided today. It will remain so as long as we allow the political game players in town to believe that there is no penalty for “stoking the fires.”

Merriam Webster’s definition of divided (adjective)

1a : separated into parts or pieces…
2a : disagreeing with each other : disunited b : directed or moved
toward conflicting interests, states, or objects <divided loyalties>
3a : separated by distance…

By this definition:

Our country is divided Our state is divided
Our county is divided Our town is divided
Our neighborhood is divided Our streets are divided
Our people are divided Our family is divided
Diversity of thought used to be the key strength of our democracy, now it is a terrible, if not fatal, weakness. Americans could count on synergistic results from the debate, in that out of many views often came the best compromise…now we achieve only suboptimal results, in that out of many views comes polarization and cynicism. We no longer talk with others; rather we are content to talk at them. We no longer listen and engage in a dialog with others; rather we perpetuate a monolog in duet. Why? Where is the payoff?

We play the game by the rules that we have been taught by our society, our culture, our churches, our parents, our media, our schools, as well as our political and economic systems. We have been taught that ours is a “Win-Lose” or Zero-Sum game society with no prizes for second place. There is, however, one significant problem with this game – There are no long term winners! Everyone who plays will ultimately lose…every one of us. As the singer Joe South penned years ago:

“Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean…”

Think about it. Who are the “game players” in town, and what positive impact do they have on our lives. Most are in the game for what they can get out of it for themselves…using others to achieve their objectives. When you are no longer useful to them they will be “gone like the wind.” Do you want to be used by others for their purposes, not yours? I doubt it. Look around, keep your eyes open, and make sure you know the truth. In the meantime:

Refuse to play the game, and hold accountable those who do.