The move last week by Belfast Mayor Samatha Paradis to call for civility in discussions between city councilors and the public was bold — and necessary.
Recent meetings have seen members of the public scold councilors in less-than-polite ways, followed by some councilors calling them out on it. But name-calling has no place in public discussions. Both sides would be much better served by remaining calm and respectful.
There will always be matters of disagreement — big or small — between councilors elected to represent the community and members of that community.
In some cases, a resident is seeking to right a perceived wrong, whether it be against one person or many. In some cases, a resident may have a grudge against the entire municipality or against one elected official in particular. In some cases, an elected official has been publicly insulted one too many times. In some cases, an elected official may have tired of hearing the same argument over and over.
And it’s not just Belfast — the state, and entire nation, in recent months seem deeply divided and unwilling to hear the other side or make any compromises, with few exceptions. For example, the political discourse nationally has taken on a bullying tone -- Rep. Maxine Waters of California, after encouraging public confrontations with the Trump administration, is being chastised by members of her own party for her remarks.