New occasions teach new duties …

Editor: The Commercial:

I read with sadness the article written by Rick Joslin that said “Mayor Debe Hollingsworth received a proverbial baptism by fire Monday night as she and Pine Bluff City Council members — after completing their business session — drew verbal heat during a spirited public comment period.” Just those few words made my spirits sink as I thought, “Here we go again…”

While I think it appropriate that good people are engaged and energized immediately as the mayor begins her term of office, and feel free to express concerns over decisions and how they are carried out, I was appalled at the reasoning of some quoted in the paper. Obviously one critic was merely playing a race card for his own self-interest, and perhaps because of his own lost election — what hubris. One woman apparently asked why the mayor would choose to run for office in a majority black city — further hubris. The same question might be reversed, why would a white woman run against a field of black candidates and win with an obvious plurality of black votes?

The mayor’s campaign united people in a way that can only be considered miraculous. She brings into office such promise of hope and transformation…I pray that those so caught up in their own self-interest, or their own conceit, will not once again create issues and smoke screens by race baiting and innuendo — the very tricks and attitudes that have paralyzed our city in the past.

As a community we must learn to not only hear each other, but to listen to one another as well. I am not saying we as citizens need to agree or accept everything this administration does, but we should give it a little time, good will, and not attempt to caricature people unfairly.

The Rev. Dr. Walter Van Zandt Windsor

Pine Bluff