Letter to the Editor: A Reflection on Community and Change

Dear Editor,

I want to share some thoughts with the community of Bell. While I know that merely speaking up means I might face disagreement from some, support from others, and indifference from the rest, my intention is not to ignite arguments. It’s about fostering understanding and reflection.

In discussions, especially heated ones, it’s common to see people attacking each other rather than debating ideas. This ad hominem approach is counterproductive. We, as neighbors, might not always agree, but we can still coexist peacefully with a bit of effort.

Looking back, our area has a long history with industries that brought both prosperity and problems. From the effects of mining, steel mills, and now fracking, we’ve seen how these industries can impact our environment and health. The toll on our river, the health issues faced by workers, and the complex relationship between employment and safety – these are facts we can’t ignore.

Many families, including my own, have been directly affected by these industries. We’ve seen loved ones suffer from occupational diseases or accidents. And yet, there’s a certain irony in how corporations prepare for these eventualities, often reducing profound human loss to mere financial compensation.

As we’ve seen in other areas, from Dubois to Indiana, corporations can profoundly impact local communities. They often do so by creating divisions, encouraging silence through contracts, and fostering an environment where speaking up feels like a breach of some unspoken rule. It’s a classic divide and conquer strategy, one that pits community members against each other, redirecting focus from the real issues at hand.

But let’s not forget the good we see around us – the fundraisers, the community efforts like the playground revitalization, and the everyday heroes who make our towns better. These are the stories that also define us, that bring us together, and remind us of the strength in our community.

I hope for a future where our debates and discussions can be as frequent and fervent as our praises and celebrations. After all, a community that can express both its frustrations and its gratitude is one that truly cares about its future.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Let’s remember to find peace in our differences and strength in our unity.

Best wishes,

Baxter Harrowfield

Bell Township, PA

Note: This letter reflects the personal views of a community member and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Westmoreland Bell or its editorial team.