As disappointed as I was with the outcome of the Refugee Resolution I want to thank Mayor Rognstad for his leadership and maturity on the issue.
During an extremely difficult time, he was able to see and feel the wedge driven into the heart of Sandpoint community and the divisive nature of the issue. I attended all of the meetings and had the opposite happened, the passing of any form of resolution—no matter how benign the language, it would have been like throwing gasoline on the fire. It was clear that the resolution would have no bearing on whether refugees will resettle here or not, and that few if any of those opposed would change their attitudes and beliefs either way.
As previously mentioned, I was disappointed that a resolution pertaining to non-discrimination and human rights did not pass. My disappointment primarily stems from witnessing the lack of compassion by some in our community for others who may be suffering.
However I did feel as though I grew through the process, coming to an interesting realization that while we were intending to demonstrate our tolerance and compassion for individuals coming from the other side of the world, who we really know little of, we had an extremely difficult time finding that same compassion and understanding for those among us who are living in fear and feel differently on the issue.
I do believe Sandpoint is a great city with understanding, tolerant, and compassionate citizens. I also believe this exercise is just what we needed, to keep the conversation going, as much as we are exhausted on it, It’s evident that it needs to happen for any significant change to occur.
Again, thank you Mr. Mayor and the City Council for putting out the fire!