Two prominent articles appear side by side in each Robbinsville Advance issue. They are the superintendent’s and the mayor’s columns. In the February 2017 issue, the stark contrast between them is glaring.

Dr. Kathie Foster describes our democracy as “an ideal to which we must aspire.” She speaks of participation and contribution, of service “when we make an effort to deliberately include others,” of caring for others. She stresses, “open exchange of ideas, encourage dissenting voices, help each other to wrestle with the complexity of issues…and engage in healthy discourse to make informed decisions.”

I applaud this article, and try to live by its values every day as a teacher, a parent and a citizen. I am the immigrant in your midst, a citizen of the world who has lived and taught in four continents. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to broaden my horizons, and to experience firsthand how “others” live and think. Since immigrating to this country in 1989, I have taught hundreds of students in the arts, always trying to bring out the best in them, and showing through personal example that hard work, dedication and commitment pay off. I have changed many lives, contributed and participated. Just ask all my students.

In my view, it is the rampant marketing, the widespread commercialism, the shallow sound-bites, and the lack of truthful information that is eroding this democracy, as experience, knowledge and depth are being pushed aside. Which brings me to the second half of the mayor’s column.

In his thoughts about the new president, Mayor Dave Fried writes, “The people spoke back in November.” Yes, they did, and the president lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. I would think that the president would acknowledge it and begin to unite the country through governing from the middle. His swift travel ban, Supreme Court nominee and slew of executive orders don’t help.

The mayor stresses “the time for division and violence must end.” Really? To begin uniting and healing, one needs humility and patience.

Mr. Fried further writes “let’s all be the adults in the room.” Tell this to “Little Marco,” “Lyin Ted,” “Crooked Hillary” and that black man “from Kenya” who occupied the White House and who was not deemed by some as a legitimate president. Number 44, you know?

As an adult, a teacher and a parent, I will continue standing against misinformation, indeed lying, bullying, insulting, hatred and bigotry. Otherwise, what are we teaching our children?

What does Mr. Fried mean by “every facet of that plan is not for us to know”? In a democracy, Mr. Fried, the candidate lays out his/her plan before the electorate so that voters can make an informed decision. Everything must be known to the electorate, from tax returns to contacts with foreign governments.

But I am the immigrant, the “other” in your midst. What do I know?

— Ilana Clyde