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The Signal in the Noise

“In life, there are individuals one might think don’t have an opinion or don’t want to talk to you. Ironically, these are the same individuals waiting for you to ask their opinion.”

The journey you take in life often leads you down different paths. How you choose to incorporate those experiences in life offers vastly different endings. One day in 2009, I was patrolling an eerily quiet village. The villagers weren't out socializing as usual, and I was curious. I ran into a friend from the district, a local who we had assisted in starting a small barbershop business in our microeconomics strategy for the area. When I asked him where everyone was, he told me there had been some trouble, and there was a village meeting called to discuss their response. I asked him why he wasn't at the meeting, and he was surprised by my ignorance. You see, my friend was mute. He had not been able to speak since birth, just like his twin brother. As a disabled person in this village, his voice was not welcome. He was excluded from village decision-making. On this day, he told me about the violence that had occurred and the interests of different factions in the village. He shared his thoughts on causes of friction and what would bring stability and peace to their little town. I valued his insights and put them to good use in our support planning for the village.

I struggled with the logic of excluding someone because of their physical difference from the crowd. The barber's physical disability did not prevent him from having valuable insights for his town and neighbors. His physical silence may have even enhanced his ability to listen and discern. Unfortunately, he, and others like him, would never be heard, over the din of all the loud and clanging bells, if I hadn’t just taken a moment to stop.

Robust critical dialogue brings out the best options in a free society. We acknowledge the loud voices in Hudson today, and appreciate the value each voice brings as they care for our town. But I know that there is tremendous value in incorporating the voices of the quiet and soft-spoken. I believe in the importance of seeking out the insights and interests of all residents. If you have a quiet voice, an opinion you wish to share, or feel as the local villager that your voice cannot be heard, email me so we can connect. As I did with the lone villager on the street, my plan is to champion those voices and bring those valuable insights to my campaign.

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