I have friends who are anti-mask and whose social media posts come across (to me) as angry, defensive or arrogant.

The July 1 editorial, “Our View: To help Maine businesses, wear a mask,” is written in direct address to them, but I don’t see how the suggestion to “take a good long look at yourself” and calling them “jerks” is helpful.

I would like to stay friends with some of these people and, as patronizing as this sounds, I often find myself responding to them the way I do with my students:

• Ignore “acting out” words and actions in order to avoid power struggles.

• Look for common ground.

• (Try to) use humor.

• Honestly answer questions asked in good faith.

• Accept correction when I learn something from them, or when they point out a mistake I’ve made.

• Try to understand where they get their ideas.

It is easier to do this the longer history or deeper investment I have with someone; I can’t do it with everyone.

It’s exhausting. But for me – after a lifetime of being angry and defensive and rejecting people – at this point in my life, I truly want to bring people closer in to me, not continue pushing them away.

I fully acknowledge that I am not always successful at this, as I’ve spent most of my life practicing the opposite. I have my own version of the “Namaste” greeting: “The pain, anger and arrogance in me recognize the pain, anger and arrogance in you and say ‘Welcome.’ ”

Kelley McDaniel


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