Yes, all politics is local

This last week has been an anxious one for a lot of people who read this paper, and throughout the rest of the country, as our new president was sworn into office two days ago.

I use the word anxious because there are many people here in Nashua and across the country who did not vote for him – in fact, many more people voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump – and who look at the many things Trump said and did on the campaign trail that look and sound decidedly un-presidential. They wonder what our country will look like in four years, with him as our president.

Equally, there are many people who did vote for Trump but who are also anxious for him to actually follow through upon the many promises he made on the campaign trail to return the interests of our working class to the forefront of our nation’s concerns. People like my mother, who begrudgingly voted for Trump because she strongly distrusts Hillary, are anxious for the future of our country regardless of whether it was Trump or Hillary who won the recent election. They’re willing to take a gamble on Trump as a last resort to fix what so many perceive as a broken system that serves only the elites in and around Washington.

This anxiety pervades so many conversations I have had over the past two months with close friends and family on both sides of the political aisle. Those who support, and those who oppose, Trump are equally distrustful of each other and are convinced that the other side is dead-set on destroying "America as we know it."

But ironically, it’s clear to me that each side "knows" a very different side of America that eludes the other.

My partner is as liberal as they come and repeatedly donated to Bernie Sanders during the primary (and even afterward); he lives in what I jokingly call his little "Boston bubble." He sees our country falling into chaos over the next four years under a menacing president who will actively seek to reverse important rights gained by the gay community, minority populations, and other important segments of our social fabric. Meanwhile, my mother lives in rural Texas in her own bubble and is convinced that Trump is a last resort who may possibly save our country from its slow march toward our government being a "nanny state" that oversees and rules every possible part of our daily lives.

My mom and partner couldn’t be more opposite each other in their political views, and in many of their other views on so many other issues. I suspect there are many right here in Nashua reading this paper, who would easily side with my partner or with my mom on this recent election and the state of our country moving forward.

Which is where I’d like to share a couple thoughts for us all to consider in the coming months and years as we enter life under a new administration.

Many of us recall what Tipp O’Neill used to say: all politics is local. I invite each of us here in Nashua – regardless of who we voted for in November, and regardless of the direction we think our country is taking as of this weekend – to keep in mind the awesome control and responsibility each of us personally possesses right here in our community to make a positive difference. While most of us cannot directly influence what is happening on a national level, we can and must influence on a local level the type of discourse we’re willing to have with each other, and the level of trust we’re willing to have in each other’s intentions for our city and its future. There are countless good people here in Nashua who are regularly giving their time, money and talents to move parts of our city forward. Equally, there are many more opportunities waiting for someone in our community to step up and commit to making them happen.

Working together here in our own local community, and actively seeking to set aside the acidic rhetoric that is so acceptable in Washington and on a national level, can allow each of us to do our small part in reversing this anxiety that so many of us have felt this past week and most of last year.

I invite each of you to join me this year in finding a small way to do something tangible this year to move our city forward, and make Nashua an example of a community that defies the dynamics we have become so accustomed to down in Washington.

Chris Williams is a former mayoral candidate, and works as a Partner at Nashua-based velocityHUB.