Opinion: Democracy is alive and thriving in Hingham

Glenn Mangurian

May 2, 2023 By Glenn Mangurian

Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect but the concept of self-governance is compelling. A critical element of our democracy is freedom of thought and speech. There are inherent tensions among our beliefs and opinions. The tensions between the common good and self-interest have devolved, in some cases, to emotional conflict where one side is convinced that they are “right” and the other side is “wrong”. While most disagreements are civil, some adults just can’t understand the other position. This is most evident when we think of national politics fueled by dueling cable news networks.

As Tip O’Neil once said, “All politics is local.” In Hingham, our democracy is intimate. We, the residents, are the governing body. It is the purest form of democracy and Hingham residents have practiced this form of self-governance for 388 years. Last week, Hingham gathered as a Town Meeting to govern our town and decide on a wide range of issues including expanded rules for accessory dwelling units and a permanent increase in property taxes. What has impressed me about my fellow residents is the tolerance of those who hold different views. We are all neighbors with diverse life experiences and future aspirations. While we may disagree on some issues, we respect the right of our neighbors to hold and vote those differences. That mutual respect is the sign of an inclusive community. Although Hingham is not very diverse racially, we are diverse in other dimensions. We have a range of age demographics from long time retired residents to young families with aspirations for their children. In another dimension we have economic diversity. There are very high net worth individuals as well as those who struggle to make ends meet. We are a generous community that supports those vulnerable through a variety of programs. I grew up in a two family, multigenerational home and dreamed I could live in a community like Hingham. I, like many of you, am living the American Dream that my parents worked to create for me. I live with gratitude for their sacrifices and for those who have helped me along the way.

Today, we are the stewards of Hingham and the guardians of its future for the next generation. That is an awesome responsibility. Hingham’s version of democracy is alive and thriving for others to see. That is something we can all celebrate and be proud of.

1 thought on “Opinion: Democracy is alive and thriving in Hingham”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.