Lately, I’ve found myself having tough conversations regarding Bristol’s values. While I’m away at school, I’m always proud to say my family lives in Bristol. The mountains, the tight-knit families and many traditions make it a great place to live.

However, it seems that in recent years our community’s values have shifted. Everywhere I turn I hear people speaking nonsensically about over-politicized topics. Instead of spending so much time and energy transmitting false information, our community should focus on improving itself.

Bristol needs jobs. However, manufacturing jobs have disappeared and they are not coming back. Who took these jobs? It wasn’t the “evil Hillary” or even the immigrants from South America; in reality, most of these jobs have become automated. Due to automation and technology, generally, wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of a few. As I am sure many people know, the wealthiest 1% of Americans own 40% of the country’s wealth.

The lie that the Republican Party has sold so many people is that these billionaires and millionaires worked harder than you. This is not the case. So many of these people had families with the ability to invest in them, to send them to the most elite private school and to put them in contact with wealthy investors: we, in Bristol, do not have these kinds of opportunities.

We should not let political parties instill fear and divide our community: the ridiculous lies being spread about guns, socialism, immigration, etc. need to end. Bristol will only progress when our community takes the time to learn the real facts about key policies, speak out when things are wrong and organize events where ideas can be shared.

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