Blackham says verdict be hallow,
call for peace and reconciliation
As a former mayor of Mt. Pleasant, I am writing this letter to seek reconciliation with former and present leaders of the city.
When our great nation was going through its birth pains in 1776, Thomas Paine began his pamphlet “Common Sense” with the words “These are times that try men’s souls.”
Individuals, like a nation, can be faced with challenges that try the soul. I know this to be true, because my soul has been dearly tried during the past three years. I have lost a son; my wife has stage-three breast cancer.
My life has been “tempest tossed” by these personal challenges. And, they have brought me to my knees in search of understanding and guidance.
And now, as the coronavirus spreads across the nation and world, I have looked deeply into my soul, and the message I have received is clear and resounding: I must cast aside my personal trials and realize that from an eternal perspective, what I have experienced will seem but a small moment, and the time for peace and closure is now upon me.
My lawyers tell me that the judicial system can bring matters to a close, provide vindication and restore my reputation. But, I ask, at what cost? For decades, I have done my best to serve the community I love—as a city council member and as mayor, as a pharmacist, and as an active church member.
The lawsuit between me and various city council members—some of whom are no longer serving while others still sit on council—is moving toward trial by jury. But, now I believe that even if a verdict is rendered in my favor, it would be a hollow victory with the trial bringing more division, anger, and harm to the town I love.
A voice inside me utters, let it go. So, I shall. I must. The accusations must cease. To any and all who l have offended or hurt, I offer deep regrets and apologies, I want you to know that I love all of you, and want to move from this day forward to a time of reconciliation, harmony, and commitment one to another. This is no longer a time to defend one’s position. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the very fabric of our society hangs in the balance. We need each other and the goodness in all of us to unite and stand together.
I hope that the elected leaders of Mt. Pleasant will share my sentiments, and pass a resolution also expressing the desire for reconciliation and stating that all errors of omission and commission, by any individual or entity, will be henceforth and forever set aside, and that all shall work together as neighbors and citizens to serve the public good. We can do no less.
In March, 1861, 85 years after Thomas Paine wrote of “times that try men’s souls”, Abraham Lincoln, in the throes of another crisis, spoke these words, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
This is my desire and hope—that love and respect for one another will return. And that this difficult time in the history of our community will pass quietly in the night.