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The value of never burning bridges

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Editor’s note. Wouldn’t you know it. I wrote the following quite a while back and virtually the exact thing just happened to me again. It just reinforces, yet again, “Why I Never Burn Bridges.”

A while back I wrote about an experience I’d had in a class that I teach. (To be honest the response I received from you was far, far more interesting than the original post.)

I explained how one of the sharpest members of my class had learned about what I do. In today’s instant access media world, she could have found out a hundred different ways. (In fact if you go to Google and type in “Dave Andrusko,” you get 43,700 results.” Who knew?)

I did not know anything was amiss until she angrily emailed me to announce she could not possibly be in the same room as someone who held my views on “reproductive issues.” I emailed back in a gentle and non-confrontational manner, asked her to reconsider. But to my chagrin, I neither saw nor heard back from her again. It seemed I had lost a member whose contributions I genuinely valued.

Until this morning when, at 7:30 am, she called out my name in the parking lot of the local Planet Fitness where I work out. I turned around and there she was, with that familiar winsome smile on her face.

It would not be right to share the specifics of what she said, so, of course, I won’t. What would be right to share is that she said she had been considering coming back to class for months. I look forward to seeing her soon. [Post-script. She came back the following Sunday.]

I still do not know the specifics of what triggered her very, very intense anger. It was certainly nothing I had said in class. Or what convinced her that her response was out of line.

What I do know is that what happened this morning reaffirmed one of the guiding principles of my life, in and out of the Movement: never burn bridges.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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