This is a plea to my neighbors to keep racism* out of local politics.
Last night a friend of a friend told me that a local Mayoral candidate has a ‘White Agenda.’ Unfortunately my patience for racism* and divisive political rhetoric is too short to have gathered any information on what that might have meant. The fact that one white person was saying this to another white person was ironic enough. The fact that he has an opinion on the agenda of all white people was simply infuriating.
One of the wonderful things about this particular mayoral race is the gender, race, income and educational diversity. I’m making a plea to my neighbors to not use the color of a candidate’s skin in their arguments. Be smarter than that. Dig deeper. Don’t let this election tear a city apart at its communal fabric because you want too badly to win.
I want a Mayor that puts the collective betterment of New Haven first. I’ve met with three of the four Mayoral candidates in person and talked with the fourth by phone. I’m clear that all four of them are passionate about New Haven. I’m also relatively confident that the three I’ve met with are potentially capable of running our city with the energy, ethics and enthusiasm for the job that will put our ever improving city in a better place when they leave office.
Our previous Mayoral administration, the Alderman and engaged residents have left the next Mayor with greater transparency, more operational efficiencies, better schools, a larger population, more economic development and a much improved Police Force. On top of that I’d argue that our collective efforts over the past five years have left us with a more interesting home.
Despite all of the improvements the economics of successfully operating a small to mid size city range from challenging to questionably possible and it cannot be done successfully by the next Mayor’s administration alone. All New Haveners are going to need to continue to do more than their part for our collective betterment.
If you don’t feel like you can do more than your part for our City then please don’t try to divide us by trolling the civic conversation with racial broad-stroking. The individual who got me fired up enough to warrant this catharsis is only at fault for repeating the rhetoric that was recited to him without thinking what he was saying. The organizations that are spreading this divisive rhetoric need to cut it out and are equally to blame. It may be good for your candidate but its shit for our community. And for all the leaders who want to be Mayors, now would be a good time to start practicing leadership. Squash the racial assumptions about the other guy’s people and let’s have a civil election.
*Racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race...