Lopez: We Need More Leaders, Less Incivility, Rancor Vitriol

Submitted by Anthony Lopez, Oct 31, 2017

One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his 1956 address delivered to the members of Alpha Phi Alpha, he says:

“Finally, in order to do this job we have got to have more dedicated, consecrated, intelligent and sincere leadership. This is a tense period through which we are passing, this period of transition and there is a need all over the nation for leaders to carry on. Leaders who can somehow sympathize with and calm us and at the same time have a positive quality. We have got to have leaders of this sort who will stand by courageously and yet not run off with emotion. We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.”

In recent days and weeks we have seen Greenwich politics fall prey to the overarching and ominous darkness that mars our national politics. Our fellow residents have been attacked for no other reason than being women and being interested in making a positive difference in their community. Candidates are being called liars and accused of using our most vulnerable residents for political gain when trying to bring awareness to critical issues concerning the health and well-being of some of our fellow residents. One of our candidates was followed around, heckled, and harassed by opponents while exercising his right to ask residents to sign his petition to run for office. I too have been openly attacked in an unprovoked letter to the editor. The civility and cooperative nature that we so often tout in Greenwich politics seems to have slipped silently into the night.

In times like these, I look to leaders who came before me, particularly to those who were able to reach across the fog of animosity, hatred, bigotry, sexism, and racism, and grab hold to hope.

Leaders like Dr. King brought together people of different politics, races, beliefs, and religions, to work toward ensuring the shared prosperity of not just Americans-at-large, but for the people right in their communities.

Those are the kinds of leaders and voices that we need in our Town. Those are the leaders that Greenwich and its residents deserve. It is time that we dispense with the partisan rhetoric, the incivility, the rancor, and vitriol.

One of the campaign slogans in this election season is “Greenwich First.” I say that it is time that we had “One Greenwich.”

It is time that our leaders focus on being more in love with humanity, and more dedicated, intelligent, and sincere in their leadership. Instead of vilifying our political opponents and those who disagree with us, let us find common ground from which to begin the work of solving the problems that we face in Greenwich. I think that everyone agrees that the state of Connecticut is not on our side. But, we cannot allow that to distract us. Hartford has a responsibility to provide leadership for the state. We have a responsibility to provide leadership for Greenwich. This is a major reason why I am running for the RTM. It is why I hope that each of us is running for our prospective offices. We have a duty to our families, to our neighbors, and to our Town, to be leaders who will not run off with emotion, but rather stand by with courage. This is a crucial period of transition for our Town. I hope to be counted among those credited with having restored the norms of civility in our Town as we move forward and into what I believe is a bright future for all of us.

When I first visited Greenwich 19 years ago, I fell in love. I was a kid from New York, who was in love with a girl from Greenwich. I would have followed her to the ends of the earth. Thankfully, she lived here. I vowed to her that no matter where we went, no matter where our family called home at any moment, we would lay down our roots right here in Greenwich. A little over six years ago, we did just that. I love this Town. I love working with the students in my role at Greenwich High School. I am not standing for RTM for recognition, for status, or for publicity. It is my love for humanity, my love for my neighbors, this Town, and my family, that has beckoned me to service. It is my sincere hope that we can return to civility, to bipartisanship, and get back on the road toward having, and being One Greenwich. Humbly, I ask for your vote on November 7th, to become one of your District 1 representatives, and to begin the hard work of moving our Town forward.

Anthony G. Lopez