Indivisible Response to Tesei Op-Ed Asking What is the “Trump Agenda”?

Letter to the editor from about two dozen Greenwich residents (see below) submitted June 8, 2018

In an Op-Ed piece in the June 7 Greenwich Time, Peter Tesei and Richard DiPreta ask, “What is the Trump agenda in Greenwich”?

These two leaders of the Greenwich Republican party purport not to know what Trumpism (a term now part of our vocabulary) is and how it impacts our Town. While this may be feigned ignorance, it is nonetheless useful to answer their question as Indivisible Greenwich attempts to do every day.

To answer the question, you first have to know what the Trump agenda is. That, however, is simple because we see it every day. Thus, the Trump agenda involves claiming that there were “fine people on both sides” of the racist horror show that occurred in Charlottesville.

It involves having young children—and babies—torn from their mothers and put in detention centers if their parents should dare seek refuge or asylum in this country.

It involves removing rules to protect our environment and keep our air and water clean.

It involves assaults on voting and civil rights and women’s health care.

It involves labeling those who disagree with the President as un-American or unpatriotic.

It involves using the highest office in our land to lie daily to the American people and peddle conspiracy theories.

It involves turning a blind eye to corruption within the executive branch so long as its members do the President’s bidding (i.e., Scott Pruitt).

And, finally (at least so far) the Trump agenda involves asserting that the President is above the law, need not respond to lawful process and indeed, in a pinch, could pardon himself and walk away scot free of any alleged crimes.

Now that we know what the agenda is, we can turn to how it manifests itself in Greenwich. First, it results in not a single Republican office holder—not Mr. Tesei nor Mr. DiPreta, or the Greenwich State Delegation standing up and saying Donald Trump was wrong when he said there were “fine people” marching with the neo-Nazis in Virginia. By failing to condemn a President who makes such statements, these leaders have abdicated their role in making sure that residents know that the kind of hate spewed in Charlottesville has no place and will not be tolerated in Greenwich. That agenda is also standing mute to the horrific ripping of children from their parents – something the
United Nations has condemned as an international human rights violation. By so doing these purported leaders give no comfort to the immigrants in our town and elsewhere who now have to live in fear as to what could happen to them or their families. It involves a partisan attempt by the First Selectman to change the town charter to permit his party to take political control over the Greenwich Board of Education and our state representatives mirroring their counterparts in Washington, DC (e.g., preventing Justice McDonald from assuming the Chief Justice position). The “unity” Messrs. Tesei and DiPreta seek is apparently achieved by citizens keeping their heads down and mouths shut. By being silently complicit in the Trump team’s attacks on our most vulnerable and in efforts to divide our population and undo regulations to protect our environment and civil rights, and by failing to speak out against attacks on the rule of law and our democratic institutions, they bring the Trump agenda to Greenwich. Trumpism transcends borders and has as much to do with Greenwich as it does every other part of this great country – all the more so when local leaders stand mutely complicit.

Reasonable people can disagree about public policy – tax, trade, entitlements, foreign policy initiatives and the like. That is the hallmark of democracy. What is not normal about the Trump agenda is the intentional cruelty, the division along racial lines, persistent lies and purposeful corruption of the rule of law. And people of all parties are standing against this agenda – including many Republicans. Indivisible Greenwich is committed to fighting the abnormality of the Trump agenda in Greenwich and elsewhere and speaking out, encouraging others to do the same and commending those candidates who share its views. We are non-partisan because we are neither controlled by, nor beholden to, any political party. Indeed, we welcome (and in fact have in our membership rank) members of both parties and no party. Furthermore, using Messers. Tesei and DiPreta’s own definition, “not biased…toward any political group,” Indivisible Greenwich is non-partisan. It has supported Republicans, as our current head of the Board of Education can attest when his own Republican party did not. And, it will support any Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Conservative or Independent candidate who fights for the democratic principles that we have relied on for so long and that are truly threatened by the “Trump agenda.”

At the heart of the matter, this is truly not a Republican or Democrat issue. Indivisible Greenwich is simply a response by those who value our people, our democracy and our institutions more than any party label, speaking out against an existential threat to everything we believe. Indivisible Greenwich pledges to defend and fight for these fundamental democratic values and principles. That is our pledge to our Greenwich community.

Indivisible Greenwich
Joanna Swomley
Nerlyn Pierson
Marina Rosin Levine
Leon Levine
Marion Stern
Steven Stern
Timothy Alexander
Phyllis Alexander
Stephanie Barrett
Sheila Phelan
David Weisbrod
Jenny Hille
Harald Hille
Rob Golden
Janet McMahon
Kathryn Gabler
Sally Turner
And many, many other democracy protectors living in Greenwich