Letter to the editor from Karen Giannuzzi, RTM District 11, Greenwich The views and opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the RTM or its recognized committees.
The recent drama created by the “Camillo/Trump – Make Greenwich Great Again” signs is indicative of a far greater problem that is penetrating our town – the divisive, finger pointing name calling that is pervading our nation.
Whoever is responsible for placing these signs – one thing is certain – it was not the work of either candidate.
Both Jill Oberlander and Fred Camillo have disavowed knowledge or responsibility for the signs. I believe them both.
Jill Oberlander and Fred Camillo are public servants. They have both dedicated their time to serving the residents of Greenwich.
But what this incident shows is that Greenwich is home to certain kinds of people – the kind of people who are not running for office, who choose to remain anonymous and who carry very strong opinions about the future of our country.
These are the kind of people that troll our candidates online. These are people that make horrible accusations about the candidates – about their personal lives and their positions on issues. They write angry commentaries on social media (things they don’t have the courage to say to someone’s face.) And more often than not – they misrepresent the opinions and positions of our candidates to further their own extremist agendas. These people do not represent the majority in our town, but they are loud enough to create discord and drama when they so wish.
It pains me to see these two candidates who both care deeply for our town resort to blaming each other for these signs. But I don’t fault the candidates. Rather, I blame the political and divisive culture that is dangerously close to becoming the new normal in Greenwich. Our candidates are victims of an angry and vitriolic political environment.
The danger of this kind of political discourse is that it erodes trust. It’s one thing if it happens on a national level – miles away from our homes. But it’s another when it happens in our backyard. It erodes trust between our friends and our neighbors.
I believe both candidates for First Selectman have leadership qualities that allows them to rise above this incident.
But for real change to happen, we need a commitment from the people of Greenwich.
Let’s show the rest of the country that in Greenwich, we work together. Instead of participating in conspiracy theories, angrily trolling one another on social media, and hiding behind anonymity, we must act like neighbors toward one another. We must share our expectation of civil discourse with our family and friends, in our schools and in our houses of worship, in our civic organizations and at social events.
When someone you know brings up these signs, try saying this: “Whoever put up those signs is trying to control our conversation in Greenwich, and I for one won’t let them. What issues are most important to you in our town, and are you going to vote on November 5th?”
We have the ability to drown out divisiveness and instead focus on what brings us together – not what tears us apart.
Because, in the end, we’re all neighbors.
Karen Giannuzzi, RTM District 11, Greenwich. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the RTM or its recognized committees.
The deadline to submit a letter to the editor regarding candidates in the Nov 5 municipal election is Tuesday Oct 29 at 5pm.