To the Editor:
With the start of the summer comes a variety of fun and engaging community activities. From family picnics and barbecues to beach outings and baseball games (which includes our Bristol Blues), summer brings a lot of fun and gives all of us a chance to connect with our family, friends and neighbors. In addition to these great activities, we also have an election this November. This election cycle is going to play out over the next few months and it is my hope that we avoid childish negativity.
We have already seen a few letters to the Observer and Press that have contained trite political rhetoric that is neither reflective of the best that our city has to offer nor is indicative of good character and integrity. If you have tuned into the State of the City on the Bristol Beat, many comments during the Facebook live session have fallen on the wayside of being nothing short of base and low.
Engaging in political conversation has to do with collegiality and respect but, unfortunately, we have seen very little successful dialogue thus far. What is abundantly clear, at least to this resident, is that there is a lot of animosity and hate that few are willing to rise above. These conflicts are polluting our chances for engaging in constructive bipartisan work.
In order to reform for this election season, I am offering some advice for all candidates who are running, whether it is for re-election or election to office. When running your campaign, try to avoid engaging in toxicity that we have seen in the past and even recently. Contributing to this behavior and being a part of these conversations is simply unprofessional, unbecoming of an elected person, and tiring. Repeating base claims about other people, engaging in deception, mocking candidates, and hurling insults over the internet contributes to the cyclical taint that infects our politics. Running campaigns on the basis of a character assassination of respective opponents displays a lack of serious purpose on behalf of candidates.
Instead, all candidates ought to reflect on the questions of “why?” and “what?” Why are you running? Why did you decide to be mayor or on City Council instead of something different? What in the city drives you to live here? What concerns you and other people the most?
Being reflective is an important part of any job. Reflecting on a purpose helps people develop personally and professionally. When people reflect, it gives them a chance to think about their actions and decisions and determine whether or not there is a better approach. By reflecting on what has happened, what matters, and why things matter, we all can be proactive in preventing more toxic dialogue in the future.
This summer and campaign season, have a purpose and be reflective. And never forget, our community is greater than one person and one group of people.
D. Anthony Tagariello