Marpe’s Message: “Treat Each Other With Respect And Civility”

A few moments ago, First Selectman Jim Marpe issued his annual Thanksgiving message. It includes a response to an open letter sent last night by Westport’s Democratic Town Committee, asking him to stand up to the rhetoric unleashed by the 2016 presidential campaign.

Marpe says:

Westport has always been and will continue to be a place where we live by and teach our children the values that we cherish — values that embrace equality, inclusiveness, open-mindedness, respect for each other as well as the law, and of course, education. We hold fast to these ideals regardless of political party, religious affiliation, social strata, gender, or age.  This Thanksgiving, we thoughtfully and respectfully reflect upon these qualities in light of recent events that have transported our nation into divisiveness and turmoil.

A recent “open letter” to me as the first selectman of this great community called for a response to the events in our nation related to the 2016 presidential election.  I believed that it was appropriate to do so in the context of my annual Thanksgiving message to all 27,000 Westport residents.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

I want to start with my reflections expressed to those gathered in the Town Hall auditorium on Veterans Day this past November 11; that ceremony occurring merely days after the tumultuous election.  I confidently assured those present that the rights and freedoms for which veterans fought so valiantly are alive and well in this great nation, and in the town of Westport.

The political events of the past year have tested our collective understanding of democracy, creating conflict nationwide and anxiety at many a dinner table and social gathering throughout Westport and the rest of the country. While the outrage and despair over the problems that our nation and our community need to address remains, it is our democracy which makes this such an extraordinary country.

The 2016 election has stirred us all to reconsider our core values and our rights as Americans; rights which many in Westport may have taken for granted because we thought we had the luxury of doing so.  However, with recent events fresh in our minds, we must be cognizant that with the freedoms we cherish come certain personal obligations.

Despite differences, Westporters must treat each other with mutual respect and civility. We are no strangers to making our world, country, and our community a better place.  The town’s municipal, civic, religious and volunteer institutions operate under the mantle of these values. Our laws and our values don’t change because of the most recent political winds.

We encourage thoughtful and constructive means to embrace each other’s differences. We denounce hatred, divisiveness and manipulation by words and deeds. We remember that in Westport, we are grateful and thankful for and continue to be committed to, the values we hold so dear in our cherished town. I can assure you that this town will continue to embrace and protect all its citizens and will stand firmly against hate and intolerance, now and always.

Hundreds of Westporters volunteer each year at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Feast.

Hundreds of Westporters volunteer each year at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Feast.

Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for our freedoms and our good fortune.  We remain steadfast in our resolve to help those less fortunate, all the while remaining aware of the world events around us that may inhibit that resolve. We express our heartfelt thanks to those in our community that stand for the downtrodden or disenfranchised.

I am personally thankful for our extraordinary volunteers, teachers, civic leaders, clergy, and residents, young and old, of all races, creeds and ideals, who work tirelessly and diligently each and every day, at times with little or no recognition.  They share their time and talents without fanfare, so I want to acknowledge their contributions and let them know that they are valued and appreciated.

I wish all the citizens of Westport a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. I encourage you to take the opportunity to pause and reflect on how you may contribute to making our community a place where all are welcome and respected.

Thank you.

21 responses to “Marpe’s Message: “Treat Each Other With Respect And Civility”

  1. awesome note from our First Selectman, well said!

  2. he’s a quality guy

  3. Rob Simmelkjaer

    It should be pointed out that it did take an open letter from the DTC to prod Mr. Marpe to make this statement, and that the town did post an inappropriate “Congratulations Donald Trump and Mike Pence” message on the town Facebook page the morning after an election in which 70% of Westporters voted for Hillary Clinton. That said, this is a welcome and thoughtful note from our First Selectman. I join him in wishing everyone in our great town a Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I have read all the comments to the DTC post and tried to contain myself. Is there a reason why the DTC would not allow the other 30% of Westporters to congratulate Donald Trump and Mike Pence? I was thrilled they won and have the same rights and liberties as the DTC to have a voice. I do not agree with one vile thing said about either man. If the outcome was different, I would not tell citizens what they could say or not. Something is very off with the DTC messages or demands. First Selectman Marpe’s Thanksgiving message was very welcome. We live in one Country and it isn’t called Westport.

  5. Why don’t Westporters understand that they are out-of-step with the rest of this great nation?

    • Dick Lowenstein

      In step with the country (Hillary is more than a million popular votes ahead of Trump) but out of step with the electoral college. Another minority president is poised to take office

    • Lemmings? The Media feeds on them.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      Sorry Dan – as Dick pointed out, we’re not out-of-step, as the popular vote went heavily to Hillary Clinton. The difference is that we are concentrated in smaller geographical and urban areas, and an anachronism of the 18th weighs rural states votes more heavily. (Each VT vote counts as much as 6 votes in Texas!)
      The entire nation is great, and discussing our differences can only improve the dialog and communication between us all.

  6. I live in a town, and its called Westport. I was thrilled to hear the message that our First Selectman, of our town Westport, sent out to our community today. Hoping all a very Happy Thanksgiving with peace, love, and respect for all!

  7. Thoughtful message and well expressed F.S. Marpe . The events have required all Americans to take a renewed look at democracy beyond that which takes it for granted.

  8. FS Marpe, Although your official statement was a little late in the offing considering how quickly your office was able to post official congratulations to President-Elect Trump snd Vice-President Pence on their Electoral College win (the other side won the popular vote by an extrodinary high number), it was welcomed. Thank you. I can attest that you “had me” until you or Mr. Loselle penned the following: “I can assure you that this Town will continue to embrace and protect all of its citizens and will stand firmly against hate and intolerance, now and always.”

    All of its (Westport’s) citizens?! Really?! I can easily count quite a few Westport Family’s in our town that live here legally, send their kids to our schools, pay taxes and are active members of our community but, because they are Ex-Pats from other country’s, are not US Citizens. Surely you did not mean to exclude these, our fellow residents, living amongst us when you assured us that “this town will continue to embrace and protect all of its citizens”?

    And that doesn’t even begin to take into consideration any of our town residents who, for whatever reason, may lack some of the necessary paperwork to legally live and work here but who are here and working. (Note: I am thinking of our incoming First Lady, Mrs. Trump, as a perfect example of someone who worked here when she first arrived even though legally she could not do that – and look at her now. She is about to become First Lady of the United States!

    Considering how extreme the national discussion has deterioated around the issue of immigration, I would ask you to be sensitive to all of Westport’s residents – not just its citizens – and amend and affirm your commitment to embrace and protect all Westporters – regardless of their citizenship.

  9. David J. Loffredo

    All good deeds….

    Nice letter Jim.

  10. I’m annoyed at some of the nitpicking people in this town — altho everyone is entitled to their opinion yada yada; I’m glad Mr. Marpe is our 1st Selectman.

  11. The dictionary defines a citizen in different ways and one is as an inhabitant of a town. Give me a break. You know what FS Marpe meant.

  12. Nice letter, Jim. Please continue on the path you have been on since taking office. Your leadership is appreciated and not taken for granted.

  13. Michael Calise

    Jim,
    A wonderful and timely message I am sure it will go a long way towards bridging the gap between those of us who move forward each day with a positive outlook and those who are overwhelmed by their own anger.

  14. Merry Thanksgiving& Happy Christmas– Well said Jim Marpe– What are the chances that at least here in the USA we can find a way to get along and as a result achieve the wonderful things that we are so capable of– For the world and ourselves — Amen–Alleluliah– Shalom– Let’s WORK AT It Folks– We have some of the best minds and hearts right here— PLEASE LET US WORK TOGETHER — The O’Gradys