Westport Dems To Marpe: Stand Up Against Hate

Last night, the Democratic Town Committee says, a “record number” of Westporters attended the organization’s monthly meeting.

They discussed the 2016 presidential election — and voiced their concerns in an open letter to Republican First Selectman Jim Marpe. The DTC wrote:

Last Tuesday, over 10,000 Westporters went to the polls to vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, as President of the United States. The town’s preference was clear, with nearly 70% of votes cast for the Democratic nominee. Those voters, along with countless young people not yet old enough to cast a vote, woke up Wednesday morning (if they even slept at all) in shock and disbelief at the election of Donald J. Trump.

westport-democratic-town-committee-logoSince Election Day, the Westport Democratic Town Committee has heard from many people in our community who are struggling to reconcile themselves to this result and what it means for our nation. Tuesday night, a week after Election Day, we had a record turnout at our monthly meeting. People who had never attended a DTC meeting before came to express their fear, their anger, and their worry about the future. They spoke of sleepless nights, of difficult conversations with their children, and of feeling like foreigners in their own country.

In the past week, incidents of racial intimidation and hate speech have sharply risen all around the nation. Sadly, our town has not been immune. Staples High School principal James D’Amico informed parents last Thursday of racially offensive memes circulating online among Staples students. Mr. D’Amico also noted that some students were so upset by the election result they requested counseling. Other post-election incidents of political or racial intimidation have been reported as well.

Regardless of whom you supported for President, now is a time when our town needs healing and leadership. We need our First Selectman to make a strong statement that Westport is a town that opens its arms to people of all backgrounds and identities, and where intimidation and bullying will never be tolerated. Now is the time to reassert our basic, shared values of civility, decency and compassion.

westport-republicansLet us be clear: the Westport Democratic Town Committee will not stand for any acts of hate or intimidation in our town, regardless of who is in the White House. Donald Trump will be our next President; as Americans we all must accept that. But we must never accept the xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance that characterized so much of his campaign. We expect you, as our town leader, and the Republican Town Committee to take the same strong stand.

Westport has always stood as a bastion of openness and tolerance. We hope you will join us in reaffirming that essential character of our great town.

Sincerely yours,
Westport Democratic Town Committee
Executive Committee and Ex Officio Executive Committee Members

83 responses to “Westport Dems To Marpe: Stand Up Against Hate

  1. divisiveness is unhealthy always. the reality is that the federal govt had never had an impact in westport ct on bullying or intimidation or racism of any kind. it is never right, never acceptable and disgusting in any form. we have great residents in this town, and i am yet to meet a parent who teaches their kids wrong over right. But lets be honest, we dont need a letter or statement to confirm this from anyone. We as parents and residents have to set the stage. It wasnt tolerated under obama and it wont be under trump. Change never happens top down, it is bottom up, so it is a better use of time to continue to work together to make Westports youth great role models than ask any political person or board to do somethjg.

  2. This letter from the DTC was written in response to a post on the Town of Westport facebook page. The town administration had posted a photo of Trump and Pence on that page with a congratulatory message from the Town of Westport. 70% of the people in the town of Westport voted for Hillary Clinton, who ran a courageous campaign, but there was no mention of that in the town’s posting. Nor was there any note of congratulations to other victors including Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Congressman Jim Himes. Only Trump and Pence. I called Marpe’s office on Wednesday morning and left a message asking to have my call returned, which Avi Kaner did. At the end of our conversation, Mr. Kaner promised me that in addition to his apologizing to me for the posting (which subsequently was removed) he and the administration would issue an apology to the voters of Westport for posting the Trump/Pence piece. I hope he keeps his promise. I hope that no one will be harmed in any way, either physically or emotionally, because of what happened on election day, and I hope the Town of Westport will continue to be the kind of town that recognizes civility and inclusiveness in all that we do. I would like to thank the Democratic Town Committee for issuing this letter and I hope that Mr. Marpe and Mr. Kaner and Mr. Loselle read it carefully.

  3. Over the years that I worked with former Library Director Maxine Bleiweis on marketing and strategy we would discuss the overall “positioning” of the Library. She was always consistent – “Open to All”. All books, speech and people. A good reminder and words which I am confident Jim Marpe will endorse.

  4. Rozanne thank you for posting this comment– one of the key topics discussed at the DTC Tuesday evening. The shocked and depressing reaction following the election has not diminished in the past week. In fact, as reality sets in and the decisions Trump is making in establishing his new executive staff have ignited many of us to further activism. We must as as a community promote open dialogue, respect, and be vigilant to preserving freedom of the press which starts with our local local town leaders.

  5. While I’ve been gone from Westport for decades, I look back on the town with pride because it was there I learned to open my eyes and my heart to the world full of differences. Where I learned that liberalism means helping folks rise. Where, while surrounded by other whites, I learned tolerance of folks who weren’t just like me. I have used those lessons well, and live and work in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural world. I am better for all of these opportunities.

    The Westport Democratic Town Committee statement makes me me proud of where I came from.

    Perhaps the previous commenters are in a self-imposed news blackout and haven’t followed the campaign of hate. Or seen the installation of white supremacist and misogynistic Steve Bannon as a senior adviser. Or read the reports of increased hate crimes around the country. Or the efforts of the GOP underway to force muslims to register (hey, will they get to wear gold patches, too?!?)

    First they came for the socialists …

    Elyse Evers, Staples ’74

    • Thank you Elyse – we must never close our eyes to what has been elected. We cannot be blind to the possibility that what happened to the Jews in Germany under Hitler can so easily happen here under the misguided policies of Trump, Pence, and Bannon. STAY AWAKE AMERICA.

      • Exactly right.

      • 1,112,000 votes – Clinton’s margin of victory over Trump. What has happened to our democracy? The Electoral College was established to give slave-owning states a bit of “equal footing” over the northern industrial states back when the country was first being shaped. Slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person but of course had no voting rights, which I feel certain would meet with your approval mr. miller. That was before women had the right to vote and only white men could vote. Ben Franklin and the others who were adamantly opposed to slavery had to concede in order for the new country to actually take root. In hindsight, the question as to whether this was a good move still remains unanswered. A bit of background: Background

        The Constitutional Convention in 1787 used the Virginia Plan as the basis for discussions, as the Virginia delegation had proposed it first. The Virginia Plan called for the Congress to elect the president.[13] Delegates from a majority of states agreed to this mode of election.[14] However, a committee formed to work out various details including the mode of election of the president, recommended instead the election be by a group of people apportioned among the states in the same numbers as their representatives in Congress (the formula for which had been resolved in lengthy debates resulting in the Connecticut Compromise and Three-Fifths Compromise), but chosen by each state “in such manner as its Legislature may direct.” Committee member Gouverneur Morris explained the reasons for the change; among others, there were fears of “intrigue” if the president were chosen by a small group of men who met together regularly, as well as concerns for the independence of the president if he was elected by the Congress.[15] Some delegates, including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South:

        There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections.[16]

        The Convention approved the Committee’s Electoral College proposal, with minor modifications, on September 6, 1787.[17] Delegates from the small states generally favored the Electoral College out of concern large states would otherwise control presidential elections.[18]

        Liberalism is not dead, mr. miller, nor do you want it to be dead. Liberalism is here and will be on hand to fight fascism at every step of the way.

        • Have you read The Federalist Papers? If you had, you would have a better understanding of why the Framers chose a republic instead of a Democracy.

          • Indeed. “Democracy” is nothing more than MOB RULE. Fortunately that is NOT our system of government. Though the rabble in the streets seems to think it is.

        • I am speaking as someone whose ancestry is racially diverse my father was White and descended from people who settled in Weston/Westport in the early 1700s my mother is mostly Black from the Caribbean and who has a sister living in the area married to a Jew. The Democrats can not expect anyone else to give credence to claims of having received more popular votes after their operatives encouraged ineligible non citizens to vote and having fought against efforts to end fraudulent practices. I did not vote for President in my current home state Massachusetts or for the local elective posts who were all Democrats running unopposed. Even though my great grandfather founded the town where the Trumps had their first hotel I did not vote for Trump. However I am hopeful that he will do better than Clinton would have.

      • We have s President who kills Americans without due process. A President who had killed hundreds of innocent women an children in places like Pakistan. And NOW you want to stay awake. Where have you been.

    • Methinks you protest too much, Dan.

      The reason that I and so many folks harken back to Hitler is a knowledge of history and the willingness to apply those lessons to today. So far we have not avoided the foolishness of the 1930’s. I pray that we will. In fact, four years from now, I would love to look back at my current self and scoff, thinking that I was being ridiculous rather than prescient.

      It is Trump and his supporters who need to prove me wrong.

      Go for it.

    • Russell Gontar

      That video originated on infowars, a vile cesspool of disinformation if there ever was one. That said, Snopes also reports that “While it’s clear…was assaulted, it seems from initial police reports and his own statements that the assault stemmed from a traffic incident. Bystanders are heard taunting him for voting for Trump, but that’s not what the impetus for the beating was…” as you were suggesting.

  6. I have been a Democrat my whole life and that will ever change. I voted for Hillary and remain disappointed that Trump won – in fact, disappointed doesn’t quite describe my reaction. However, like our president, I believe Trump is pragmatic and will govern that way. So I have to relax. Like me, many of us do not like the results – we simply have to accept them and come together. But we must also continue to voice our views just as we would if Clinton had won. Here’s my view: Jim Marpe is an open-minded man of the people who is completely devoted to Westport and has governed as a non-partisan. His leadership has been strong and will continue to be. All will be well in our town.

    • I have never even dared to weigh in on one of these topics on Dan’s blog – and I am not all that shy about voicing my views. However, I wanted to break my silence to say how much I appreciate your post – while remaining true to your political beliefs (which differ from mine), your calm acceptance of the result and support of the process, and your faith in our system moving forward, is praiseworthy. And right where I would have been if a different result had been obtained.

  7. https://www.facebook.com/events/2169332969958991/

    OFFICIAL STATEMENT, National Organizers

    On January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

    The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

    In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

    We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

    This is an INCLUSIVE march, and EVERYONE who supports women’s rights are welcome.

    Our local DTC is organizing buses and rides for those interested in participating. Check Westport DTC website for details shortly.

    • Mr. Miller – here is your comment redacted for correct English:

      It’s amazing how people cannot grasp the concept of losing. Your self-absorbent and “not getting you way” is the problem with Americans today, not Trump. Take the loss and move on. If Clinton had won, Trump supporters wouldn’t be protesting and marching. Get over it and move forward.

      And by the way, most of Trump’s business leaders are women.

      So say it with me, President Elect, Donald Trump.

      No need to thank me.

  8. Rob Simmelkjaer

    Mr. Miller, we are not playing football here. It’s not all about “winning” and “losing” and “getting over it.”

    When someone wins a campaign for POTUS by preying upon Americans’ worst fears, playing footsie with white nationalists, and disregarding any and all facts that get in his way, we all lose. We don’t know what Donald Trump will do as President, and we are hopeful that he might actually do some good things. But we cannot overlook the fact (and it is a FACT) that this man has mainstreamed hate, misogyny and xenophobia. That must NEVER be normalized — in Westport or anywhere else.

  9. Hey Dan Miller. I applaud your stance and willingness to suffer the yelps and screams, but as tempting as it may be to get down on my all fours and join in this fray I am going to practice a bit of uncharacteristic self restrain and deny myself the opportunity to twist liberal tail (great sport btw) save for:

    “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Ronald Reagan

    • Westport WAS “Westport” when i lived there (Staples 1955); I don’t really know how to describe what it has become today though I doubt I would hold the fond memories I have for it if I was a young man living there today.
      Keep up the good fight Dan; I for one am certainly in your corner.

  10. Hmmm…why don’t we just relax and let things play out. The election is over. I simply don’t agree with the “Henny-Penny” scenario. But if folks want to worry….they will.

  11. Dan, you post about hypersensitivity and shutting up, and then proceed to post abot 10 more times.

  12. Be kind, Be accepting, Share, Volunteer, work with others, be respectful of others and their views and perspectives
    . This is the Westport I’ve served as an RTM member with First Selectman Joseloff and President Obama. This is the same Westport I’ve served as an RTM member with First Selectman Marpe and President Obama. Be kind, Be accepting, Share, Volunteer, work with others, be respectful of others and their views and perspectives…you’d be surprised what can be accomplished..

  13. I began to suspect that “Dan Miller” was an alias (and before that, “Bill Miller”). I asked him via his email address to provide proof of who he is. He emailed back, saying he preferred not to. Over 70 of his posts, dating back to January — many of them derogatory — have been removed. This is the 2nd time I’ve had to do this; “Jerry MacDaid” was the first. I am sorry that all the commenters who use their full, real name — and stand publicly by their opinions — have been tainted by trolls.

  14. Mary M. Maynard

    HOOray for the DTC! I wish that that message had come from
    Town Hall………. mmm

  15. As a college student at the University of Michigan, I have been surrounded in a liberal bubble. I actually registered to vote in Michigan since it was deemed a swing state. I was utterly in shock, in disbelief, and saddened by the results of this election. The first person I called to vent was my father, Avi Kaner, your Second Selectman. He consoled me and reminded me of the lessons about checks and balances, the majority views of the American people, the hurt that many Americans are feeling in rural areas, and kept reminding me that everything would be okay. My father stands against any tactics of “hate, xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance.” My parents have been honored by the ADL (The Anti-Defamation League) and many other civic organizations. My father has always been inclusionary in running the Board of Finance and in his role as Second Selectman. His meetings have always been civil, welcoming, and respectful. As a Staples graduate, I found Westport to be open to all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, and religion. I know for a fact that Jim Marpe and my father will continue to lead Westport in a positive manner.

  16. Michelle Benner

    This local article from the Wilton Bulletin shows how insidious Donald Trump’s influence can be, and how vigilant we all must be to promote and model civility and compassion in our communities.


    • Exactly. This why the message conveyed in the DTC’s letter is so important. Those who think “those types of things could never happen here” are wrong. It is happening. And it is especially important for those elected officials in the President-elect’s party who may not share the bigoted views that were a hallmark of his campaign, but did not publicly repudiate them (presumably prioritizing party loyalty over other concerns), to step up now and do so. It doesn’t do any good at all for “sensible, moderate Republicans” to silently disapprove of the intolerance their party’s campaign repeatedly exhibited and which now is likely to become embedded in our government at the highest levels.

  17. To the DTC,
    In light of Dan requiring full names I would think the DTC should also say what individuals signed the open letter to FS Marpe not just “The Executive Committee and Ex Officio Executive Committee Members” No harm having names I would think.

  18. Wow…this thread kept going and going. I observe that requests to relax, be civil etc got off to a slow start on this blog at least. Why there was even a “schoolyard” dustup between a couple of polarized fellows. Here’s what seems to be shaking out…the left hates it that Trump won and will hate every decision/appointment he makes and loudly bewail that. The right is not sure what to think yet since there are few data points but some are still gonna defend their guy with overworn talking points and links to very conservative web sites which seldom get the facts straight. In other words nothing’s changed…more vitriol coming. I love it….it’s very entertaining. I am maintaining my position of waiting until things really happen and not worrying about what might happen. As somebody said a long time ago..”The Die is Cast”