Civility is hard to codify ...

Date: 11/16/2023
Tags: "City Matters"
We appear to live in a world where not getting your way many times leads to bullying on social media, and those of us at the local governmental level seem to be subject to the wrath of certain individuals when we rule on an issue not in agreement with their personal mindset.

There was a time when people with differing viewpoints, while not agreeing, would at least acknowledge the other person or person’s viewpoint. Now, we live in a society where there is diminished nuance or sensibility to or ability to express subtle shadings of meaning or value. Today, many issues are seen as black or white, with no room in the middle for compromise. As a result, people take to social media to harshly critique those who they disagree with on issues. Many of these criticisms of local elected officials are misrepresented in social media posts, and unfortunately this information becomes “reality” for those individuals who rely on social media to formulate their vision of their local government.

In Darien, we have a system or procedure for reviewing proposed ordinances that require a petitioner to go through an intricate process prior to gaining approval from our council. We follow that procedure and we adhere to high ethical standards in executing our positions as elected officials. Our staff and our elected officials spend hours researching major issues prior to voting “yea” or “nay,” and when they cast their vote be it 7 – 0 , 4 -3, or 0 -7 they walk away knowing that they fulfilled their responsibility as elected representatives of Darien’s residents. While we may disagree on a particular issue we walk away acknowledging the value of each individual’s point of view. We have a respect for one another that is never tempered by our differing viewpoints.

Unfortunately, we now find ourselves attacked and maligned by those who disagree with our decisions. Rather than work to understand the data that led to our decision, they take to social media and make statements such as “he/she is on the take,” or “they are making backroom deals,” statements that only serve to misinform the public, and malign an elected official or staff member. One wonders if we have lost our sense of civility; our ability to have respect for opinions or decisions that differ from ours.

Your Darien elected representatives and staff are good and honest individuals who give tremendous amounts of time in the service of our residents. Each of us works diligently to meet the needs of our residents, even when some of those decisions are not favored by individuals within and outside our city.

Those who seek to disparage us do a disservice to our city in their efforts to separate us rather than unite us in our efforts to bring about positive change to our city. I can promise each and every Darien resident that both elected officials and staff have and always will have your needs as our main priority.