I’ve got a lot on my mind these days. Between a major trial, college admissions, school and zoning boards, back surgeries, and the municipal election, I am not getting much sleep. But, there is one place to where my thoughts keep meandering.
I cannot help but think he’d be proud that I am running for my township Council. Yes, he was a staunch democrat, so he’d like that I am running as one – – even though we certainly disagreed politically over the years. He’d get a kick out of the lawn signs, the articles, the endorsements, the letters to the editor, the candidate forums, canvassing, door hangers, and campaigning. He’d root for a win but in his heart, I know he’d be just as proud win or lose.
My dad had two defining characteristics: he was about the nicest, most civil man you would ever meet and he devoted his life to helping others.
He can’t be with me physically but I feel his presence looming large every step of the way. It was he who taught me that, regardless of party affiliation, there should be no ideological differences at the local level. He was often frustrated at the political divide in local politics because he saw it as a gimmick. You cannot distinguish yourself because you want to lower taxes or improve services – – everyone wants that. So, you need to create an artificial distinction and that usually means partisan pugilistics. And, once the battle lines are drawn, its them or us. There is no direction from there except down.
I wish I had 5 more minutes with him this week. Because I know what his counsel would be: As long as you are campaigning with respect and civility, it doesn’t matter if you win. You will sleep better losing with compassion and integrity, than winning through dirt and deception. I would proudly tell him that I had all the candidates to my house for a social dinner. That I have met with other leading local republicans to talk about the issues. I avoided, at all costs, attacks, hostility, and slander. When an opponent was attacked, I was the first to condemn and disavow the incivility. When I was the target of a healthy dose of smearage myself, I declined to respond in kind, choosing instead to change the conversation to more productive matters.
Finally, he’d like my agenda. I won’t repeat it here except to say that my entire platform is built around helping my neighbors. From fixing playing fields and roads, to stabilizing out-of-control taxes, and reducing a crippling debt. He’d like that. But, above all, he’d like that I am being honest. I have not hidden behind the platform of others. I have not avoided outlining my personal opinions. And, I have never, not once, tried to mislead or deceive.
I hope I have made him proud in the years since he died. Not through my accomplishments or successes. But, by incorporating his essential and foundational decency into my every endeavor.
Thanks Dad. I miss you.
** I am not David Weisbrot, but I think he would approve of this message