To the Editor:

When it comes to politics, I’m what you would call left of center. I believe in the power of good government to protect individual liberties, particularly of the weak and disenfranchised, and when there is conflict between the desires of one person and the benefit of society on the whole, I lean towards the good of the whole as the best way to benefit each individual. I do realize that if the entire system were tilted that way, it could threaten the individual and cause harm to the liberties and freedoms that define the best characteristics of our country. In other words, I understand the need for balance and respect for opposing viewpoints to protect others from my own personal biases.

In Trumbull’s town government today, we have no such balance and no such respect. This is the greatest weakness of our town and the greatest danger to its ability to reach its full potential. To be sure, the lack of civility in how some people have been treated by our town leaders is still a problem. Recent public snubs of prominent Democrats and even one of the ruling party’s own Republicans are clear examples of that. It is that our leaders too often fail to address or even listen to opposing viewpoints that poses the greatest threat to our town’s success. In short, a government single-minded of focus is narrow-minded of vision.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and it’s not too late to protect Trumbull from veering off the rails of balance and common sense. The First Selectman is currently determining who will serve as volunteers on the boards and commissions that serve our town. As requested by him, a list of highly qualified Democrats was submitted for consideration. Whether or not these Trumbull volunteers get the opportunity to work with their Republican counterparts for the good of our town will define whether we follow the path of an inclusive, balanced approach or a government of one party, one ideology.

This is not simply about our First Selectman, however. Every member of the party in power has at any moment the opportunity to take the higher road. All it takes is for the lines of communication and the minds of each elected representative to be open to sincere consideration of alternative viewpoints. This is the only way to guarantee that every Trumbull citizen not only has a representative voice, but a meaningful voice.

Everyday is a new day. Every decision and action is a new opportunity. If any are brave and willing enough to take those first meaningful steps across the bridge that spans the political chasm in our town today, I can assure you that a good many of us from the other side will be there eagerly waiting to greet you.
Kevin Shively