Published 12:17 pm, Friday, November 10, 2017
The internet, and specifically social media, has become a fascinating topic of conversation recently.
Twitter wars between politicians instead of policy discussions. Fake news spreading like crabgrass on Facebook.
Here in Greenwich, we like to consider ourselves above the typical corrosive fray of online badmouthing, innuendo, trolling and vile behavior.
It’s clear however, that Greenwich is not immune from the tyranny of the stupid and small-minded that often lurks on the internet. This time via a homegrown blog that’s galvanized angry Greenwichites.
With that in mind, I’m turning this column over to my extremely successful, non-stay at home wife, Barri Rafferty (Google her) who has something to say.
I asked my husband to loan me his column this week to respond to the local blogger who demeaned female RTM candidates in Greenwich, asking citizens across the board not to vote for them.
He wrote that some of the newcomers running were a “band of far-left women, mostly wealthy housewives with nothing much to do now that summer’s ended and those handsome country club tennis pros have returned to college.”
I have lived in this town for two decades and my local female friendships are with women who are CEO’s, lawyers, in top jobs in finance, teachers, and on par intellectually and financially with many of the men in our crowd, as well as many women who stay at home running the PTA or other local organizations.
I’m offended, angered and ashamed by these postings, specifically the implication that women in general somehow aren’t as qualified to be part of the currently 70 percent male RTM.
That our political climate has empowered men like this author to flaunt his bigotry and speak out against all women candidates has me scared for our society overall.
By denouncing all female candidates he is by extension, implying that a man still on the ballot while accused of groping a woman, is a better representative for our community than any woman seeking the same office. Statements like this don’t serve our community well.
Candidates should be evaluated for their individual skills as well as how they would represent us as a population.
Do men on the RTM actually have a better perspective on approving a town budget or determining what’s best for our schools, parks, roads, and so on? Not any more than women, I assure you.
Meanwhile, data in corporate America shows diversified leadership delivers better business results. Why wouldn’t the same prove true in politics? Having political leaders that reflect the broader population of a community strengthens our voices on all matter of issues and help better guide how our money is spent.
Regardless of their motivation, women in Greenwich are riding the national trend and feeling more empowered to enter the political process these days. That’s a good thing.
Legacy candidates who have been in office for years may or may not represent where we want our community to go or what we value today. But as women make up 53 percent of Greenwich, and more newcomers move into town every year, why shouldn’t our local political leaders have a similar make up?
The reason I said I’m ashamed of this blog is that it comes from inside the Greenwich I know and love. It’s not funny, snarky or representative of our town. It’s sad. Congratulations to all the women and men who won on Tuesday, who I hope will serve this town with more dignity and courage than this blog represents.
For now, what’s best for our community is that we rally together and put aside outdated stereotypes of women. We need to put prejudice aside and not let bullies get away with blanket, toxic statements. We vote by picking whom we want to do business with, who we trust with our tax dollars, and whom we believe will make the right decisions for our community.
For me it’s not about sex or ethnicity, but who shares my values and will look out for my family and our community. I hope both men and women cared enough to learn about our local candidates and make their own decisions. If they did we will be better for it, and have a brighter future.