Most of us growing up were taught that American democracy, our institutions, and our shared values had somewhat of a sacred character. Americans, no matter if you were Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat, Catholic, Protestant, White, Black, Hispanic, Male, Female, no matter your background, we were all still part of a special place called the United States of America.
Two weeks ago, while watching the Democratic National Convention — that message of optimism, of shared sacrifice, of community, of working together for a more just society — rang out across the four nights. Unfortunately, as we witnessed Trump’s roadshow in Charlotte, their message could not be shockingly more different.
Profanation, the desecration of our sacred values. This is what Donald Trump’s Republican Party stands for today. Division, lies, needless suffering, unemployment, pandemic, voter suppression, collusion with foreign powers, blame game, narcissism, and hatred are the new norms.
This is not America. This is not what makes America great. We simply cannot survive four more years of Donald Trump.
Profanation, the endless disrespect and violation of American values. Values and aspirations guided by fairness and respected leadership throughout the world.
The Republican Party will cast away their soul this week as they coronate Trump and his band of thieves.
The carpetbagger Steve Bannon arrested for defrauding millions of dollars from American citizens. Jerry Falwell Jr. exposed for his hypocrisy. Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone — all convicted criminals. They say you can tell a lot about a person by the friends they keep. Donald Trump is not the person this great nation deserves to have as our president. That we are even discussing the possibility of this national mistake being elected to four more years should be a wake-up call that we all have much work to do as a nation and as a community.
Turning attention back to more local concerns comes Election Day, residents of our great Island City will have a very talented pool of candidates to choose from. Tough choice for Mayor between Scott Newton and Julie Carson, both veteran public servants deserving to lead our city. The third candidate in that race, Josie Smith-Malave, is a very energetic newcomer to city politics and hopefully will stay involved once the election is over. The field for City Commission seats has a crowd of six candidates. Looks like it will be a three-way race for the two seats between Mike Bracchi, Doug Blevins and Chris Caputo. The other three candidates, like Chef Josie, hopefully will remain involved in the city after the election. Looking to serve on city boards, to participate in local organizations, and getting involved serving one’s community, is something one might do before running for election to public office. Just to be clear, showing up for Public Comments at a City Commission meeting for just a few minutes is not really being involved in local politics, just as owning an uninhabitable house in Wilton Manors does not satisfy the city’s residency requirements to run for elected office. I guess what is good for Trump is good for local candidates as they create their own delusional reality.
Our current City Commission returned this week from their summer break and had a long commission meeting on Tuesday night. Code rewrite and changes usually bring lengthy tedious discussions on signage, right of ways, non-conforming usage, enforcement and so much more stimulating topics. However, serving in public office is more about dealing with such issues than basking in the spotlight.
Unfortunately for me, the one item of interest for me on the evening’s agenda was under New Business and toward the end of a long night. That item brought up by Acting Mayor Tom Green, had to do with the renaming of Jaycee Park. Many residents would like to see this park renamed to honor our late Mayor, Justin Flippen. Unfortunately, the Recreation Advisory Board recommended naming the park, "The People’s Park” using Justin’s tagline, “The People’s Mayor.” Justin deserves to have this park named for him and not, in my opinion, some catchy phrase that many in town poked fun at Justin for. Justin Flippen was a unique individual who enriched this city in extraordinary ways during his short time with us. What better way to honor his memory, his love of parks, and his commitment to our Island City than to rename the park located across from City Hall, Justin Flippen Park. This topic will be discussed further at two City Commission meetings, allowing for public comments before Commissioners will make their final decision. Help make Justin Flippen Park the choice to memorialize our own great public servant, a vibrant community leader and a special friend — Justin Flippen.
Commitment, leadership, and empathy are values we need in a president for the next four years. Justin Flippen lived by such values and is what makes life just better here…
Sal Torre has been a columnist for the Wilton Manors Gazette since its inception. Sal has served on the Wilton Drive Task Force, Budget Review Advisory Board, and Charter Review Board, among others. Sal is currently President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors and Secretary for the Friend of the Wilton Manors Library. He is employed with Broward County in the Human Services Division.