Westport Dems: No place here for xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance

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To the Honorable Jim Marpe, First Selectman Town of Westport:

On Nov. 8, over ten thousand Westporters went to the polls to vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, as President of the United States. The town’s preference was clear, with nearly 70 percent of votes cast for the Democratic nominee. Those voters, along with countless young people not yet old enough to cast a vote, woke up Wednesday morning (if they even slept at all) in shock and disbelief at the election of Donald J. Trump.

Since Election Day, the Westport Democratic Town Committee has heard from many people in our community who are struggling to reconcile themselves to this result and what it means for our nation. Tuesday night, a week after Election Day, we had a record turnout at our monthly meeting.

People who had never attended a DTC meeting before came to express their fear, their anger, and their worry about the future. They spoke of sleepless nights, of difficult conversations with their children, and of feeling like foreigners in their own country.

In the past week, incidents of racial intimidation and hate speech have sharply risen all around the nation.  Sadly, our town has not been immune.

Staples High School principal James D’Amico informed parents last Thursday of racially offensive memes circulating online among Staples students. Mr. D’Amico also noted that some students were so upset by the election result they requested counseling. Other post-election incidents of political or racial intimidation have been reported as well.

Regardless of whom you supported for president, now is a time when our town needs healing and leadership. We need our First Selectman to make a strong statement that Westport is a town that opens its arms to people of all backgrounds and identities, and where intimidation and bullying will never be tolerated. Now is the time to reassert our basic, shared values of civility, decency and compassion.

Let us be clear: the Westport Democratic Town Committee will not stand for any acts of hate or intimidation in our town, regardless of who is in the White House.

Donald Trump will be our next President; as Americans we all must accept that. But we must never accept the xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance that characterized so much of his campaign.

We expect you, as our town leader, and the Republican Town Committee to take the same strong stand.

Westport has always stood as a bastion of openness and tolerance. We hope you will join us in reaffirming that essential character of our great town.

— The Westport Democratic Town Committee, Executive Committee and Ex Officio Executive Committee Members

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