Fred’s campaign manager writes,
[R]ather than engage in rhetoric that is meant to confuse, divide and distract the public, we will stay on our message and focus on issues facing Greenwich residents.
Most people have had enough of divisive political tactics at the national level. There is nothing we can do to stop certain activist groups, opinion writers or even Democrat candidates in town from making everything about national politics. If they decide that this is their agenda, they should run on it. Based on Fred’s opponent’s comments on the night of her nomination listing national politics as one of the reasons she decided to run, and on Indivisible Greenwich’s recent comment that they are “Mostly focused on the national level,” they have already made that decision.
Jill Überland’s and her runningmate Sandy Litvak see it differently:
“We’ve been thoroughly disappointed by the failure of local Republican leadership to call out the utter breach in standards, discourse and respect for the institutions of democracy,” Oberlander said in her speech that night. “Every day there is another story that wrenches one’s heart and soul. It is so constant that we become inured to it and we start to think of it as the new normal. But it is not normal and it is not OK.”
In those remarks, Oberlander called for more “moral courage” from elected leaders in Greenwich. And on Friday, Oberlander stood by her earlier statements.
“There is no doubt that we live in a divisive time and many people feel very strongly about what is going on in Washington,” Oberlander said. “Locally, we must strive to do better, because as we’ve seen here and at the national level, bipartisanship is critical to achieving results. At the same time, our leaders must speak out against injustice. While we are running to lead Greenwich, all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, are impacted by what’s going on at the national level.”
She added, “We must never shy away from advocating for equality for all and standing against hate. Those are American values, not partisan values. We all want our town to succeed and improve, and Greenwich needs leaders who will stand up for those American values.”
And here’s Sandy:
“Greenwich is not an island,” Litvack said. “Greenwich is part of a state and part of the country. And, as a result, we are all impacted by divisive or racist language and by acts that occur outside our little enclave, including especially threats to our democracy from foreign interference in our elections, all our elections.”
Litvack said local leaders who fail to condemn offensive rhetoric or “the denial of basic human rights at our border” are failing to lead.
“While it is true that the president’s verbiage, the horrors being perpetrated at our borders and the indifference to attacks on our democracy all have nothing to do with our town’s borrowing policy or our educational issues or even our mill rate, they have a great deal to do with who we are as a people and as a community,” Litvack said. “It is about the tone that is being set for us and our children as we interact with each other. That is relevant and that is critical.”
And it’s a package deal: if we get Überland and Litvak, we also get Greenwich Invisible and its agenda:
Litvack is married to Joanna Swomley, a co-founder of Indivisible Greenwich, an activist group that was formed in response to Trump’s 2016 election victory. Indivisible has held several Greenwich events to protest Trump administration policies, most recently on the treatment of migrants at the southern border.
“We believe that national issues are local issues and that they should and must play every role in municipal elections,” Swomley [said] . “Our nation is under attack by a foreign power. At this point, if a party leader at any level of government is unwilling to stand up and defend our democracy and the sanctity of our electoral process in the face of clear efforts to subvert the vote, it is our view that party leader is unfit to lead, un-American and is choosing party over country. As you know, the elections are run at the state and local levels.”