Welcome to the Second Edition of The Manitowoc Constitutionalist!
So much has happened since our First Edition! Tony Vlastelica, Matthew Phipps and Matthew Spaulding all won in the primary election for the school board as they faced three incumbents. Also, legal papers were served to the entire school board (FOIA request for insurance bonding agents). Highly exaggerative terminology was then actually published in a major local paper to describe an elderly gentleman serving legal documents (“storming” the stage). Shortly after, the requirement that our kids wear masks all day at school was no longer mandated.
These last several months have been many things: Eye-opening, Educational, Challenging, Inspiring and Hopeful. The events, conversations, debates and countless interactions between neighbors and candidates have served to open the eyes of many in our community. This raising of awareness here at home was the focal point of many of these efforts. We wanted people to take a more active role and engage with one another in the hopes of eventually understanding a little more. We were hoping to bridge this largely manufactured divide currently plaguing our communities…and judging by the incredible voter turnout for the primary election and the outpouring of positive feedback these efforts have been and continue to be a resounding success.
This success is a reflection of YOU. YOU made these goals an achievable reality in YOUR community when you took the time to take notice and demand answers to tough questions. I am proud to call Manitowoc my home and proud to call many of you my neighbors ever more so. These are conversations we needed (and still need) to have in order to effectively address the societal grievances of today.
There being such strongly held and socially available positions in today’s identity politics climate, we are guaranteed to disagree (at times heavily) on pressing community concerns. I believe this was something that, while responsible for many an argument, helped the community gravitate towards replacing this largely pointless arguing with a heavier dose of genuine discussion and debate. I’ve observed a higher level of regard across these lines even compared to months ago. There are still instances when the conversation completely falls apart but it can be challenging to truly listen when we do not agree on major issues, only awaiting our turn to be heard.
I’ve had several coffee shop meetings with amazing individuals and community leaders on both sides of these fences. Contrary to what social media banter would suggest we usually end up finding common ground during surprisingly pleasant and informative face-to-face meetings, regardless of that political identity. I observed that most people truly do share a common denominator regardless of our amplified differences.
Concern for our community is that common ground.
This concern is the foundation we share that should serve to end this destructively divisive culture all too many of us find ourselves in. It drives us to take part in beneficial community activities and volunteer efforts. It motivates us to run for local office, assisting with and forming community projects. It manifests by picking up trash when you’re out enjoying our amazing city parks and it is the motivating force behind offering to help coach/assist with/referee community events…all without any need for identity politics.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at the park or on the campaign trail; it is the fact you did something out of concern and pride for your home.
I had a thought after bumping into a small tree at Silver Creek Park the other day. The base of the tree where I hit didn’t react much…but when I looked up…the top of the tree was in motion. In the same fashion, our own perceived ability to enact real change around us should never be minimized or written off; everything we do affects the lives of those around us more than we could possibly imagine.
All you have to do is look up.
And that is something we are ALL capable of.
On April 5th, please vote for these Manitowoc School Board Candidates and Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors Candidates!