By Commissioner Ken Cutler
First, I want to thank the citizens of this community for allowing me the honor and privilege to serve our community for another four years as the Commissioner for District 3. I entered into this position with the mindset of doing nothing more than giving back to the city that I raised my family in and that I have truly come to love.
I can tell you that both as a student of its history and having had the opportunity to serve for the last four years beside some pretty extraordinary people, my fellow commissioners, the Mayor, and an amazing group of caring City staff, that these people are all dedicated to doing what is best for the City and its residents.
And we as a community have been through an awful lot in the last four years. The icing is the COVID crisis. It has taken its toll on all of us. People getting sick, people dying. People worried day in and day out whether they will have a job, be able to send their kids to school, etc. Collectively I can tell you its been a grind.
Now, in the midst of all of that collective pressure, we find ourselves in a National pressure cooker of divisiveness over the election of our president, the challenges of our economy, environmental issues, Police and Racial issues, and more.
All of that is now having a heavy impact on everyday civility. People are tense. People are depressed. People are scared. That collective National tension and the constant barrage of social media and news cycles take a toll on that civility. People are downright nasty. They are haters. If you’re not on one team or another, you are the enemy. If you’re on the other team, you’re a crook, you’re deplorable.
Lately, I’ve seen it trickle down into our own local politics.
Parklanders: the people that are running for your local government are your neighbors and friends. These are citizens that are stepping up to try to be of service to our community. They live here. They have been volunteers in the schools, PTA members, part of the religious communities, coaches, scout leaders, and contributors to our local charities. We see each other at Publix, local restaurants and shops, at the Parks, the Library, and at (when we are not in COVID isolation) social events. The issues that are discussed at the local level impact us all. The decisions we make are made with the health, safety, and welfare of ALL of our local citizens and the health of our City in mind.
The idea that anyone would get on social media and start belittling, degrading, or besmirching the good names of one local candidate over another, and doing so in the name of “free speech,” is horrifying. We are all Parklanders. We are better than that. Our children set an example for the world after the MSD tragedy, and they did so with honor and dignity and respect. Their words, thoughts, and actions were calculated to do good, not harm.
Let us all take an example from them. If you think that one person is a better choice than another and are inclined to tell the world through Social Media or some other public avenue, do it with respect. Do it with the idea that you are teaching your children the right and civil way to have an open discourse over issues that have different points of view. We all have enough to concern us in our daily lives. The people that are stepping up to local office are doing so because they care. Show them, show the world that you do too.
Running for local office should not be about which local citizen can take the constant barrage of hurtful words the most. That only leads to the election of indifferent people who don’t care what is said about them. Is that what we want in our leaders? I certainly don’t. We have until November to elect our next candidates into office. Let’s do it with civility and honor. Let’s vote. Let’s please be civil and, of course, be Parkland Proud.
Ken Cutler first shared this at the September 23, 2020, Parkland Commission Meeting.
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