The Coronado Democratic Club believes that partisan politics have no place in local elections.
These elections should be focused on issues of importance to Coronado, not furthering any national political agenda. We must foster neighbor-to-neighbor dialog, not advance political polarization.
Last August, while at a friend’s party, I met an older gentleman who learned I was a Democrat.
He quickly said to me “I’m a Traditional Republican.”
‘Life in Coronado’
For a second, his political label seemed like a giant metal wall between us, but I decided to suspend my political biases and start a neighborly conversation by responding, “Great! Let’s talk about your life in Coronado.”
He shared stories about having a business in Coronado, his love for the ocean, and his concerns about the coastline marine life decreasing through the decades, which lead us to climate change and ocean water pollution.
I was intentional about making sure that our political differences did not impede our ability to enjoy a respectful and engaging conversation.
This is a small example of the importance of neighbor-to-neighbor dialog. I recognize that not all conversations will end this way, but also don’t believe that they are destined not to.
If you wonder how political tensions became so strong in our community—let us recap: What were once hyper-local elections have become specific targets of well-organized national political campaigns.
Last year, all across the nation supposed “grassroots” groups appeared, repeating the same talking points and disinformation, with the explicit goal of taking over local school boards and community elections to further their national political agenda.
These groups fostered controversy by spreading disinformation and fear around issues of race, sexuality, and gender identity within our public school system.
The result was high drama as this coordinated strategy pitted neighbor against neighbor, polarizing our community.
In rejection of this toxic political intrusion, our club chose not to endorse any specific candidates.
We recognized the urgent need to educate the community on topics that would dismantle fear, challenge misinformation, and encourage civil discussions.
We focused on advocating dialog with friends, neighbors, and anyone willing to have a civil and open discussion about local issues.
We hosted a non-partisan community forum on public education in addition to a candidate forum for the Coronado Unified School District Board of Trustees.
Nine out of the ten candidates attended the event. Both forums demonstrated civility, allowing the community to hear perspectives on issues impacting our students, teachers, and staff.
Select best candidate
When it comes to bettering our wonderful community, voters not only have a responsibility to execute their right to vote, but a duty to select the best candidates irrespective of party affiliation.
We owed it to ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our kids to select those who would deliver the best oversight and policy guidance for the advancement of our city and our public schools.
The election results demonstrated that a well-informed community that participates in the process will make the right choices.
Our city’s progress will never magically take place on its own, it is a collective effort, which will always depend on community engagement and dialog.
We can all contribute to the dismantling of political polarization by suspending our biases, respectfully listening, and trusting that we can all strengthen neighbor-to-neighbor community dialog.
We must strive to seek common ground or at least respectfully attempt to do so. Our club will continue to lead by example, where the process of community solidarity is highly dependent on community dialog.
City council and school board elections should be nonpartisan and focus on issues of importance to the community at large, not just Democrats or Republicans.
By the way, the “Traditional Republican” and I got along so well; we exchanged phone numbers. Onward with constructive neighbor-to-neighbor conversations, that elusive disconnect might be weaker than we think!
Coronado Democratic Club, President
Editor’s Note: The Coronado News repeatedly reached out to Republicans in Coronado and The Republican Party of San Diego to get an op-ed on this issue from the GOP, but we received no response. We welcome letters to the editor and op-eds on issues surrounding Coronado. Please send them to Editor Craig Harris at email@example.com