On Nov. 8, 2016, my husband and I decided it was time to our sell home of 25 years (empty nesters) and leave Troy, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. We needed to live in a city that was walkable, had a vibrant downtown and reflected our values of inclusion, diversity and sustainability.
We chose Royal Oak.
It was the perfect choice for us. We immediately knew we were home. We walked everywhere, supported local businesses and embraced the growth of the downtown district and green spaces.
Known for its Democractic leanings, I soon found myself becoming engaged in Royal Oak local politics. I paid attention to who was running for mayor and city commission. I joined my local Democratic club and my County Democratic club. I joined Indivisible. I worked on a state senate campaign. I got to know my member of congress and my state house rep. I could no longer sit on the sidelines, not with DJT in the White House.
Fast forward 3 years to a Royal Oak divided. I can draw a line directly from the person in the White House to the brazen acts of Republicans in my local election.
In what should be non partisan races for mayor and city commissioners, citizens are divided along party lines. City Commission meetings have devolved into shouting matches with an angry mob calling themselves Take Back Royal Oak Coalition spewing outright lies over and over again during the public comment periods about how city contracts were awarded. Outright lies. These disrupters consistently break the rules of our Commission meetings by applauding and shouting throughout the meetings.
Truth, civility, respect and following rules are NOT valued their mentor, DJT.
His modus operandi is simple: repeat the lies often enough and people will believe them to be truths. And break the rules, always.
In my city, the Taking Back Royal Oak Coalition has gone so far as to allegedly hire a public relations firm to help them spread their lies in advance of our Nov. 5 municipal election (as reported in a Detroit Free Press).
In our Royal Oak local social media forums rancour reigns, racism abounds and truth is ignored.
This is NOT ok. We must fight back at the local level.
This is why local elections matters. We must stop the hate, racism and lies in our cities if we hope to stop DJT at the federal level.
We must VOTE in all elections.
We must work for great candidates in our cities and counties.
We must attend City Commission meetings and let our voices be heard.
And we must run for office.