Meet the Candidates Forum: Full Broadcast

The full broadcast of Tuesday night’s Forum (for mayor and wards 1, 3, and 5) is now available online.

A note: the day after this forum, I was informed that I had been too negative about our town, that I was “bashing Cheverly.” This was a complaint that was made to leadership of the Women’s Club, and included both my comments and Councilmember MacKenzie’s. It was, frankly, shocking to me. I did not step forward to serve on council to be complacent or stationary. How can I talk about ways I will improve the town if I don’t mention areas for improvement?

Please don’t think I am making a comparison here, but I think it’s relevant: one of my favorite modern speeches is the one President Obama gave in Selma on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. He talked about patriotism in a way that I’d never heard framed before. There are two passages that particularly resonate for me:

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

and:

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

If you haven’t, I encourage you to read/watch the whole speech.

I am no Obama, and Cheverly is a small town. But these ideas about criticism and patriotism still apply: Cheverly is strong enough to withstand criticism and come out better for it. Believing in/loving this place and acknowledging its flaws are not mutually exclusive. I can do both. I will continue to do both. I hope you will watch the forum and come to your own conclusion. (The opening statements begin around the 12-minute mark.)

Nicole BrynerComment