Since I shared my photo of the swearing-in of the new Board of Ed members,
I thought it was only fair to share my pic of the installation of the new County Executive.
Sometimes photographs don’t do an occasion justice. These images are distant; my experience of the events was vivid and fully present. I had a strong sense on Monday of how important our involvement as community members has been in choosing our newest leaders.
I saw many folks last night who were giddy with the joy of the moment, reveling in the afterglow of winning the day, of being changemakers and history makers in our county. It was their moment, and that moment was sweet. But for me the afternoon and evening felt heavy wth the weight of oncoming responsibility. As sweet as victory may be, it carries with it unavoidable demands and challenges of leadership.
Yes, those are good challenges to have. But they are challenges nonetheless.
Something that new BOE member Vicky Cutroneo said in her remarks Monday afternoon stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing:
During the campaign someone referred to my supporters as unusual coalition. I take that as a compliment and I’d like to thank my unusual coalition for their support.
As we move away from the election and the swearing-in, it is my hope that these next four years are marked by many more unusual and unexpected coalitions. Nothing could be better for our school system and our County than public servants who work to draw together unlikely allies and surprising support. Those are the kinds of alliances to foster and build upon.
I believe that our newly-elected officials have the ability to do this. Whether or not they choose to work collaboratively and inclusively may depend on how much we, as citizens, affirm our desire for them to do so. So, in other words, we’re not off the hook. Our job does not end here. Just as we worked to get them elected, we must support their good choices and remind them if they begin to lose their way.
I viewed a transfer of power from a distance on Monday. But my heart and mind have never felt closer to the realities those oaths of office entail. These are real people. A few are my friends. It’s not a game or a contest or a battle won; it’s real life and the stakes are high. The drumbeats of criticism will start to chime in any minute now, if they haven’t already.
More than any photograph, these words from our new County Executive paint the image that I will carry with me. I hope everyone sworn in on Monday will strive to create and uphold this vision:
Let’s be that epoch of belief about a reality of equality and inclusion for all, rejecting racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia, ageism, discrimination and hate in all forms.
Let’s get to work.
Celebration in the Woods Advent Calendar: