Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com
By Jill Caiazzo
The 2019 Democratic primary in Arlington was a bruiser. On all sides, emotions ran high while the rhetoric ran disappointingly low at times. With the votes now in, the hue-and-cry of the campaign trail has given way to calmer calls for unity. This article is not one of them.
Don’t worry, I’m not calling for ripping up the cobblestones and taking to the barricades either. Instead, my post-primary call is this: Stay passionate, Democrats. Whatever else can be said about this year’s primary, it was passionate! The 2019 primary sparked many discussions about important issues in our community that are too often muted for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is the cacophony of terrible from the Trump-led GOP.
The extreme nature of the Trump-led GOP has grown our already big tent, as people of conscience of all shades of blue, purple and even a little red have sought refuge within the Democratic Party. This is a joy — but also a challenge, for of course such a diverse array of people will not always agree on each and every policy or candidate. To that end, not everyone is happy with the outcome of Arlington’s primary. That’s OK. I, for one, am not asking you to pretend otherwise.
Whether you’re happy or not, by all means, stay loud. Keep it clean for the kids of course, and perhaps try some civil leadership training courtesy of the Arlington Young Democrats. This training seeks to improve community relationships and individual interactions, to foster better understanding of differences across race, class, culture and politics.
Bridging these divides is important and possible only through active participation. So stay loud. Remain engaged. Keep at it. Democrats didn’t lose the 2016 presidential election because we were too boisterous; in the end, we lost because of apathy (with some help from several thousand Russian bots).
Let’s not make the same mistake this time around. Pour your energy left over from the primary into one of the many candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Even better — give everything you’ve got to a Democratic candidate for the Virginia General Assembly who best reflects your views. Our entire state legislature is up for election this year, and Democrats have the opportunity to retake the majority and move the Commonwealth forward on issues that matter to your daily life. If you want to protect access to affordable healthcare, improve education, implement gun safety measures, and combat climate change, only a Democratic majority in the state legislature can do it. Help make that majority happen, and ensure that the legislature includes at least one member who really gets you and will champion your key issues.
Building a noisy and diverse coalition of independent thinkers with shared core values always should be our goal. I chafe at the notion that an effective Democratic Party must require its members to move in lockstep. That’s a fool’s errand — not only because it’s impossible, but because its pursuit is destructive.
As a party, we embrace diversity because it is enriching. So too is diversity of thought. Whether your candidate won or lost on primary day, your viewpoint remains welcome in the Democratic Party. Keep fighting for that viewpoint, and let me know how I can help to make your message heard.
Unity is perhaps the greatest challenge for a big tent party. With the stakes so high, there is no question that we must hold the line on Election Day each November. For the sake of those core values that we do proudly share, you can bet that I will be calling you to the barricades then. But each day in between, let’s actively participate in the kind of passionate but respectful exchange of views that characterized the best moments of our recent competitive primary.
Today is one of those “in between” days. What will you do? Whatever it is, do it with passion.
Jill Caiazzo is the chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. She also serves on the county’s Economic Development Commission and Commission on the Status of Women. She and her family live in the Glencarlyn neighborhood.
Photo by Delane Rouse/DC Corporate Headshots
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Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.