The Future of Mountain View: A Plea for Bipartisanship

I was recently asked what I would change if I could wave a magic wand. I didn’t have to think very long to know my own heart. I said I would erase the partisan divides that sometimes cloud our town conversations.

I have been working to achieve this goal without magic since I took my oath of office. Yet, the influence of national politics still looms, dividing us into blue and red camps. It makes me sad, not because of the diversity of opinion, which is vital for a healthy democracy, but because of how it affects our discussions and decisions. It makes us suspicious of each other, creates tension, hides the things we have in common, and complicates our efforts.

As the town has tackled some weighty issues this past year, we have experienced firsthand the whisper (sometimes roar) of political polarization. But we must remember that we are all on a shared journey toward a better tomorrow, and we must resist being clouded by this fog of ideological discord.

Opposing views do not have to be a battleground, and friendly conversations can replace partisan rhetoric if we try. Instead of resorting to the ready-made slogans and catchphrases that dominate the national political arena, let’s resist, and intentionally engage in conversations with patience and respect.

It’s important to recognize that the federal perspective, with all its partisan bickering and gridlock, has little bearing on the day-to-day realities of life in Mountain View. When it comes to issues such as budgeting, infrastructure, resource management, and providing services, really only local-level experiences matter. 

Differences in opinion should not be viewed as insults or threats, but rather as opportunities for growth and progress. Each perspective, shaped by individual experiences and circumstances, adds richness and depth to our community discourse. It is through respectful engagement with these diverse perspectives that we can truly harness the wisdom of our community and chart our bright future.

At its core, democracy is not about uniformity of thought, but rather about the ability to navigate through differences with civility and respect. It’s about recognizing that, while we may hold differing viewpoints, we are all bound together by a shared commitment to the principles of freedom, equality, and justice.

If we are to truly live up to the ideals of democracy, we must strive to cultivate a culture of understanding, acceptance, and cooperation in our town. We must resist the temptation to retreat into our respective ideological echo chambers and instead embrace the messy, yet enriching, process of conversation and debate with those who are different from us.

As Mayor of Mountain View, I urge each of you to join me in this endeavor. Let us unite in our shared love for this special town we call home. Together, we can build a future that is inclusive, resilient, and full of promise. With our pretty gardens and eclectic homes of diverse sizes and natures, just like our own families, creating a colorful quilt. With our cherished safety that is the result of supporting our police department, helping our children grow up healthy and allowing us to walk our dogs late at night without fear. With our newly planted trees creating more shade on our sidewalks. And our friendships grow deeper, over the years. All of these things color the future I dream of—that I don’t need a wand for—that is within reach, if we all continue to work together.

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