Commentary: In response to ‘Political vitriol finds its way to Morris Township’

Andrew W. Lewis
Andrew W. Lewis
12

Editor’s note: The opinions here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

By Andrew W. Lewis

I am not a politician; which, in today’s particularly dysfunctional political moment, makes me supremely qualified to be one.

Upon reading Mr. Caffrey’s commentary piece [A Reflection: Political Vitriol finds its way to Morris Township, by Dan Caffrey], I thought I might offer some words of political advice to our Township Committee Member:

Andrew W. Lewis
Andrew W. Lewis

In today’s post-factual world, you are doing admirably by following your party’s standard-bearer. Mr. Caffrey’s presentation of  “alternative facts” is perhaps trumped only by the man that sits in the White House.

Speaking in bold absolutes, Mr. Caffrey declares that after the (two) elections of President Obama “there was no name calling…no protests…no violence…no starting of fires or smashing storefront windows. No likening our next President to the evils of Nazism.”

Ah, how I long for the halcyon days of the Koch brothers-funded Tea Party; of political obstructionism; of the profoundly racist birther movement led by the tiny, orange-tweeting hands of a bored billionaire from his gilded tower; of the deplorable attacks upon our first family, which we don’t even need to mention here because the internet has preserved them for eternity.

No, Mr. Caffrey, these things sadly did happen. You are right to observe that they continue. You are wrong to refer to half of your constituents as “snowflakes” (particularly in a time when the demographics of this town are profoundly changing in a way that does not favor the traditional Republican party).

Name-calling has likely always been a part of American political discourse. With our Tweeter-in-Chief at the helm, we can be assured that flames of hatred will continue to be stoked, one 140-character outburst at a time.

I have never met Mr. Caffrey. I have never met Ms. Wilson for that matter, either. I have found Morris Township to be a generally well-run town and a nice community to live in.

I applaud that our elected officials are engaging with a concerned citizenry. I only ask that if Mr. Caffrey is to stand on a morally superior soapbox and beseech us to drop the name calling, to end the nasty, partisan politics that have brought our government to the brink of dysfunction, that he be prepared to do so himself.

It has been said that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. Every time a politician pens an op-ed that presents alternative facts, or falsehoods, or outright lies, another citizen that has been sitting on the sidelines of American politics becomes awakened.

Now THAT is how we make America great again!

Andrew Lewis resides in Morris Township with his girlfriend. He works in Morristown and is an active member of both communities.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Robbie! We will get through this!

    I don’t think smugness, or any other personality trait for that matter, knows political affiliations. I certainly would not dare make inferences about the type of person you are from the limited digital content you have given us. I may have saved my harshest critiques for the Donald; but, in fairness, he has certainly shown himself to be deserving of the criticism. I respect your opinions and I hope we can continue to elevate the conversation both nationally and at home.

  2. Typical smug liberal who wants to “take the high road” by giving advice while at the same time hypocritically taking shots at the republicans by posting MSNBC talking points. How can anyone who states “…orange-tweeting hands of a bored billionaire from his gilded tower” pretend like he is making an adult argument? Another basis argument of “deplorable attacks upon our first family…internet has preserved them for eternity” There have been more IN PERSON attacks on the Trump family during the last few months then there were against the Obama’s entire 8 years. Yes, the internet is angry towards many a first family and THIS article is just doing the same.

  3. Andrew W. Lewis’ response (2/19/17 at 7:48 pm) to JJ’s comment (2/19/17 at 10:34 am) is eloquent in that it does not contain one single note of contempt or animosity. Here is a great example of how to initiate a calm, gracious and respectful discussion. My hope and prayer are that it continues, grows and becomes productive.

  4. Hi J.J.,
    Thanks for the comments! I’d be happy to attend a Morris Township Committee Meeting. I have nothing but respect for the individuals that sacrifice their own personal time to serve the community in which they live.

    As for the picture and full name: I’m not the kind of person that leaves anonymous messages on the internet. I’m happy to engage in open and honest conversation; it’s a pillar of our society.

    I wish you nothing but the best and maybe we will meet around town and get the opportunity to continue the conversation.

  5. Couple points:
    – These comments have nothing to do with others who volunteer with the town government. They are directed at Mr. Caffrey and his leadership style that we have learned about in his letter and the video.
    – Because Mr. Lewis is a relatively new MT resident and possibly a Dem, he has no right to get involved in local government? Is there a time limit on getting involved? Do Republicans own MT?
    – Assume calling Mr. Lewis names is OK?

  6. Say what you want about Mr. Caffrey, he earned it. But please, do not paint a broad brush over all the other exceptionally qualified and dedicated volunteers that run Morris Township and do a spectacular job. Being on the Town Council is a thankless job, let’s not let one person damage the credibility of all the others.

    We’re lucky to live in a great community, thanks to years of dedicated volunteers.

  7. Andrew W. Lewis … who?
    If you have never met Caffrey or Wilson, maybe you should and maybe you should attend a Morris Township committee meeting before you lecture Mr. Caffrey. I would be surprised if you’d go to that effort, it was probably fun enough for you just to get your pic posted online this week.
    (I predict Andrew will be the next Democrat whispering in the wings at the committee meetings … a new local gossiping ill-informed partisan obstructionist is born.)

  8. Andrew, you should run for Assembly in District 25. You’d beat Bucco or Carroll. You have the right message not only for N.J., but for the country. You should consider running for Assembly, Mr. Lewis. You’d shock the Morris County GOP, and the NJ GOP, as Morris County is the bastion of Republicanism in the Northeast.

  9. I don’t encourage this kind of political discord but I will admit Morris Township is extremely well run. Low taxes, excellent services, and great schools. I don’t defend partisan attacks from either side, but I can’t argue with results. So please keep national politics out of our town, but keep doing the things that made our town great.

  10. One thing I think Mr. Caffrey has done, in addition to making more people aware of the town-clown show where citizen questions (not even complaints!) are treated as “noise” by pointing out the Youtube channel where council meetings are archived (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFH1RFrH-59gPGpiMoaHgQ) is to let everyone that was on the fence regarding whether or not this tiny, tiny bit of government was truly partisan know that yes, it is!

    Quotes from that meeting and from his bizarre rant here on MG will be wonderful tools for anyone opposing him and his buddies in the next election. Nothing like letting your opponent show everyone who they really are! I’m glad to see the GOP in NJ hopping on the Trump Train as it prepares to go down in flames. As candidate after candidate adopts this combative tone towards the folks that did not vote for them, they are doing their opponents a great favor.

  11. Mr. Lewis:
    Thank you for pointing out some of the inconsistencies in Mr. Caffrey’s letter, and like you, I do long for a time when we could discuss these issues in a semi-civilized manner.

    For me one of the most disturbing aspects of Mr. Caffrey’s letter (and in the linked video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9WjqVYnZcw) is his tendency to discourage citizen involvement in government and his implying that those who speak out are attackers.

    An elected official who considers citizens who participate as just “noise” and their involvement as unimportant is a serious threat to our freedoms. Promoting openness and accountability in government by encouraging citizen participation is the only response to this attitude. This is the route Ms. Wilson has taken.

    I’m hoping that in November the electorate will remember that participation in government is in our own self-interest and will vote for the candidate who welcomes their involvement.

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