Change is coming just when we need it most

Greenwich-Voices-von-KeyserlingThe way Greenwich has been doing business is being affected positively by the entrance of a new, serious, volunteer generation of residents. We’re talking about the 30-something new parents who will invest everything to protect their children’s welfare and future.

These are management professionals who reject business as usual. They don’t simply complain like their elders. They produce change and results.

Greenwich’s operation depends on volunteer culture. Half the government and all charities, churches and civic boosters are volunteer staffed. This is why Greenwich is the shining lady by the sea, not because of its wealthy residents.

Until recently 90% of our residents blithely freeloaded on the sweat of the 10% who volunteer. The same cadre of names is recycled through town boards, not-for-profits and volunteer rosters. Some would say that this army of conscience numbers no more than 3,000 out of the 60,000 population.

Most Greenwich people have been oblivious to what and who really create their quality comfort and protect their security and property. If they care at all, the only information comes through bloggers and the traditional gossip channels. This is how the rotten apples in town have maintained their grip. It’s through lack of public interest and inquiry.

Well, this is rapidly changing. A scion of an old Republican family told me that he and his wife no longer register in a political party. They vote for the candidates who produce, not complain. They already know what the problems are but they want solutions, not heated rhetoric.

These people are joining the wee small group of us already disgusted with the self-serving politicos and their gang of sycophants. These new generation adults are participating in the process. They look up rules and laws. They study the situation and alternatives. They do their homework. They will not leave their children at the mercy of the machine.

Already the tide is turning in our educational arena. Parents are telling the board what will happen. It’s not the old way. It’s the other way round. Now this tide is lapping at the bastions of politics.

This is the biennial season for housecleaning in our local political parties. The Democrats have already trimmed their leadership sails and the Grand Ol’ Party is in a fierce, but publicly invisible, battle to throw out their trash. The do-nothing old guard is fighting for their lives. Already, they have thrown some of their stalwart servants to the wolves and more will follow in an effort to stave off a growing reform group.

The new group is tired of years of dissension and dysfunction. There is more fear among Republican volunteers about being a victim of the factions of self-interest than about the Democrats’ revenge. The local Republican Committee has not bothered to unify or direct their volunteers to victory. A Republican has not won a state or federal election in years. There is not one Republican in state or congressional office.

Party errand boys of the rich and famous are scrambling. Good old “Election Dysfunction” Uriah Dedakis has had to engineer a longevity award for his loyal service to the party financiers. He is such a top political jockey that he can jump nimbly from a losing mount to a winner during a race. Others are looking for real jobs.

Well, the newcomers are joining those old party veterans who have kept the party doors open to democracy. Right now the bookies give even odds on which group prevails in March RTC. But win or lose, the new volunteers will only grow in strength. The Good Ol’ Boys are fading and dying fast. Future tests will determine who gets the Republican nomination for state treasurer, a popular electioneer selectman or Bob Eich a meat and potatoes financial powerhouse.

Greenwich is changing. It will be such a pleasure to volunteer for activities where one’s efforts are rewarded with results and improvement.


Christopher von Keyserling is a Republican and a longtime member of the town’s Representative Town Meeting, though the opinions expressed in this column are his own. 

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