As a college student, home for the summer, this is the first town election in which I have felt empowered to speak up and enact change in the place I call home; however, I did not anticipate the controversy that would come out of this Select Board election. As a long time Hopkintonian, I would like to voice my experience in this debate on “social media vitriol,” especially given that some of the dialogue is about my personal posts.
On June 5th, I posted a picture to my personal Instagram story of the incumbent running for reelection posing in front of an enormous “Vote Trump” sign. I posted that photo with the words: “On June 29th you have the power to vote him out.” This story was on my personal account before ever speaking with Amy Ritterbusch’s campaign. In the days following my post, the incumbent refused to discuss town issues with Ritterbusch during the voter-organized debate, citing as justification that “the hostilities focused on partisan politics and the lack of legitimate debate in this campaign around the real issues facing Hopkinton.” Amy was denied an opportunity to discuss the real issues because her opponent felt “attacked” by members of the community, like me, pointing out his voting record to those who may not have known it.
Growing up in Hopkinton, I witnessed national politics play out in our town every day. When our representatives running for local office claim that national politics are irrelevant to local problems, it reminds me of those in our town who don’t have the privilege of separating national politics from their daily life. Our town may feel out of Washington’s reach, but it is not. Supporting Trump signals to the LGBTQ+ members of our community that we are willing to allow healthcare discrimination. Supporting Trump excuses the Access Hollywood tape, implicitly telling women in this town that our bodies are toys for powerful men to play with. Supporting Trump empowers him as he tries to end America’s asylum program, which offers residency and work permits to refugees, and tells immigrants in this town that they do not belong. This election matters. Please join me in voting, this Monday, June 29th.
Our representatives send a message with their votes, as we do with ours.
— Julia Lotvin, Hopkinton
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