Guest Commentary: We’re All Islanders

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It takes more than both hands to count the number of words that have been used to divide people on this island.

There are residents, business people, citizens and non-citizens, there are “bridge people,” there are renters, there are property owners, there are visitors, and vacationers.  There are “northerners,” and New Yorkers, and lord let’s not forget all the people who don’t know how to drive from Ohio! We’ve even listened to the “north end vs south end” debate on this 7-mile stretch of beach. And for what?

All of these connotations do nothing but keep us from having a civilized conversation with one another.  We’ve been forced into a box, or a clique, a “team” or even a sub category of a category like “south-end northerners!”  Why?

Divisive words instead of hands stretched out to one another when the latter accomplishes so much more every time. Let’s turn the page.

We are ALL Islanders.

I have been frustrated with this election cycle and I’m not even a part of it!  Some people spent lots of money on negative mailers attacking a candidate while others reacted sending email trains doing equal or greater damage in the supposed secrecy of “private communications.” Everyone has seen them and it all needs to stop.

I have great faith in the people who live here. It doesn’t matter if you rent, own, visit or have lived here for the last 70 years — everyone’s equally qualified to be an Islander.  It’s what has made us special for as long as I can remember, as long as anyone I know can remember. Ft. Myers Beach has always been a place for everyone! We are tolerant, diverse, good.

In just a few days our election will take place. Hopefully the results look to the future and the 2019 council can embrace the next phase of our life as Islanders: professionally, courteously and unafraid.  It’s time.

We’ve spent too much time looking back whether it was to 1976 or 1995. Too much time trying to stop, catch or react.  We need a re-boot.

It’s time, as Islanders, that we move on.

 

By Anita Cereceda