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Friday, September 30, 2022
Home Government A Civics Lesson for Rye

A Civics Lesson for Rye

There was something different about the candidate debate at The Osborn.

All the candidates were present at the coffee social prior to the forum. There was a quiet grace and warmness about the room. The candidates seemed to go out of their way to listen and engage with their hosts and various attendees, many of them seniors living in Rye or at The Osborn.

At least two of the candidates—each a lifelong resident of Rye—pointed out seniors that they had grown up around in Rye. It was as if their parent’s friends were watching (indeed, they were). One attendee was pointed out—resident John Carolin, in his 90s, a veteran who “still fits into his dress uniform” and who is a fixture at Memorial Day ceremonies in Rye and a reminder about the importance of service.

There were no nasty exchanges, no costumed characters and no lawyers playing the part. It was clear—as someone remarked—that regardless if you agreed or disagreed with a particular comment, that each candidate was on that stage with good intentions.

The debate was organized by the civics committee at The Osborn. Civics, according to Wikipedia, “is the study of rights and duties of citizenship. In other words, it is the study of government with attention to the role of citizens ― as opposed to external factors ― in the operation and oversight of government.”

The seniors in that room have a lot to teach all of us—about history, about service, about common respect, about giving back. About not just our rights as citizens, but also about our duties.

I’m not under any delusions that we all need to walk around with scones and English tea cups. But it sure would be nice to see more “90 minute moments” like the one that was shared with all of us last Thursday.

We owe thanks to the civics committee at The Osborn for setting a fine example.


  1. The civility present at The Osborn is something we should expect in all our local elections because, unless a candidate is going to leave Rye, they’re going to continue to meet their opponents and their opponents’ supporters after the election. We are, after all, a very small town.

    There’s also the small issue of needing to be able to work with the existing Board / Council members after the election. I hate quoting Rodney King, but “Why can’t we all just get along?” Painting the competition as evil doers, bent on serving their own, personal agendas may feel really, really good, but it’s certainly not going to help build the trust that is needed for the “winners” to work together and work with the folks not up for election.

  2. I too was at this debate and couldn’t agree more.
    There was a sense of calm in the room.
    I think the behavior displayed by the candidates and the public is a testament to how we were all raised…Respect Your Elders!
    It’s a shame some of us can’t carry that out outside the boundaries of a Retirement Home!
    “We owe thanks to the civics committee at The Osborn for setting a fine example”. YES WE DO!
    This is also called “Leading By Example” and we need this in a positive sense around here LIKE NO TOMORROW!!!


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