Shapiro: Politics aside, Scottsdale is the positive sum of its communal parts

Gary Shapiro

Recently, Scottsdale’s History Hall of Fame inducted six new honorees.

The 2019 honorees included a local philanthropist, civic leaders, a famous restaurant celebrating its 60th anniversary, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, known as our partner in friendship, tourism, education and economic vitality.

Over the past 26 years, nearly 160 individuals, businesses, organizations and assorted “Dudley Do-Rights” have been honored. The list is diverse on a cultural and political basis.

However, the honorees all share a common interest, a passion for their hometown and a pride in Scottsdale. Collectively, their horsepower for getting things done has been astonishing.

Don Carson spoke at this year’s banquet. His family operated Don & Charlie’s spanning four decades. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

It was the perfect moment in time as he reminded us that it’s OK to have different opinions. But, there’s no reason for a lack of civility. We’re all in it together and we all share a love for Scottsdale.

Driving home from the celebration, I had a chance to reflect on the messages of the honorees and the challenges of our times.

Some people vilify and demonize their opponents as the enemy. Nothing could be further from the truth. We just need to do a better job of knowing each other, engaging each other and seeking common ground.

Gary Shapiro, Scottsdale community advocate

Fundamentally, it helps to remember who we are.

We’re all neighbors. We’re friends and family. We’re also your kids’ Little League coaches. We’re congregants in the same houses of worship.

We serve on the same school committees. We also volunteer our time and energy for many of the same charities and not-for-profit organizations.

We stand in the same grocery store lines and say, “hello.” We’re your customers at the businesses you own or work at. So, why do people love to attach negative labels and go on the attack?

The real estate industry was targeted during the recent city election.
Nearly 10,000 of my colleagues in Scottsdale and another 30,000 or more scattered around the Phoenix metropolitan area and throughout the state of Arizona were named to be the enemy.

Gary Shapiro, Scottsdale community advocate

Yet, the goal of our national association of more than a million dedicated professionals is to protect private property rights, enhance property values and help our neighbors and friends enjoy the American Dream.

I’ve been in Scottsdale for 48 years. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with countless volunteers and leaders. Together, we’ve accomplished great things.

Thirty-four years ago, I helped co-found Scottsdale Leadership. We’ve mentored the discipline of civil dialogue to more than 1,100 graduates. They’ve adopted it as their standard operating procedure and taken it forward to the organizations and commissions they’re involved in.

As time marches forward, we may have different opinions about issues, and candidates — That’s OK.

Let’s skip the hate, vitriol and drama. Remember, we’re all in this together. What we do together affects our community and is as American as baseball, hotdogs, motherhood and apple pie.

Gary Shapiro, Scottsdale community advocate

The lack of civility is a behavior practice that is alien and fundamentally unacceptable. It violates the “Golden Rule” of how we should treat others and how we want to be treated ourselves.

Scottsdale, our state and our country would be better served if we all look for more opportunities to come together and work on the important issues of the day in a constructive, civil and collaborative manner.

Everything we do is a learning laboratory for our children and our entire community. Let’s take the high road together, set the right example and roll up our sleeves to get things done.

Editor’s note: Mr. Shapiro is a Scottsdale Charro, community advocate and resident of Scottsdale

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