Old lights and new lights

by David Abdel

Voting has begun in the Kyle mayoral runoff election, and predictably we find ourselves to be a town divided. At first glance, one would see it simply as Tenorio supporters and Mitchell supporters, but when you dig deeper there is an underlying ugliness you’ll find. A core group of Tenorio supporters, at least based on the social media-sphere, appear to simply be anti-Mitchell. I’ve seen many ardent Peter Parcher supporters switch to singing the praises of Tenorio, as if the latter was never in the running at all. This piqued my interest. As a fellow losing candidate, I wondered why supporters would become so fervent in their zeal for another candidate rather than simply vote their conscience in the runoff quietly.

What I have found, or at least what I surmise from the interactions I’ve followed, is that really this election has come down to a battle of progressives and conservatives. No, not in the popular political sense, but rather in terms of how Kyle came to be where it is, and where it is going. Seriously, this is a tale as old as time. Here in the “New World” this fight has been raging since before we were even a nation. It calls to memory the Great Awakening clash between the Old Lights and New Lights. However, you’ve not come here for a history lesson, per se.

It’s no doubt that Kyle has changed, very much, in the last 20 years. Expansion, growth, congestion and industry – all hallmarks of change. This has been true for almost every town in America. Change is inevitable, especially the rapid change indicative of the 21st century. Where we find the division of opinion now in Kyle is rooted in change. There are a large group of people who appear to be resistant to change. They wish for Kyle to digress back to the secluded, small bubble-burb where they can quietly live out their days seemingly innocuous. These folks appear to be supportive of Linda Tenorio for mayor. The flip side of this, of course, are the progressives. Here we have a group of people who seek for Kyle to continue its growth in many areas. The “more of everything” people lay here: more parks, more retail, more restaurants, more entertainment, more jobs, more homes and more schools. Truly, they seek growth, but well managed and equitable. These folks appear to align themselves with Mitchell to return to the mayor’s chair.

The old lights boast about how long they’ve lived in Kyle, the new lights refute why that even matters. The old lights talk about all of the things they don’t want, the new lights talk about all of the things they do. The old lights bring up Tenorio’s one term on City Council in 2004, the new lights bring up Mitchell’s term as our actual mayor. Evidence has been brought to light (no pun intended) from both sides highlighting instances of poor judgement in office by each candidate. Both sides argue over the most effective way to campaign and reach out to the public. So, where does that leave the rest of us? Ultimately, if you haven’t already declared which camp you belong to, or you aren’t heavily invested in either side, you’re needing to make a decision. Obviously, do your own research and vote your conscience. But, if you listen to the mobs, you’ll be either voting to move forward, or to move backward. Choose wisely.

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