Park City mayor addresses Washington violence: ‘It’s not who we are’
Andy Beerman places blame for the rioting in nation’s capital on ‘failed leadership’
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman on Thursday said he “kind of got my world rocked” by the violence in Washington, D.C., indicating he was dismayed by what transpired and contending the rioting was not representative of the people of the U.S.
Beerman delivered the comments during a Park City Council meeting. He only occasionally addresses the state of the country so directly in an official setting. He said he remains optimistic as he addressed the violence.
“I have to say what happened at the Capitol is not who I believe we are as Americans. And for as imperfect as our democracy may be and as flawed as our leaders can sometimes be, that’s just not who we are,” the mayor said.
He noted he has lost a political campaign, an apparent reference to his unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2013, and “can relate to the disappointment that comes with defeat.”
“And it hurts. The disappointment is real. But if you want to be a leader, you have to act like it. And the foundation of our democracy is these peaceful transitions in order to function,” Beerman said. “And there’s an understanding among people that serve that no matter how much you disagree, the country, the state, your city, your community, those things have to come first.”
The mayor said he is “awestruck” when he is in Washington and enters the Capitol or a congressional office building. There is the “weight of history,” he said.
“And so it’s just all the more disturbing what happened yesterday. And that was not a peaceful protest over differing views or a dialogue. It was a riot that just defiled the institutions that represent our democracy. And I blame it on failed leadership and elected officials that put self before country. And, frankly, I just find that sad and depressing,” Beerman said.
He said he is grateful the violence was not worse.
“My takeaway from it is that, collectively and individually, we need to continue to build our capacity for tolerance and empathy,” Beerman said, setting such a goal for 2021 and adding, “Let’s hope the year gets better from here.”
The mayor’s office in Park City is nonpartisan. Beerman generally supports heavily Democratic ideals like environmental protection and social justice. He has made contributions over the years to Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, Ben McAdams, Donna McAleer and Jenny Wilson. Park City itself is one of Utah’s most reliably Democratic communities.
The comments on Thursday were some of his most notable in a City Council meeting setting regarding the state of politics since late 2018. Toward the end of that year, Beerman spoke of unspecified “dark times going on in our country” during remarks at a City Council meeting. He did not provide specifics at that time.
The comments on Thursday were also delivered in the days after the end of a year of tumult in Park City and across the nation with the spread of the novel coronavirus and the social justice movement causing widespread tension.
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Thanks to COVID-19 cutting into visitation numbers, Park City’s seasonal workforce is sufficient. In any other winter, “the hiring situation would be dire.”