The last thing Martha Brock said to me on Tuesday morning when I interviewed her about her resignation from the Oak Park village board was, “Please don’t vilify me, Dan.”
We didn’t. I wouldn’t.
First off, Martha Brock is sick. I’m not clear what she is sick with, but I’m sure she is not feeling well.
Second Martha Brock is a good and decent woman.
Third, she hasn’t been a bad village trustee. Often I have disagreed with her. And more often she has made me squirm in my comfortable living room chair as I watch board meetings on Channel 6. I squirmed when her questions rambled. I squirmed when she unnecessarily, and too often unproductively, discomforted people she questioned. I squirmed when, in my opinion, she wasn’t focused enough or not yet knowledgeable enough to hone in on the issue I assumed she was really trying to get at.
What I’ve always liked about Martha Brock, and the reason this paper endorsed her to the shock and horror of many standard issue Oak Parkers, is that she had a discernible point of view. She represented a batch of villagers who have not felt heard.
The rap on Martha Brock that became acceptable to voice?#34;since it wasn’t acceptable to say “she’s not middle class enough” or “she’s not bright enough,”?#34;was that she was too emotional.
I’m always suspicious of people who say that, people who imply that intellect is the only acceptable vantage point for making a decision. It isn’t. A blending of emotion and intellect is ideal. But being dismissive of people who work through issues starting with their hearts is a haughty thing to do.
Would you want a village board of nothing but Martha Brock’s? No. But was this board richer for her point of view and her contributions? Yes. Could Martha Brock, over time, have grown into a more complete trustee? Absolutely. And the village will be poorer that circumstances won’t allow that growth and evolution to naturally occur.