By Jim Bowman
Matt Baron found the trustee's "sustained table-pounding, finger-pointing diatribe that occupied the better part of four minutes" "deeply dismaying," he wrote.
"The irony and hypocrisy [were] thick." The board was working on a statement affirming "its commitment to, um, a variety of viewpoints, among other lofty aspirations."
He offered a "broader context." In his more than "six years of serving on local government boards," he had "never witnessed anything remotely resembling such a scene."
Moreover, and more telling, as a newspaper reporter he had covered
hundreds of local government meetings—including some that were wildly dysfunctional—the only close analogy would be the three-ring circus that was the Town of Cicero's public proceedings. And even by that measure, Trustee Buchanan established a new low for conduct.
I concur, after my 40 years of watching boards and meetings, often taking notes, especially as a daily newspaper reporter for nine of those years -- though for this episode I had only a video to go by.
Setting aside her behavior for a moment, consider the utter lack of logic that Trustee Buchanan exhibited. In her view, white men (and perhaps women?), should be constrained from voicing their perspectives on issues that, presumably, have not personally harmed them in their lives.
He "reject[s] the belief that the Village Board should apply such a superficial standard to determine if he or she is 'qualified' to speak on a topic."
I buy that as a first principle. He and she were elected. The people spoke. Trustees are to decide this matter. It was on the agenda. They have a duty. And when forbidden, they have a duty to speak up.
Trustee Buchanan's tactic could have come right out of the Trumpian playbook: seize on differences in gender, race and any other characteristics as a cudgel to silence and diminish others and their points of view.
As a Trumpian, I object. As a clear-headed observer, I call this a sharp blow, though I wish he hadn't struck it.
I am not, however, telling him to shut up.
Answer Book 2019
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