GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Takoma Park’s progressive activists are now bullying the city council to take an official stand for peace and freedom.
City resident and activist Michael Tabor, speaking “as a Jewish person,” tongue-bashed the council for acting like certain liberals who could have spoken up, but “kept silent and said nothing, and in the end people, whether it was Jews or other people, died as a result of their silence.”
Since March activists have asked the council to pass city proclamations in support of their issues. At the April 30 city council meeting Tabor and other activists emotionally pled their case. The issues are something to do with the defense budget and the National Defense Authorization Act. Your Gilbert doesn’t care – not when our job is to report on CITY business. Their resolutions have nothing to do with the city, though activists say that any issue affecting citizens affects the city.
Meanwhile the council was waiting to hear citizens discuss whether to raise the tax rate, which DEFINITELY affects the city and every tax-paying citizen. That discussion was delayed by around 30 minutes for these non-city issue citizen comments - most of which exceeded their 3 minute limit, and some of which were from non-residents of the city.
Your Gibert’s objections have nothing to do with the issues, as worthy as they may be. We object because, besides being a time-waster, this is lazy activism. It is hardly activism at all because it has little or no effect. Big deal, Takoma Park, the knee-jerk liberal capitol of the Mid-Atlantic supports yet another progressive cause. That will change . . . what, exactly?
As we observed in 2007 when the council passed a resolution condemning pate foie gras for the sake of local animal rights activists, getting the Takoma Park city council to pass a toothless resolution on progressive issues is easier than stealing candy from a baby – it’s easier than giving candy to a baby. We made similar observations in 2006 when the city condemned chicken cages. We have not noticed a collapse of the pate foie gras industry, nor much change in the egg industry. We challenge anyone to prove that these Takoma Park’s resolutions changed even one mind.
For the cause
What really bothers Your Gilbert are the professional activists. We have a lot of them in Takoma Park, and when they turn up at city council meetings asking for a resolution that supports the cause they work for, we have to wonder. Are they adding “a feather in their cap,” as one resident speculated in 2009 when drug-decriminalization professionals were pushing the city to effectively de-criminalize marijuana? Even if they aren’t enhancing their careers, it is off-putting when residents who have never come forward on any local issues make a first-time appearance at a city council meeting to lobby on a national issue – that happens to be related to their job.
At the April 30 council meeting Heather Hurlburt, executive director of the National Security Network, told the council that the issue had brought her “out to a city council meeting for the first time.”
“I have a very keen professional interest in this issue.” she said. “One of the most useful things I can do for my day job was come and ask my community to get involved, . . . ”
Ah, OK. Glad we can be of service to your issue and your job.
Also addressing the council were two non-resident professional activists: the head of Peace Action Montgomery, and the ACLU-Maryland executive director.
But, let’s be constructive
We challenge these activists to, for pity’s sake, come up with a different idea than scoring the city’s issue-of-the-month feel-good proclamation. An EFFECTIVE idea would be nice. They need to stop preaching to the choir and step outside the church. As Washington Post columnist Tim Carman said of Takoma Park city councilmembers’ support of Veg Week, it would be more effective to get “politicians from Nebraska or North Carolina or Texas [to] take a public stand.”
Get creative and innovative, that’s what good activists do!
How about putting together a debate series, one for each progressive issue of your choice, to be held in the city auditorium, taped by the city cable TV station, then offered to local access cable channels in less enlightened parts of the country?
Start a Traveling Progressive Committee that tours the country in a fleet of electric cars, proselytizing on street corners? Surely, the city has the funds for that! [Ha ha, we just cracked up the entire Granolapark staff.]
Why a mere proclamation in support or against national laws or policies, why not an out-and-out repeal? That’s what you all really want, isn’t it? A city repeal would have as much authority and effect as a proclamation, anyway. The city council could repeal the National Whatzit Act, it could declare the end of whatever war is on at the moment, it could order the troops brought home. It could repeal the Arizona immigration bill, Texas’ anti-abortion funding restrictions, and gay-marriage bans. Repeal them all. Force the glorious progressive agenda on the whole country. Getting the country and federal government to comply may be difficult, but that’s why we have a city police force, right?