Why Howard County? Why do you compel me to write these articles? I am, as we speak, developing the rules for a game I call Quar-Ball. It’s the ideal game for these times. A combination of dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, badminton, squamish, and (at the advanced level) snooker – it is going to be the sport everyone will be playing in the autumn.
So why can’t I focus on this soon-to-be-beloved-by-millions-and-highly-profitable-for-me past-time? Because of the Howard County Council Legislative Work Session (Web-based Virtual Meeting) of July 8, 2020.
Upon watching the first 28 minutes and final 10 minutes of the session, I heard comments and saw behaviors that included all of the words mentioned in the title of this post. Check it out for yourself here:
Allow me one digression. Of course these attitudes and actions are not limited to the Howard County Council…I see plenty of this on social media too. From the squishy center sanctimoniousness from one FB group administrator to the “logical fallacy” FB group administrator. To the former: learn how to deal with public criticism. To the latter: hey, what’s the logical fallacy for being a hypocritical gasbag? Ad homi-this, pal.
Back to the main point, to expand upon a metaphor used recently in this context, the Howard County Council appears to be trapped in a five-way bad marriage. What I saw from this particular session, among other things, is the need for a strong commitment to antiracism. I understand there are “reasons” why Howard County can’t move on this issue as Montgomery County did, with Councilperson Will Jawando pushing for a resolution declaring racism a “public health crisis” (which passed unanimously). However, I think we can all agree that silencing a Black member of the Howard County Council, duly elected as the voice of the people of the district he represents, was reprehensible. We need “unconscious bias and racial equity training for Councilmembers and County Council staff” now. And we need the racial equity task force to launch ASAP, report their findings shortly after ASAP, and actually put into practice their recommendations (assuming, of course, they are quality anti-racist measures), ASAP after ASAP.
Some may decry the task force as mockery, or even a sham, but I disagree. If the task force can change hearts, minds, and behaviors in such a way that more people, including elected officials, embrace antiracist beliefs and practices, then it will be a worthwhile endeavor.
Beyond (while still including) race, this County Council needs to get it together. Otherwise, 2021 and 2022 are going to be very ugly years in terms of both local governance as well as electioneering. I guarantee it.