Dane County Board members are poised to pass a resolution “in support and inclusion of all in the Dane County community” that, among other things, declares the county a “safe space” welcoming to “the refugee, the outcast, the stranger among us.”
It’s the municipal government equivalent of a group hug, and I guess in a county dominated by self-consciously sensitive Madison, it only figures that local elected officials would play therapists to the masses.
Resolution co-sponsor Sup. Robin Schmidt said, “I don’t initiate a lot of these types of resolutions” but was responding to constituents disturbed by the “tone of the national election” and other divisiveness in public life.
As examples, she pointed to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign and a Republican bill at the state level that would prohibit transgender people from using the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Dane County and Madison have a history of passing resolutions that take left-leaning stances on any number of state, national and international issues, even if they have little practical effect locally.
But Schmidt said her resolution isn’t like one that, say, urges the United States to pull out of Iraq.
Instead, it celebrates diversity, including ideological diversity, and is a “fundamental statement of how we address” local issues such as homelessness and creating a better jail system.
The resolution is all of 166 words, doesn’t spend any money, doesn’t require county staff to do anything in particular and, on a board as overwhelmingly liberal as Dane County’s, should pass easily with little debate.
It’s not like it will take away from much of the board’s actual, you know, work.
Still, “We are elected to govern, not to waste our time on what I would call a feel-good resolution,” said Sup. Dennis O’Loughlin, who considers himself a moderate on the 37-member board.
Conservative Sup. Mike Willett ticked off a range of issues the board could better spend its time on, such as homelessness, the county’s debt load, the jail and overtime for 911 dispatchers.
Local conservative blogger David Blaska said the resolution wasn’t inclusive enough and he’d add, among others, “the quinoa-chomping back-to-the-lander ... the knuckle-dragging Trump voter, the Chicago gangbanger on the lam and the timid tourist from Neosho ... and your huddled masses yearning for free stuff, public markets and Comedy Central nightly at council chambers.”
I assume he was being cheeky, but he does raise an interesting question.
Locally despised Gov. Scott Walker lives in Dane County, as do more than 71,000 Trump voters. There are also plenty of criminals and other unpleasant people. Does the average county resident want to shower “all” of them with inclusiveness? Is there anything wrong with waiting to see if they change?
In addition to the inclusion resolution, the county’s Executive Committee is taking up two that express opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, 600 miles away in North Dakota.
The resolutions make up three of the five items on the agenda requiring committee action.
That’s a lot of liberal politics and group therapy for the taxpayer dollar.