While I watched the festivities from the comfort of my home office, TheFirstWard contributor Todd Martin actually was at that Wednesday Elgin City Council meeting. Though you can certainly catch the gist of what’s going on from the video, you do miss all the nuance that sitting in the gallery provides.
Thus, I want to offer a tip of my hat to Todd for filling in those blanks. Here’s what he had to say:
When I sat in the Council chamber audience last night and witnessed Councilman Prigge’s diatribe, I was shocked and horrified. Right in front of me were Rosa’s children, elderly parents, friends, and leaders of the Hispanic community. They were shamed in his allegations that her qualifications were moot. That she didn’t deserve it. That her appointment DIVIDED the community. He skipped the cake and reception downstairs. Later, he voted against a contract regarding Diversity. Later, he calls out his fellow council members WATERBOARDING the citizens.
Terry Gavin is a more complex person. Sometimes, he does great work serving the community. Other times, his opinions or ignorance of an issue are troubling. I balance the help he gave volunteering to put up the Bison fence versus his opposition to electric cars because they “cause more pollution”. Terry honestly tries to help.
My earliest political memory is watching Jimmy Carter win the presidential election. Gerald Ford called Mr. Carter to concede the election and congratulate his opponent. Every 4 years since, I’ve seen the same thing. You can call it good sportsmanship, or being kind, or reaching out to unify the people, or supporting Democracy by respecting the political office, or being civil to facilitate compromise and good governance. I like concession speeches.
That basic courtesy is important to me. I think it is important to society.
Why did he do this? I know what many in the crowd were muttering, and it wasn’t the preference of elections versus appointments. It was bigotry. It was recognition that if 5% of the “Citizens” listen and approve of these outrageous statements, then the low voter turnout will keep him in office and perhaps propel him higher.
Sadly, we do have a small minority in our community that embrace the hate speech. It is easy for them to embrace it when cloaked in code words. It’s a game, with a nod & a wink about the stated arguments (however contrived) versus the real agenda of keeping certain peoples down.
Other than old age, I don’t think there is anything much we can do regarding that demographic. My hope is that Rosa can work to bring more residents out to vote. That’s the only way to fix this mess.