(Not so) Quick Hits – March 14, 2024

(Not so) Quick Hits – March 14, 2024

A Naperville ceasefire?

Personally, I never thought Naperville would require UN intervention, but perhaps our DuPage County neighbors are a wee bit more raucous than I originally thought.

But seriously, after descending upon the February Naperville city council meeting like a swarm of angry and not very intelligent locusts, the usual suspects commandeered the public comment portion of the March gathering to compel that body to consider a resolution calling for a permanent Gaza ceasefire.

As you might imagine, the group became even more agitated when the mayor and council persistently ignored their absurd pleas. So, they remained in the council chamber until after the meeting ended chanting “Ceasefire now” as the councilpersons filed out of the room.

One of the gaggle confronted mayor Scott Wehrli, who was still sitting at the dais, posing the question, “Genuinely, from human to human, what is the hesitation to just include it on the next agenda as an item for consideration to be a symbolic gesture. That’s all we’re asking.”

The mayor correctly explained that, per their version of Robert’s Rules of Order, an item requires the support of at least three councilmen before it can make the agenda cut. That’s a higher bar than most municipalities who require one or two “seconds,” but they didn’t make up the rule just to foil our intrepid protestors.

The obvious problem is, had the council yielded to the mob, they’d have stepped right into an Open Meetings Act violation like their Evanston counterparts just did. And that would likely generate a new round of protests as a result. Again, by law, all agenda items must be posted at least 24 hours in advance.

But regardless of the rules, that resolution isn’t about to be considered anytime soon. Why? Because making such a motion would be committing the kind of political suicide that all but the worst MAGA politicians avoid like the plague.

First, it’s a pointless symbolic gesture that serves absolutely no purpose other than to make the pro-Palestine group feel good about doing the absolute least they could do. And second, no self-respecting councilperson with dreams of reelection would be silly enough to end that possibility with one vote.

Because the second they issued that partisan proclamation, they’d lose Naperville’s Jewish, conservative, and pro-Israel vote for no good reason, making it impossible to retain their seat. And for what? A pointless public declaration that’s the equivalent of spitting into the wind?

There’s also the very real possibility they don’t believe a ceasefire is warranted.

It’s difficult enough being an alderman in these hyper-partisan times, and to expect a city council to take your “side” on an international issue that has no bearing on life in Naperville just because you fervently believe you have a monopoly on the truth is completely beyond the pale.

If the council did pass the resolution, in light of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine, should the same city council issue a writ condemning the Hamas rape, torture, and murder of Israeli citizens? That’s the kind of absurdity that sends the process directly into a downward spiral making it much more difficult to govern.

For all those reasons and more, I applaud that fine upstanding Naperville city council for sticking to their guns and refusing to be bullied into something that serves no purpose.


You mean there might be a price for taking a stand?

This one flippin’ frosts my flakes, too. How many times do I have to say that Freedom of Speech, IN NO WAY, frees the speaker from the consequences of that speech? I’m quite the expert in this regard, too. Just ask the Geneva Police.

Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times have been covering the “plight” of Palestinian students who’ve spoken out against the war in Gaza, generally focusing on the repercussions for taking a public stance.

All I can say is “Welcome to the real world” because that kind of life lesson in reality may well be the only thing worth the exorbitant cost of college tuition.

The Trib ran a long piece on how the students in the United for Palestine group at the University of Chicago had to learn the hard way. After being warned that their sit-in violated the University’s policy against disruptive conduct, they decried the fact they were actually arrested.

One of the charged students had the temerity to say, “What is free speech if they won’t listen to what we say?,” and, “What is free speech if they choose to threaten students with disciplinary action?

Oh, my fucking lord! Really?

First, the U of C is under no obligation to listen to anyone, though there could be consequences for their failure to do so. And by refusing to listen to students who want the college to divest themselves of anything Israel related, they’re making their position abundantly clear.

Second, despite the absurd contention, U of C administrators did not abridge their young charges’ freedom of speech. They simply determined that occupying university offices was a bridge too far and responded accordingly.

If the university’s position is clear, as it is here, upping the ante until you get arrested won’t get you very far. The far better choice is to transfer to another college that more closely aligns with your point of view. But that’s the underlying problem, isn’t it? These young folks can’t begin to conceive of the possibility that there might be another viewpoint.

A similar Sun-Times piece covered on Palestinian college students who’d had job offers revoked.

Did the New York hedge fund that rescinded a job offer to a young woman on the basis of posting a Palestinian flag on social media fall prey to the height of chickenshit-ness? Yes, they did! But I’m not nearly surprised that the more active protestors were cut loose.

Let’s refer back to Michael Jordan’s response to being accused of being too apolitical – “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” If you want to be able to speak your mind unfettered, perhaps an MBA or a law degree isn’t for you. You might want to consider being an opinion columnist instead, though I wouldn’t personally recommend it.

Then there was the Georgia middle school student who complained about the Israeli flag hanging in her teacher’s classroom.

I probably wouldn’t recommend his theory that threatening to have her beheaded was the appropriate response. That stupidity got him arrested. But if you’re offended by a mere flag then you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment, cupcake.

These students should also seriously consider that he Palestinian cause isn’t very popular in this country, which makes their situation worse. Americans are tired of Hamas’ brutality, the Palestinian’s incessant whining for the destruction of Israel, and if the former Yugoslavian states can peacefully co-exist after centuries of warfare, why can’t the Gazans finally figure it out, too?

But regardless of the protagonists involved, taking a stand – even in the “land of the free” – doesn’t come without a price. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but it won’t nearly begin to protect you from the consequences of that speech. 

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