Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Who Are We? Brunswick’s Human Rights Task Force needs more time to figure it out, apparently.

Side has posted a number of times on Brunswick’s Human Rights Task Force (HRTF), which among other things, is intended to demonstrate that ‘this is not who we are,’ the preferred rhetoric in such settings, whatever that might mean.  To the critical thinker, this always raises the opposite point: ‘so, who exactly are we?’

How a town goes about figuring that out is a deeply existential matter, but we always look to our governing betters to clarify such things, no matter how long it may take, or how tortured the path to enlightenment may be.  Fortunately, we have traditional media outlets to keep us abreast of the progress, including The Ostrich.  Unless they don’t get related memos delivered through underground channels in the sand.

We’ve posted a number of times on the subject since the Task Force was created, and you can refresh yourself here: http://othersideofbrunswick.blogspot.com/search?q=task+force

Wow!  We’d forgotten just how much we’d commented on the subject, including pointing out how recently, our School Superintendent Paul Perzanoski, and new Town Council Vice-Chair Kathy Wilson have had their hair on fire over the fact that Hillary Clinton was not elected President, as they were certain she would be.  We suppose hair on fire is what happens when you aren’t the winner of a free chicken dinner.

Recently we noticed that our Town Council was taking up a resolution extending the existence of the HRTF.  It was included in the “Consent Agenda” for the 17 January 2017 meeting.  The text of the resolution is as follows:


We don’t know why our betters didn’t word the resolution to make the HRTF a permanent element in our municipal government.  As we’re sure we’ve suggested in our earlier columns on the subject, this is one of those things we’ll never be able to get rid of.  Anyone who suggests that it is no longer needed is sure to open themselves up to abuse from every last corner of the special interest community.  “How dare you suggest that we no longer care about Human Rights in Brunswick?”  “Don’t you know this is why people move here – because we have the best Human Rights Task Force?”  “The Human Rights Task Force is the backbone of our community!”

Alert readers may note that some of those protests sound a lot like the rhetoric of the school advocate community.  Yes it does; that’s the interesting thing about squeaky wheel government groupies.  With a few exceptions here and there, all their demands eventually begin to sound the same.

Unlike our ‘journalistic’ colleagues in the area, Side latched onto the mention in the resolution of a report delivered to the Town Council, dated 11 August of 2016.  We’ve posted it on the internet so you can read it; find it here: https://www.scribd.com/document/338045660/HRTF-Mem-08-11-16-Report-to-TC-1

The first page looks like this:


In our view, the ‘takeaways’ from the document are pretty limited, and we’ve culled them out for you.  They are ‘highlighted’ below, beginning on page 3:


In our view, that last line misses a larger point, that being the social and cultural atmospherics of our day, which are driven by an increasingly ‘diverse’ and vocal set of social justice warrior groups. They can only find purpose by identifying myriad offenses, even if being a bit loose with the specific details and evidence is necessary, leaving many not ‘actionable.’  For example, the culture at large is busy transforming what we once knew as teasing into ‘bullying’ and ‘human rights abuses.’  And far worse.

We believe, based on our regular observations, that Bowdoin College is at the forefront of such social justice warfare methods.  Followed closely by our School Department.  In fact, we sometimes think Bowdoin ought to be renamed “Fort Bowdoin – Headquarters of the 1794th Northeastern Social Justice Warfare Command.”

Lastly, from the recommendations section, a point that adds to this narrative:


We can only wonder what the detail of such municipally established safe houses might be, who will staff them, who will maintain them, and who will pay for them.  Oh, sorry; the answer to that last one is obvious.  Perhaps the Departure Center in Maine Street Station could be called into service, or even overnighting coach cars from the Downeaster, if left sitting at the station.  Come to think of it, the new MLF probably could easily accomodate dozens of “safe rooms.”

Or how about this: local taxpayers could get an annual credit on their property taxes of say $250 for having a sign placed in their yard saying they are an official Brunswick sanctioned safe house.  And an additional $25 for each soul they welcome in.

After taking this all in, here’s where we are.

Side is pretty sure who he is, but we have no such certainy about who YOU are.  We hope you’ll tell us the next time we meet.


As to our Town Council and the members of the HRTF?  They haven’t helped this reporter have any better understanding of ‘exactly who we are’ as a town.  But we’re pretty sure they’ve dug themselves into a fair sized hole, and they’re doing all they can to make it bigger and deeper.

You know the old saying: ‘the road to doing the right thing is pocked with lots of deep holes.’

Maybe they can hire a consultant to help them find a “Get Out of the HRTF For Free” card. (Not including the cost of the consultant, obviously!)

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