Leadership looks forward. It is proactive, not reactive.
After the hateful rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election there were some very wise people who read the signs and saw what was coming. All those hate filled rallies on the campaign trail had everything to do with demonizing brown people at the border. Any border, any brown people.
Locally in Howard County there were many who didn’t take the proposal of CB9 seriously. They accused its proponents of nothing more than petty politics. There was no danger. We were doing just fine the way we were.
I wonder if any of them knew what was coming? ICE agents searching Greyhound buses demanding papers? Children separated from parents without plans for return? Travelers refused entry because of their religion? Maybe some did, and that’s exactly what they wanted.
But I’m guessing that some just didn’t think that could happen. They didn’t connect the dots from the campaign speeches to policy after policy designed to demean, discriminate, and deny basic human rights. They shrugged if off as an over exaggeration, fear-mongering.
Around the County there are still plenty of folks who think it would be wise to tar and feather (metaphorically speaking, of course) any public servant who supported CB9. They want to use it as a way to frighten the base. And perhaps they think that there is shame merely in its failure to pass.
Over the last week I hope that at least some people have gotten the point that acknowledging the universality of basic human rights is every bit as much a local issue as a national or international one.
There is no shame in looking forward, in being proactive. The shame comes from ignoring what is right in front of you and refusing to take action. Then the only course left to you is reaction.
That’s not leadership. And that makes none of us safer. We who live in Howard County must still grapple with our responsibility in responding to over-reaching policies from the current administration that threaten the very foundation of our cherished democracy.
Think it’s just politics? Think again.