LtE: Endorsing Hypocrisy

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A letter was recently published called “Endorsing Bigotry.” It called out residents (without naming names) in our town for being bigots. It was signed by elected officials who sit on our boards who were, or are, running our town. (Anne Landry, Erin Gaffen Shawn Brandt) It was also signed by Mark Dockser’s campaign manager. Shame on them for endorsing a position that throws accusations at our residents without facts or context behind them. Shame on them for showing us they don’t represent all of us. Context matters. 

One inflammatory statement said, “Others have been vocally opposed to the schools, criticizing teachers…” Context matters. Bringing up world topics and scaring children is OKAY? It’s okay for you to scare my child with national politics? Of course I am going to be vocally opposed to you doing that. I am a mother.

The incendiary letter further stated “Several candidates were among the 10% of members who voted against a resolution condemning the murder of George Floyd. It was joined by the voices of other elected boards.” It was actually 7.81%. If memory serves me, our boards NEVER saw the proclamation. Our highest boards never discussed it or voted on it, seems that truth doesn’t matter.

I voted “no” on a proclamation. Do you know why I voted no? Have you ever asked me? No? Irritating Fact: no one has EVER asked me. Did I mention; ever? Not ONE of those letter signers has called, texted, or emailed me. (Hey neighbor! Why don’t you come down the street and around the corner and ask me?) No one has asked because no one truly cares. The easier way is to label us as racists. Not asking helps push the narrative and win elections. Ad hominem attacks divide our town and that is what this letter did. Heaven forbid residents have any other reason to vote no!

What about the towns that didn’t send a proclamation denouncing racism, are those towns racist? 

That entire proclamation was entrapment and divisive. 

Some town meeting members never even saw it before 11PM. Once the vote happened the people who signed that aforementioned letter RAN (and I mean RAN) to town hall and made a public record request for the list of yes/no votes. Then they PUBLISHED the NO voters online. Are you keeping score here? The current chair of HRAC still has the list on her Facebook. The mission statement of HRAC is “…promotes and encourages respect for the human and civil rights of all Reading residents.” I, for one, feel super respected. The mission goes on to say ‘HRAC is a safe place where individuals or groups may plan opportunities for intercultural interactions or share concerns about mistreatment”. Will my mistreatment, and the treatment of other unfairly labeled residents, be considered?

For some, that town meeting was the very first town meeting they had attended, and they had no idea what they were doing. Some town meeting members had yet to learn what an instructional motion was. They voted ‘no’ but that context doesn’t matter, they are now branded as the town bigots. Again, ad hominem attacks divide our community instead of uniting us. Nice Job Reading! 

Why aren’t we calling out the people who left the zoom call? If we use the letter writers’ logic, shouldn’t they also be labeled, possibly as cowards. I mean, if we are going to name call let’s assume they dropped off the zoom because they are cowards. Not that it was 11 PM and they may have had a 6 AM zoom call, or they had a newborn. Nope, they are COWARDS. Isn’t this how we do it?  We make sweeping allegations about our town residents? There are reasons OTHER than being racist that people voted NO on that motion. I came up with twenty-five reasons; not a single one is because they are racists.

These people knew exactly what they were doing. The proclamation vote happened TWO years ago. TWO YEARS AGO. How much more use will they get out of it?

I am curious how much more mileage will this group get out of that instructional motion? How much longer will they hang their hat on a vote that happened at 11 PM two years ago when people were tired and wanted the meeting to end. I implore anyone who wants to talk to me about why I voted ‘no’ two years ago, to call me. 

The letter went on to say “One candidate, while speaking against the creation of a position focused on equity, casually used the “n-word” in telling a story to attempt to argue that racism is no longer a problem.” Important Fact; he didn’t argue that racism isn’t a problem; they failed to include the fact that he was telling a story about how all his fellow servicemen left a restaurant because one of their comrades was CALLED the n-word. Did you catch that detail? No? It’s because they focused on the fact that a 91-year-old man used the word. It was a powerful story. Remember he’s also a resident who defended this country so that they could have the ability to call him a bigot. Bill Brown wasn’t casually throwing the N-word. Context matters. You should thank him next time you see him for protecting your free speech.

If you received a phone call this week telling you that the people endorsed for town meeting are bigots, ask yourself “Why were they saying that?” They said those things to win an election…and it worked. Bigot is a scary word, and they instilled fear in you. 

They said in the letter “We think elections are about values.” That’s comical considering the wild accusations thrown about with NO context. The issue at the heart of this is that a group in town (some might know them as Pop Huddle) used to quietly run around town and commandeer town meeting seats by sharing their list with a select group of candidates, since 2017.  They now have competition and the only way to win is to scare you and horrify you and hope you work off their sheet of preferred candidates! People on their sheets are NOT without skeletons in their closet. I will NOT stoop to their level by addressing their actions. To find out who and what it will take a glass of wine with me. 

This election WAS consequential. When your voice is ignored, and the parking issues are not resolved, and you have pot holes on your street that aren’t getting fixed, and your taxes increase, and you are forced out of town because your water bill is too high, and you have no cell service, at least you know you voted a moral compass based on things that were skewed and twisted out of context. 

If there is a positive to find in this hateful letter they wrote, its that a majority of the people that signed it, signed their way right off town meeting!

Enough is enough, Reading. Keep supporting these ‘Equity and diversity and inclusion” cheerleaders who swear they are on the right side of good while simultaneously throwing good people under the bus. These people have NO idea what truly inclusion equity looks like. I am off to drive to Burlington so my child can play adaptive sports because there is nothing available in our community.  How is that equity and inclusion? Let’s end the ad hominem attacks, the divisiveness promulgated by this group of letter writers and instead work together for the best in our community. 

Alicia Williams
Town Meeting Member Precinct 8

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