THE COLUMBIA COUNTY BOARD of Supervisors adopted 36 resolutions at the board’s monthly meeting July 14, 2021. The one called No. 244-2021 doesn’t look any different from the others. Adopting or debating resolutions is the routine housework of democracies.
But Resolution “No. 244-2021,” all 305 words of it, is out of the ordinary. Its name could tell you that. Among resolutions that appoint people to government posts and authorize public works, this resolution is identified as “A Resolution Against Hate.”
That’s a tall order for a small government. Abraham Lincoln re-framed the Civil War with his 272 words of the Gettysburg Address. But Resolution 244 has a different purpose. It isn’t a speech at all. It’s a sticky note reminding readers how a civilized society should behave.
It begins with three “Whereas” clauses that explain the drafter’s concerns: “an increase in violence based upon a person’s religion, race, gender identities, sexual orientation, nationalities, economic status and political affiliation;” the importance of our diverse communities; and the right of all county residents to “feel safe.”
Next come two “Resolved” clauses, the first of which recommits the county to “a status of inclusion for all….” The second condemns all violence as unacceptable, singling out acts of violence directed at who the victims happen to be.
Res. 244 may be just filed away to await rediscovery when the times again demand it. Or maybe not. A similar version was first adopted by the New Lebanon Town Board. New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling (D-minority leader) brought it to the county board. And since its adoption by the county (unanimously), it’s caught on. At last count 14 communities in this county have approved similar resolutions.
Ten have not. The list of unresolved towns and villages appears on Page 8 of the print issue
Resolutions can’t end bias crimes and hate speech. That’s not the point. Resolutions alert bigots that their views are not welcome here. Why wouldn’t every town want that known?
Resolution No. 244-2021
Sponsored by Supervisor Clifford Wiegelt
A RESOLUTION AGAINST HATE
UPON, recommendation of the County Government Committee, at a meeting held on the 17th day of June; 2021; and of the Finance Committee; at a meeting held on the 24th day of June, 2021;
WHEREAS, recently as a nation we have witnessed an increase in violence based upon a person’s religion, race, gender identities, sexual orientation, nationalities, economic status and political affiliation; and
WHEREAS, here in the United States communities that have been built with the guidance, assistance and leadership that is inclusive of peoples of all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic status and political affiliation are more successful; and
WHEREAS, the County of Columbia continues to maintain that all people of our community have the right to feel safe and be treated equally and with respect and dignity regardless of their race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status and political affiliation;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors on behalf of its constituents members, do hereby state that the County reaffirms our commitment to a status of inclusion for all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic statuses and political affiliations; and be it further
RESOLVED, that on behalf of all residents of Columbia County we maintain our position that violence of any kind is unacceptable and condemn any act of aggression, hostility or violence against any member of our community based upon race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status or political affiliation; and be it further
RESOLVED, that certified copies of this resolution be forwarded to the County Attorney, and County Treasurer.
… [A]dopted by said Board of Supervisors on the 14th day of July 2021…