It wasn’t the most treacherous act in the history of politics. It wasn’t Brutus knifing Caesar in the back. It wasn’t Vidkun Quisling selling out Norway to the Nazis. But a majority of Rutland City aldermen gained a high place on that inglorious list with their non-decision on the proposed settlement of Syrian refugees in their fair city.
What did they do? Well, they weaseled their way around the issue from every available direction.
First, they voted narrowly not to hold a nonbinding referendum on the plan.
Then, they sent a letter to the state — a nonbinding letter with no legal force — refusing to support the settlement.
… we do not feel we are currently in a position to be able to provide a letter of support for the proposal to establish a new reception and placement program in Rutland.
Please note: they didn’t state their opposition. They withheld their support.
Good God in heaven, what a pack of schmoes.
Those who signed the letter clothed their decision in noble terms — “a compromise… that would help heal a divided city” and that would “open the door to reconciliation.”
Such complete bullshit, I can’t even.
Here’s what they really did. They refused to take a stand. They are trying to torpedo the setlement plan without getting their fingerprints on the body.
And they tied Mayor Chris Louras to a life raft and sidled him gently into the raging current.
What strikes elected officials with such sniveling fear? A sharply divided constituency, that’s what.
Opponents of the plan have worked themselves into a froth. But the city’s business community is either supportive or neutral. They want the economic boost the refugees would bring, and they are unconcerned with the wild fantasies about terrorism or tuberculosis that are circulating in conservative circles.
That’s how you produce political cowardice on such a scale: a division in your core constituency. And a situation where, if you side with the opponents, you look like racist Know-Nothings. There’s a lot of that going around in Vermont’s Second City.
Welcome to Rut Vegas, you huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Now please go away.