I wasn’t planning on writing anything further on the topic(s), beyond the social media posts I have already made.
However, after seeing the disparagement and invectives hurled in the direction of Ms. Sabina Taj and Ms. Ainy Haider-Shah, I felt compelled to pen this article.
Let me approach this from a couple angles.
On a personal level, I believe that Ms. Haider-Shah and Ms. Taj are honorable, ethical, and civic-minded residents of Howard County; each with a genuine interest in furthering the common good through public service.
On a political level, I don’t agree with either of them on multiple issues. However, when I see baseless claims that these women are part of some nefarious schemes, claims that are simultaneously risible and infuriating, I can’t leave those wild-eyed statements unaddressed.
We live in a time when the spectre of creeping authoritarianism is just an “election” or two away. Of course, how valid will many elections be in states adopting truly draconian voter suppression laws or engaging in practices which have the same effect? Within that environment, we need people of the caliber of Ms. Taj and Ms. Haider-Shah, people who are willing to step up and, through their public service, help restore integrity to a damaged society.
For having opinions, they are called “divisive.” For being willing to spend hours upon hours on local boards and commissions that serve as linkages between local government and the governed, time away from their families and professional obligations, their motives are impugned.
Many of the attacks are coming from those who supposedly share their values in terms of how government can best serve the people. I would call upon these “cut-and-paste” testimony scribblers operating in the dark, especially those who call themselves Democrats, to reflect upon their words and actions. Yes, I know these are non-partisan boards and commissions, and yes, I know some will be all too eager to point this out or twist my words. And yes, I will be accused of carrying water for the “Establishment” but in a time when the Big Crunch threatens our small d-democracy, I want folks – even neoliberals – who I can trust and who I know put the people’s interests first and foremost in such (relatively) small yet important roles.
I wholeheartedly support the confirmations of Ms. Haider-Shah to the Compensation Review Commission and Ms. Taj to the Board of Library Trustees.