By: Mark Glennon*
Despite national embarrassment from an initial incident earlier this month, many Oak Parkers are doubling down. They seem intent on making their town a national showcase for the manic intolerance of diversity of opinion into which identity politics have devolved.
Oak Park, a well-off Chicago suburb with a population of 52,000, has long history of genuine diversity and integration in which it justifiably took pride. But now an extreme approach to race and gender is on full display in Oak Park: unashamed intolerance, dishonesty, hypocrisy and hatred, all waged under the banner of “equity.”
It started at an early October Village Board meeting debating a statement on inclusion, particularly the term “system of oppression,” which some members thought might be interpreted as an unfair smear of the town’s police department.
That’s when Trustee Susan Buchanan let loose, telling the white males on the board to “shut up,” and much more. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it. Keep in mind that one of the targets of Buchanan’s comments was the mayor, Anan Abu-Taleb. He’s a Palestinian immigrant born in the Gaza Strip as the second oldest of 13 children and came to the Chicago area at the age of 18 to attend college. Among her comments:
You shouldn’t have an opinion on that. That is the point. Why do you have an opinion on equity? You’ve never experienced oppression so shut up…. Just stop… You are not oppressed…. Enough… You stop it! You are a white male. Your skin is light enough. Stop it.”
That video went viral on social media and got substantial coverage in local and national media – The Chicago Tribune, CBS Chicago, PJ Media, The Daily Caller, The Blaze and others.
You’d think criticism of Buchanan would be so overwhelming that the story would have ended there, perhaps along with Buchanan’s political career.
On the contrary. Buchanan’s supporters have come back screaming about white supremacy, terrorism and more. Though many Oak Parkers are critical of Trustee Buchanan, the loudest voices support her, go further and perhaps represent a majority. A petition is circulating not for Trustee Buchanan to resign but one of her opponents on the matter.
That’s Dan Moroney, who was among the trustees who questioned the wording of the original diversity statement. They’ve selected him as scapegoat for the bad press Oak Park got from Buchanan’s words and for the threats she says she and her family received.
The travesty they say Trustee Moroney committed was an appearance on a conservative radio show where he talked about the initial Buchanan outburst. It’s because of that appearance, many are saying, not Trustee Buchanan’s comments, that Oak Park was “targeted by white supremacists.” That’s why she was threatened and that’s why “terrorism” came to Oak Park, they tell us.
But Moroney’s interview on the talk show wasn’t until October 18! That’s long after all those national and local stories about Trustee Buchanan’s initial outburst were published and well after Trustee Buchanan reported she’d been threatened. The social media traffic was earlier, too. CBS Chicago had already reported the incident, which they initiated, not Moroney. The initial public meeting with Trustee Buchanan’s outburst, the video of which was posted by the village, was more than two weeks earlier on October 7.
And now we’ve had the latest village board meeting. An angry mob showed up last week to defend Trustee Buchanan and put their intolerance on full, public display. Clips of some of those who commented publicly are below, and the entire meeting is linked here.
Watch the comments yourself. Among them are a woman lecturing about listening skills to defend Trustee Buchanan’s order to “shut up.” Another says “trolling white supremacists” are threatening the values of the community. Yet another says Trustee Moroney chose not to distance himself from white supremacists and he needs to reject calls to violence (which he long ago did firmly) or resign. There’s something about Trustee Buchanan’s critics being “vile and Bret Kavanaugh-like,” whatever that means. And one white guy, not being facetious, says to loud applause, “I know I have to shut up. That is my responsibility as a white person in America.” White males’ opinions evidently are welcome so long as they agree with the mob.
Surely the saddest clip in that segment is the last one by somebody who stood up against the mob. The biggest applause of the night came when he said he and his family had decided to move. He said his decision was not because of the town’s commitment to diversity “but because of the groundswell of self-righteous citizens who are intolerant of anybody standing in their way.”
The talk show host they are referring to is Dan Proft of AM560. I’ve been on his show and he once interviewed me in depth.
He’s unapologetic, tough and frank, but he’s often focused on the particular hardship inflicted on minorities by Illinois’ failed government. The first time I was on his show, as best as I recall, was about Wirepoints’ initial work on the acute problems in Chicago’s south suburbs, which are heavily African-American. He has returned to that subject often.
Trustee Moroney’s appearance on Proft’s show was respectful, balanced and professional, a claim the mob at the town meeting laughed at. You can judge that interview for yourself here.
The local news source, OakPark.com, piled on with the mob. Its editor and publisher wrote, with no supporting facts, “Dan Proft is a right-wing conspiracy hack. He hosts a low-rated Chicago radio talk show that speaks mainly to white supremacy.” And if you talk to Proft, as Trustee Moroney did, then you’re part of that, too – as the mob sees things.
If you drive around Oak Park to see its nice architecture you’ll notice something else — lots of those “Hate Has No Home Here” yard signs. They have a Facebook page dedicated to that, too, loaded with pictures of the signs, to assure themselves and others of that truth.
Perhaps you’d like to ask them why their tolerance doesn’t extend to people with different opinions. Trustee Buchanan already gave her answer and her defenders are effectively saying the same thing.
Their answer is “Shut up.”
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.