The anti-wind crowd got a couple of big laughs Tuesday at the fact that not one single person stood up at the Henry County Planning Commission to speak in favor of the ordinance on the table about wind turbines.
Could you imagine if someone had, though?
The closest anyone got to stepping out of line with the room of white shirts was when Henry County Council candidate Jeremiah Morrell said any wind project is doomed to fail because there aren’t enough votes on the council for wind companies to get a tax abatement.
The jeers that went up from the crowd!
Morrell’s comments weren’t even in favor of wind, just an opinion that “Wind is dead in Henry County.”
Imagine, then, if someone walked down the row, grabbed the microphone and told the Planning Commission, “Bring in the turbines.”
Who in their right mind would have been stupid enough to turn their backs on a packed courtroom of passionate anti-winders?
Sheriff’s deputies lined the courtroom Tuesday night to make sure no one tried taking a swing at the appointed officials at the front of the room.
I have no doubt they’d have immediately swooped in to protect any misguided soul who had the ridiculous notion that anyone in the audience would tolerate their pro-wind opinion.
But that’d sure be a harrowing experience: publicly supporting Henry County wind farms and then turning around and walking back through the icy daggers and bitter comments coming from the benches.
The anti-wind crowd believes they are on the side of truth and righteousness. That is a scary place to be if you say anything that doesn’t mesh with their agenda.
Of course no one spoke up in favor of wind. They’d have been tarred and feathered.
At least two times during the four hour meeting, people accused elected and appointed officials of either being on the wind company payroll or of at least being cozy enough with them to void their vote.
I don’t blame actual land lease holders from hiding behind their lawyers. It’s safer there.
I’m not going to call for civility, because American history shows that civil disobedience is actually an effective tool to get public officials to pay attention.
I’m specifically thinking of the non-violent sit-ins down in Mississippi that helped change the Jim Crow laws.
Another great example is the primary election results in Henry County that got anti-wind candidates put on the November ballot.
It’s not civil, however, to create an environment where people are afraid to speak out because they fear being shouted down and threatened and intimidated and bullied for disagreeing.
That’s no laughing matter.
Travis Weik is a reporter for The Courier-Times newspaper.
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