Montgomery County Government Releases “Equity Agenda” Proposal
By Dan Cuda
Perhaps little noticed on April 17th, was the Democrat-led Montgomery County government’s proposal to begin collecting data to implement an “Equity Agenda.” What is an “Equity Agenda?” The answer seems like something out of North Korea. The Equity Agenda appears to commit county government to engage in a future of identity politics in order to choose among groups it defines as privileged and underprivileged and defines these categories on the basis of race. A county press release dated 4/17/18 states that the agenda will allow “…examination of how a proposed [county government] action or decision will likely have an effect on different racial and ethnic groups.” In the same document, Takoma Park Democrat Mark Elrich says that “Using a racial equity lens informs and empowers County officials to make the best allocation of resources.” An accompanying analysis blames all the county inequalities on institutional and individual bias among unnamed members of the community, and states with the chilly authority of Big Brother, “Montgomery County Government is responsible for all its residents and is in a position to address both unconscious and overt bias.”
In this proposal, there is no discussion of individual differences among Montgomery County citizens, no recognition of the family’s role in personal achievement and no discussion about how Montgomery County citizens should define their government rather than the other way around. Instead, the proposed Equity Agenda might suggest at some future date a mass re-education of county residents in order to remove their “individual bias” to improve county equities. It certainly suggests that county government will use its taxing powers to remove income from one set of residents so that all may be more equal in wealth. On one hand, the document celebrates county diversity but then immediately turns towards eliminating differences by promoting equity.
However, there are some positive aspects to this confused proposal. It recognizes the harmful nature of too much language diversity in the county and the problems of limited English language proficiency. The county is improved and more united when residents converse in a single language. The proposal also seems to acknowledge the need to improve Montgomery County’s economy and increase the rate of business growth. This point of view is supported by recent economic studies, showing that the county is teetering on the brink of decline due to an anti-business and employment climate within its government. However, this proposal might lead one to believe that Montgomery County Government Democrats have the power to fully plan the future, completely reconfigure the county’s social institutions, and somehow build wealth. It’s an experiment similarly tried in North Korea with results now plain to all. It appears that the Democrats in Montgomery County Government may have unwittingly shared their vision for the future in order to help us all realize what is at stake in the November 2018 mid-term elections.
*For more on Council Vice President Navarro's and Councilmember Elrich's resolution to create an equity policy for Montgomery County Government see this announcement: The Council's New Policy Announcement.