The new Rutland City Mayor and Board of Alderman have begun the process of pushing back on negative press surrounding the recent Town Meeting Day elections. The media coverage, which has gone national, has at times characterized the city’s recent vote as driven by intolerance or even outright even racism, in light of election results widely seen as a referendum on ousted-Mayor Louras’s efforts to open the city to Syrian refugees.
Statements made on internet comment pages, the Facebook page of the anti-immigrant “Rutland First” organization, as well as that organization’s welcoming of notorious anti-Muslim firebrands such as Philip Haney and James Simpson have fed a persistent perception that the resistance to opening the city to families fleeing the war in Syria is often based on anti-Muslim or anti-Arab prejudice.
The new administration, in an effort to turn the page on the issue and respond to accusations of bigotry, has just adopted a new city motto which officials feel will help set the record straight on the issue.
“Quidam amici optimi mei sunt Musulmanus,” which translates from Latin to read “Some of my best friends are Muslim,” will now be emblazoned on the seal of the city. Officials are confident this change should be enough to put an end to the negative publicity once and for all.