A recent Vermont initiative seeks Vermont taxpayers’ money to create a bank overseen by black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC), to grant money to BIPOC people (even if they just moved to Vermont last week) to buy houses and farms “in every town in Vermont.” These expensive utopian designs are justified by “Vermont’s history of systemic racism.”
Some Vermont Republicans fashioned an alternative bill that would loan money to BIPOC Vermont residents in regenerative farming. This recognizes farming and the environment rather than the singularity race, while employing conciliatory (and historically accurate) language. Instead of invoking “systemic racism” as grounds, this bill offered the more uniting language that its goals be achieved in recognition of the historic socio-economic disparities arising from racism, while acknowledging Vermont’s proud heritage of tolerance toward BIPOC, and intolerance toward prejudice and slavery.
Representative Anne Donahue responded in an email to Vermont Republicans:
“the intro to one of the bills references ‘Vermont’s proud heritage of tolerance toward BIPOC.’ ….I do not think mere ‘tolerance toward BIPOC’ would be a ‘proud history,’ nor would I find it a matter of pride today to say that I was merely tolerant of those in the BIPOC community.”
This is condemnation of Vermont’s heritage -- and its people -- for “mere tolerance.” That is, our forebears (almost universally white subsistence farmers), being open, fair, and “tolerant” towards BIPOC wasn’t enough. This dovetails perfectly with Critical Race Theory, which seeks to eliminate the Constitution in favor of something “more tolerant,” but never defined.
Vermont has the narrowest wealth disparity between whites and blacks in the nation. Only Hawaii and D.C voted at higher rates than Vermonters for Barack Obama. Only Vermont can boast that blacks are more likely than whites to be college-educated. Vermont was first to ban slavery; first to graduate a black man from college; first (and only) to elect a black man to a state legislature before the Civil War.
Would Anne have done more than Vermont’s 1790 settlers, using the ideology she embraces today?:
-- a principal who complained that BLM was too aggressive was fired.
-- a BLM flag was painted at the Vermont State House as “government speech.” Competing messages were prohibited and villified, the City Mayor stating “I'm proud that we painted Black Lives Matter on the street, ...at the same time believing that we can hold ourselves to a higher standard than where we're at right now as Americans.”
-- rejecting other views, one City Councillor proclaimed: “I don't think there's any center with racism[.] ... I'm not interested in meeting somebody in the center, as a sign of unity, if they don't believe Black Lives Matter[.]”
-- a State Trooper was suspended without pay for facebook comments supporting D.C. protesters.
-- a town manager was compelled to apologize for her “intolerable” remark that “All lives matter.”
-- Antifa targets Vermonters with doxxing.
Today’s outrageous intolerance should make us praise our forebears more loudly! Instead, conservative articles recounting favorable statistics are blocked because they “impl[y] a denial of systemic racism.” (Yes - that’s the point!).
Concurrently, the Left in Vermont has waged a calculated misinformation campaign labeling Vermont systemically racist by manipulating incarceration statistics during a fentanyl crisis.
Representative Donahue’s email recites: “The definition of tolerance includes ‘the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.’ (emphasis added.) To tolerate means to ‘allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.’” This is precisely the definition conservatives desire when their opinions demur from the Black Lives Matter flag.
How can legislators swear an oath to the Constitution and then seek to supplant its clear standards? How is Vermont systemically racist? Are Vermonters permitted to express facts that reflect positively on their past? Isn’t distributing CARES funds based solely upon race the definition of systemic racism?
Vermonters want answers, not silencing via “mere tolerance.”
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