A timely outbreak of morality that might just pay off

This is a good week to be a Vermonter. While Donald Trump and many of his followers are acting like sore winners and planning the conservative transformation of our national government, expressions of tolerance are springing up all over official Vermont.

They’re doing the right thing at a critical moment. I’m often cynical about Vermont exceptionalism*, but it’s times like this that remind me that it can, indeed, be a special place.

*Having once, ahem, entitled a post “Kill Vermont Exceptionalism.”

Also, hey, bonus: if we become known as a haven against intolerance, our economy and our population may get a needed boost thanks to an influx of people who experience fear or intolerance in other states.

In no particular order:

— Governor Shumiln and Governor-elect Phil Scott issue a joint statement “of concern and defiance in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.” Full credit to Scott for taking a stand against intolerance and in support of “refugee groups, health centers, immigrant rights activists and schools.”

“We/I thought it was important to show, whether it was the current governor or the incoming governor, Democrat or Republican, that we’re unified on the issue of protecting civil rights,” Scott said.

Couldn’t ask for more than that. Plus, it’s one sign that he wants to govern from the center and be a Governor for all Vermonters. It’s only one, but it’s a good one.

— Attorney General-elect TJ Donovan says protecting immigrants is “a priority to me,” and he’s “prepared to stand up to the federal government.”

“I’m already thinking and reaching out to folks about how we respond to this issue. But this is going to be a defining moment, not just for our state, but I think [for] our country. And we all have to be prepared.”

— Rutland Mayor Chris Louras reaffirms his commitment to resettling Syrian refugees, assuming Trump doesn’t put up a metaphorical wall around the Statue of Liberty. Per Seven Days’ Mark Davis, the initial group of refugees is expected to arrive by sometime in January.

“All of us are continuing as if there’s been no change,” Louras, a Republican-turned-independent, said. “We’ve got no indications that the New Americans will not be arriving. We’re absolutely cognizant of the fact that things could change, but it’s not impacting things [now].”

Louras was heartened by the fact that Trump got only 38 percent of the vote in Rutland. That surprised me; given the furor over resettlement and the Rutland area’s growing Republicanism, the Trump vote says to me that the opposition to Louras’ plan is more like a small noisy group than a broad, community-wide movement.

— Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says he wants to make Burlington a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants, even though Trump has said he will strip all federal funding from cities that protect immigrants from deportation.

Which is a dick move on his part, but let us continue.

… I want to make it abundantly clear that our intention is to keep following the practices that we have as a city for many years. And those practices are that we do not ask about immigration status when we are going about the business of providing municipal services, when we are doing our police work.

Our President-elect may be intent on building walls everywhere he can see, but official Vermont is having none of it. In these days full of intolerant, ignorant, and downright ridiculous pronouncements from our new overlords, it’s refreshing to see such unanimity and openness among Vermont’s political leaders.

Plus, like I said, people see Vermont as a welcoming place, maybe some of them will move here and help ease our looming demographic crisis.


8 thoughts on “A timely outbreak of morality that might just pay off

  1. walter carpenter

    Maybe Trump will kick us out of the union because we’re constantly going against his wishes. Now that would be nice:)

  2. Norm Etkind

    “people see Vermont as a welcoming place, maybe some of them will move here and help ease our looming demographic crisis”
    Perhaps there should be a marketing campaign – – “Welcome to Bernieland”
    Points – –
    – – we hear a lot about trouble filling quality and high tech jobs – – tout job availability.
    – – Bernie’s enormous popularity with Vermont voters, better than any other senator.(cite % of the votes his last election).
    – – Escape from lands dominated by followers of the Trumpeter.
    – – We have a little over 1400 days before the next presidential election – – Vermont is a great place to begin planning to ensure we have a viable candidate (and a political party) that people actually want to vote for.

    Sure could be a way to address both the need for employers to fill some job openings and to plug the demographic hole.

  3. Robert Maynard

    “… Donald Trump and many of his followers are acting like sore winners and planning the conservative transformation of our national government,”


    Donald Trump only represents conservatism in the traditional European sense. Remember Reagan’s quote:

    “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

    Some of us opposed Trump because he represents the very opposite of what genuine American style conservatism is supposed to be about. We conservatarians may now be an exinct species. That being said, I am with you 100% on pushing pack against immigration restriction, which was a beef that the Declaration of Independence had against the British roayal government:

    “He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, …”

    Is it not conserving the American tradition to oppose such assaults on liberty?

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      You’re right,e except that’s not how the vast majority of conservatives have acted this year. They’ve abandoned principle in favor of winning. That’s true of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and personal-liberty conservatives.

  4. Norm Etkind

    Hi – – I’m wondering if you received my comment – – I don’t see it posted.

    Thanks – – and good luck with your new position.




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