VTGOP Platform is All the Dog Whistles

The good people — and the rest — of the Vermont Republican Party will gather this Saturday to hear from distinguished candidates like [checks notes] Gregory Thayer, Ericka Redic, and Gerald Malloy*, whoever he is. They’ll also consider the party’s draft platform which, as you might expect, is one long exercise in dog-whistling — using coded language to appeal to the far right while refraining from overt statements that couldn’t be countenanced by serious Republicans like Phil Scott, Joe Benning, and Christina Nolan.

*Malloy is challenging Nolan for the booby prize, I mean Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. He’s against mask and vaccine mandates, wants to Build the Wall, and opposes not only Roe v. Wade but also Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that established a right to contraception.

The platform ties the modern Republican Party to the Civil War and the ending of slavery, but fails to mention that the Republican Party ended its support for equal rights during the Ulysses S. Grant presidency and, since the days of Richard Nixon, has been the home party of American racism. It makes pleasant noises about environmentalism but slams the Global Warming Solutions Act and any other policy that might increase fossil fuel prices. It posits that the solution to health care affordability is — wait for it — giving people the ability to buy insurance across state lines and, yup, tort reform. It supports vouchers for K-12 education and parental access to all teaching materials, the favored code phrase for opposing critical race theory.

It also cites a “right to private property,” which is kind of not a thing? The Fifth Amendment establishes a limited right that bars the abrogation of property rights without due process or just compensation. (One wonders what the party’s position would be on Daniel Banyai.)

It also quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’ll give you one guess which quote.

That’s right, kids! “We take literally Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s challenge of a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Yep, the one and only quote Republicans use in their fakey “honoring” of Dr. King’s legacy. Problem is, by choosing this one quote (and maybe a carefully-plucked segment of the “I Have a Dream” speech), they miss out on so much of Dr. King’s work. And his real views on racism, capitalism and America itself.

Therefore, I humbly submit this selection of quotes that might be useful.

However difficult it is to hear, however shocking it is to hear, we’ve got to face the fact that America is a racist country.

The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.

the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

…armies of officials are clothed in uniform, invested with authority, armed with the instruments of violence and death and conditioned to believe that they can intimidate, main or kill Negroes with the same recklessness that once motivated the slaveowner.

There. Now the VTGOP has no excuse for trotting out the same old, same old quotation to express its performative devotion to Dr. King’s ideals. Here’s a handy guide to truly honoring Dr. King. Don’t trot out a stuffed and mounted version of the man; study his life and his writings as a whole. Then come back and tell me whether he would countenance the appropriation of his image — and nothing more than his image — by today’s Republican Party.

It’s tempting to show up for this Saturday’s event except for two things: (1) I’m sure they’d bar me at the door, since they’ve been routinely barring the media from party events for years, and (2) nothing would entice me to enter a meeting full of mouth-breathing Covid deniers. So I’ll be keeping my distance, thank you very much.


3 thoughts on “VTGOP Platform is All the Dog Whistles

  1. Walter Carpenter

    “nothing would entice me to enter a meeting full of mouth-breathing Covid deniers. So I’ll be keeping my distance, thank you very much.”

    Perhaps they’ll all get the covid. Then they can deny it. It’s this denial that’s allowing it to spread and mutate so nicely.


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