Note: Sen. Benning has weighed in with a comment. It’s in the Comments, but I’ve also added it to the end of this post.
So there’s this right-wing fringe organization called Vermont Stands Up which you’ve probably never heard of, and neither did I until a couple days ago. It’s a freedom-lovin’, vaccine-hatin’, government-shrinkin’, gang o’ rascals who say the most pressing issues facing Vermont are “the COVID crisis of the past two years, the ensuing mandates, sanctioned discrimination against the unvaccinated, and threats to informed consent and bodily autonomy.” I’m sure we all agree.
VSU also promises “to provide authoritative resources, guidance, and outlets of support for community action.” We’ll get to their idea of “authoritative resources” shortly, and you won’t want to miss it, but first…
The organization’s website has a page called Freedom Champions. It’s a long list of approved candidates. Many of these Champions have appeared in my “stealth conservative” list and others await their time in the spotlight. John Klar is on the list, naturally. Stephen Bellows, 9/11 truther and graphene eradicator. Lynn and Lloyd Dike, two of the rabid clan of Republican candidates in Addison County. Rebecca Pitre, who sees Drag Queen Story Hour as “an atrocity.” Rob North, who says we could end Lake Champlain pollution by unleashing the farmers. Nichole Loati, who believes the housing crisis could be solved by unleashing the landlords. To name just a few.
And there, right in the middle of this list of VSU-approved candidates, is Sen. Joe Benning, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor who’s often referred to in the press as a moderate. Not true; he’s very conservative, but he’s not a nut.
So how is it that he appears on this list of Vermont Stands Up-approved Freedom Champions? It can’t be just because he opposes mandatory motorcycle helmets.Continue reading