Tag Archives: critical race theory

Hate Comes to the Capitol Plaza

Oh looky, the anti-critical race theory fanatics gathered last night at Montpelier’s Capitol Plaza Hotel! CRT, a purely academic construct understood by few — and by no one who’s taken it up as the latest cudgel in the culture wars — is apparently a front for Marxist indoctrination! Who knew???

This ignorance extravaganza was promoted by Vermont Grassroots, whose tag line is “Empowering Parents and Teachers.” Well, that’s the friendly mask on this angry face; the full motto is “Empowering Parents and Teachers By Exposing Marxism.” The rest of the two-day event was held at the Ignite Church in WIlliston, a notable outpost of far-right Christianity. Or, more accurately, a radical worldview masquerading as Christianity. It’s the kind of thing that’d have Jesus rolling in his grave if he was still there.

(Funny that they put a Montpelier event in the middle of a Williston soiree. I seem to recall that Ignite had a spot of trouble with a Burlington hotel canceling in the face of controversy. Did they have to go all the way to Montpelier to find a willing caterer?)

Vermont Grassroots was the organization behind the series of low-budget, local-talent-only meetings organized around the state last summer by Gregory Thayer, Rutland ideologue and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Apparently the group’s budget has increased because now they’re bringing in outside speakers.

Sadly, it’s too late to organize a protest in Montpelier. It’s not too late to let the Capitol Plaza know how you feel about profiting off hatred. However, there will be other opportunities for protest throughout the summer. Vermont Grassroots has planned a series of events designed to fan the flames of manufactured outrage.

And before anyone goes all First Amendment on me, just stop. These jackasses have every right to express their views. And the rest of us have every right to express our views about their views.

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VTGOP Chair Dog-Whistling With All His Breath

At times I feel sorry for Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont Republican Party, seen here on one of his seldom-watched YouTube thingies (posted 2/18, racked up 40 views since). But then he goes and opens his mouth, and the sympathy evaporates.

Dame has a staff of no one, and he’s got the thankless task of cosseting the Trumpites and the QAnon types without alienating the center and center-right voters necessary for electoral success. He carries out that delicate endeavor with all the grace of a rhinoceros on a high wire.

Take his reaction to Tuesday’s Town Meeting results, in which almost every right-wing fanatic lost their bid for local office. In an email to Seven Days, he claimed that the results had nothing to do with ideology; they were simply a matter of incumbent’s advantage.

Yeah, well, that might be true for races with actual incumbents, but it leaves out all the other contests that saw non-incumbent, non-extremist candidates absolutely mollywhop their far-right opponents. But I guess Dame has to find an explanation besides “Vermont voters are sickened by extremism.” That wouldn’t play well with the base.

He then went on to blame Emerge Vermont (!!!!!) for politicizing local elections.

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Mill River Dodges a Bullet, and Other Happy Tidings From Town Meeting Day — UPDATED with Rutland Results

It was a bad night for Town Meeting candidates who foam at the mouth over mask mandates and the imaginary evils of critical race theory, as VTDigger reports this morning. David Xavier Wallace and Chad Bushway got curbstomped in their bids for Winooski selectboard; likewise for the three Milton candidates who put out a batshit manifesto; Katie Parent was soundly rejected by Springfield voters; Arlington voters said a resounding “no” to former state trooper Luke Hall; likewise for St. Albans’ Keith Longmore and Kingdom East’s Mathew Johnson…

… and three anti-CRTers were turned back by voters in the Mill River Unified School District — by disconcertingly narrow margins. If a handful of votes had changed sides, the antis would have had a majority on the Mill River school board.

How narrow? Incumbent Liz Filskov beat Nick Flanders by 20 votes. Josh Squier turned back QAnon Jewelry Lady Ingrid Lepley by the same margin. And board chair Adrienne Raymond beat Kristine Billings by about 30 votes.

Yikes.

Double yikes with nuts on top.

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Dregs of the Ballot: Mill River Mafia

We take you now to the Mill River Unified School District, where a small number of very loud white people are trying to take over the school board. And they may do just that on Town Meeting Day. Voters should be aware of who’s on the ballot, because some of these people are stealth candidates hiding behind bland statements about quality education and transparency and parental involvement. I previously mentioned one of them: Ingrid Lepley, a QAnon believer whose online jewelry business used to offer a bunch of Q-inspired pieces before she partially scrubbed it upon launching her campaign. (And like many of these people, she refused interview requests from Seven Days and the Rutland Herald.)

For the last few years, these folks have been making life miserable for board members, school staff and anyone who tries to watch a meeting with their yammering about critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, and the alleged misbehavior of members who don’t buy their agenda.

This all started in 2020, when the board approved the flying of the Black Lives Matter flag outside Mill River Union High School. This raised the hackles of those who believe that racism doesn’t exist, and that it’s used as a pretext for social engineering by, uh, you know, educators and the elites, and what the heck, maybe George Soros as well. The BLM flag was the original trigger, but the disaffected have added a laundry list of allegations to their agenda.

The electoral landscape isn’t easy to wrap your head around because the district includes four towns (Clarendon, Shrewsbury, Tinmouth and Wallingford) that independently elect board members. But the bottom line is this: The Congregation of the Aggrieved currently hold four of the eleven seats, and could potentially net another three on Town Meeting Day. That’d give them a solid majority.

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Dregs of the Ballot: Katie Parent

This, ladies and germs, is Katie Parent, candidate for school board in Springfield, bragging about having “picked a fight against the district.”

Well, as long as you’ve got an open mind.

Parent has a conspiratorial view of critical race theory. She has posted messages on social media in support of the truckers’ convoy to Washington, D.C., which means she’s cool with closing down cities, being loud and obnoxious, harassing locals, and interfering with daily life. As you see above, she’s also identified herself as part of a closed Facebook group called “Vermont Against Excessive Quarantine.” So she covers the waterfront of far-right activism.

Funny thing, she doesn’t seem nearly so brave outside of her little right-wing bubbles. This week, Seven Days did a long and worthwhile story on far-right candidates for school and select boards, and Parent was one of several who did not answer requests for interviews. Braveheart!

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The Evidence of Things Not Seen

Ah, if only it were so

There is so much to say about the pair of dueling events that took place in Essex last Friday. The first was a cauldron of conservative outrage concerning Their Latest Bugaboo, critical race theory, about which they know nothing. The second was a counter-event across the road, featuring supporters of the school district’s anti-racism efforts.

There’s what it says about the Vermont Republican Party that its chair attended Hate Night. There’s the ideological connection to recent events in the Mill River school district, where conservative outrage has also reared its unsightly head. There’s how the event was covered: Badly by VTDigger, and with manufactured both-sidesism by Seven Days. There’s the complete unmasking of a prominent conservative “journalist,” and the rise of a new contender for Worst Lawmaker in Montpelier.

But let’s start with Hebrews 11:1. In the King James Version favored by many evangelicals, it says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This verse has multiple applications here.

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