Tag Archives: Doug DiSabito

All the Tropes, All the Dog Whistles

I am not bound by the journalistic tradition of staying away from political reporting while the polls are open, and there are a couple things I’m itching to write about: Whether Molly Gray is burning every available bridge in the desperate closing days of her campaign, and how Ted Kenney’s stand on substance abuse reveals him to be unqualified for the position he seeks.

But Gray and Kenney won’t be relevant much longer, and Kenney’s statement is only the second stupidest I’ve seen from a Vermont lawyer this week.

Number one with a (metaphorical) bullet is Grand Isle State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito’s letter depicting Burlington as a lawless hellhole with gunfights and stickups around every corner and no home safe from invasion. The letter he was so proud of that he posted it on Twitter. Good God.

I was 13 years old in 1967. Two years earlier, my family had moved from the placid provinces of western Michigan to a Detroit suburb. Then the ’67 riots happened.

It was an upscale burb, but we lived only seven miles away from the Detroit border. My mom kind of freaked out, believing (as many suburbanites did) that the angry hordes would tire of burning their own neighborhoods and storm en masse up Woodward Avenue, looting and trashing their way through White Folks World.

It didn’t happen, but a remnant of those days remained: a corner of our basement where my mom loaded up the shelves with nonperishable food. You know, to keep us fed in case the supermarkets were all destroyed, deliveries stopped coming, and bands of you-know-who were terrorizing the neighborhoods.

It was serious at the time and more than a little racist, but eventually it became a reserve pantry, a useful add-on to our tiny kitchen.

I see the rotten, fearful spirit of those days in DiSabito’s letter. It’s not pretty.

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