by Guy Page
Okay, I admit it – the cartoon is a little over the top.
Most political cartoons are.
Like Tim Newcomb’s Jan. 19 Seven Days depiction of the three women seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress squabbling on a long car ride. Molly Gray in toddler’s car seat? Kesha Ram appearing – if only vaguely – ethnic? Becca Balint looking positively haggard?
Self-professed feminists/anti-agists/anti-racists emitted clouds of aghastation. How dare the male! Today, I couldn’t find the cartoon on the website. Not a good look for the fearless, independent Vermont press.
Good political cartoons fearlessly use hyperbole to tell the truth. Above, JB is telling his truth about the 6 pm, Wednesday hearing at the Vermont State House in which the House Human Services Committee will “listen to” Vermonters’ opinions about Proposition 5, which if approved would be the first ever amendment to the Vermont Constitution’s Chapter One, dealing with individual civil rights.
- The Human Services Committee Chair, Ann Pugh (depicted above), has received awards from Planned Parenthood PAC for her legislative advocacy. She was appointed to her current term as chair by House Speaker Jill Krowinski, former VP and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood. She and the overwhelming majority of the committee have an almost unbroken record of supporting legal abortion and opposing any limitations and restrictions.
- The number of people allowed to testify in-person on the State House floor will be severely limited because, you know, Covid social distancing. Testifiers who do get to look lawmakers in the eyes won’t get to see their expressions, because, you know, Covid masking policy. As of today, the advertised link to testify via Zoom goes to a page that says, “This Form Is Closed.”
Three years ago, 700 pro-life Vermonters packed the Vermont State House and grounds in opposition to an unrestricted abortion bill. This year, as our Legislature contemplates turning our Constitution into an anything-goes-abortion passport, only a fraction of that crowd will be allowed inside or even to testify via Zoom. They can, of course, watch passively online – something pro-Zoom-only legislators like to call “unprecedented access.”
Tomorrow night, Vermonters will not be heard in large numbers. Tomorrow night, even those who speak inside may wonder if they have truly been heard. In fact the real action may take place in the gatherings, speeches, prayers and vigils likely to occur outside.
But tomorrow night is just one skirmish in the war over enshrining unrestricted abortion in the Vermont Constitution. The real Day of Decision will be November 8, when Prop 5 likely goes before all Vermont voters in a statewide referendum. On the same day, every one of the legislators who will sit enmasked, and hopefully listening, tomorrow night will be up for re-election, if they so choose.
As Donald Trump could tell you, a lot can happen between January and November.