LaMarche: Faux progressives are wrong on crime

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George and recalled San Francisco prosecutor Chesa Boudin are both supported by progressive billionaire George Soros. Will George face a “recall” of her own in the August 9 primary for her support of failed law enforcement policies? Graphic credit Kolby LaMarche

by Kolby LaMarche

The recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin reflects the backlash to progressive approach to crime and justice reform. It also highlights a stark divide, frustration, and concern among the electorate who support progressive reform but reject the assumption that it must come at the expense of public safety. Now, in Chittenden County, if we reclaim progressivism, we have an opportunity to reject failed policies while enacting meaningful and long-lasting change.

Kolby LaMarche

As a progressive Democrat, I care deeply about justice, law enforcement accountability, institutional reforms, and safe and unified communities. However, in Burlington, so-called progressive reforms have sprung up only to backfire on neighbors and harm the most vulnerable in our community. As I wrote about previously, concrete change comes from building consensus, holding space for all voices of the community, and making policy happen through due process, not performative politics.

Unfortunately, the faux avatars of progressivism grossly neglected the people and have instead branded themselves the sole agents of change. Their record of ineffective policies and the lingering concerns of neighbors reveals the opposite. A failed attempt to ‘defund the police’ by the City Council landed Burlington in a violent crime crisis, causing officers to leave in droves and starving Burlington of public safety resources. More importantly, State’s Attorney Sarah George is paving the way for crime to run rampant while leaving victims unheard and without justice. However, the recent grass-roots victory in San Francisco gives hope to neighbors concerned about crime.

In dismissing changing realities, the faux-progressives are quick to assert that those concerned with crime are simply old white folks. This doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The former chairwoman of the San Francisco Democratic Party and a member of the AAPI community, Mary Jung, led the recall effort of Boudin. In fact, according to the City Journal, “Asian-Americans played a key role in ousting Boudin.” This may be due to Boudin’s refusal to prosecute violent attacks toward the AAPI community as hate crimes, instead opting for lesser charges for the sake of his faux-progressive agenda. This version of progressivism isn’t empathetic or anti-racist. Its purveyors are actively harming BIPOC by promoting untested policies which seek to quell the very injustices and struggles they inadvertently perpetuate. It has become a cycle of performative and reckless action followed by detrimental consequences that benefit absolutely no one.

Boudin failed to crack down on violent crime against the AAPI community while claiming to champion racial justice and progressive reform. Other cases are closer to home.

Abdullah Sall, a Muslim immigrant from Liberia, was employed as an administrative assistant in the State’s Attorney’s office under previous office holder and former VT attorney general T.J Donovan. Soon after Sarah George took office in January of 2017, Sall was fired. A report released by the Vermont Human Rights Commission later found that George discriminated against Sall “based on his national origin, race and color.” While George highlighted that Sall’s work performance had been worsening, so too had the performance of other white employees. The commission noted that “no one with White privilege, no matter how educated or how well-meaning is immune from implicit bias or committing an unwitting discriminatory act.” Instead of holding space for Sall’s lived experience and apologizing for the bias which she so clearly held against him, George doubled down and vowed to continue fighting Sall.

Faux-progressives in power are creating self-inflicted crises, then covering up their mistakes by finger-wagging and grandstanding behind the shield of racial justice.

Crime affects everyone, and we feel the harm radiate throughout communities. Someone you may know could have been accosted in downtown Burlington. A store you frequent may have seen a rise in thefts. Or you may have heard gunshots near your home – I sure have.

Balancing reform and public safety is difficult. Leadership must adapt to and with the climate of crime; they must ensure the safety of the public foremost and work collaboratively to achieve change. To meet the safety challenges of our time, we require leadership that will bring justice to victims and seek rehabilitation where appropriate to re-incorporate struggling folks into our society.

While I am concerned about the state of progressive politics and patiently await a shift in its direction, I believe we can still do what is most important for our democracy: bring neighbors together. Hope remains so long as we can build an inclusive coalition for change.

Our communities need and deserve attention. We must demand an approach to progressive change that is both responsive and accountable.

The author is a former Burlington Republican. Incumbent Sarah George is facing a challenge in the August 9 Democratic primary for Chittenden County State’s Attorney.

Categories: Commentary

12 replies »

  1. Re: “Our communities need and deserve attention. We must demand an approach to progressive change that is both responsive and accountable.”

    What ‘approach to progressive change’? Responsive? Accountable? What does that mean?

    This is more nonsensical mumbo-jumbo from someone who obviously knows little of what they speak… or else is trying to sell snake oil to the uniformed masses.

  2. In a Fox News article today about violent crime in Baltimore (more than 300 homicides in each of the last 7 years), former (Black) congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik, R-Md had this to say in reference to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby: “”We have a Black state’s attorney allowing Black repeat violent offenders to terrorize Black communities,”. Liberal-progressive approaches to punishment for criminals may be well intentioned, but in the end the public pays a steep price for “feel good” justice.

  3. So a former Republican want’s to “reclaim progressivism” and “build an inclusive coalition for change” and is now calling himself a progressive democrat?

    You know what’s certainly changing?

    Kolby’s politics like the WIND!

    I’m not even sure that this article has a point, so I’ll just correct the one thing that’s a pet peeve of mine.

    Kolby, we don’t live in a democracy, it’s a Constitutional Republic. It’s a very important distinction.

    • Brian, I hope you are well. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.

      You’re not wrong. It seems strange that a Republican could switch to quite the opposite. I can tell you a few things, though: my love for this country in undeterred. I believe in the strength of the American people and our ability to take bold progressive action. Furthermore, I believe that to maintain a healthy and stable democracy, evolution of values and policy goals must occur.

      I like to think of my changing political mindset as that evolution which keeps the gears of our democracy turning. I am open-minded, and am able to freely speak with those I disagree with, learning from their experience. I thought I could change the Republican Party. I thought I could bring about an evolution to the somewhat archaic beliefs of the party. I admit I was naive and very, very wrong.

      So, although you may disagree with my politics, it is clear we have a problem. First step is listening to the people, recognizing the problem, and coming together to find solutions that work. Not just talk. Action.


      • I don’t know what your story was with the Republican party (I have my issues as well) but how do you not see the disingenuousness of the Progressive Democrats? In that way they are sometimes the same, but the ideology behind both is very different and that’s why I can’t understand how you could switch from one to another. The reality of it is best stated as a joke:

        “If you’re not a Democrat when you’re young you don’t have a heart, but if you’re not a Republican when you’re older you don’t have a brain”. As funny as that is, it’s true. It takes a decade or two to really realize that they are lying to you.

        It does seem that we agree that there is a problem and a need for evolution of values (IMO to bring some of the originals back) and that the beliefs of both parties in Vermont need some change (IMO one WAY more than the other). However as a Republican who leans conservative and almost Libertarian overall, I DO NOT BELIEVE that it’s Government that can fix values or society. It’s not their job in fact I would say that it’s the Democrats meddling that has made it worse and the Republicans that went along with it allowed it to happen. That’s one of my largest problems with the Democrats they want to constantly fix issues that they shouldn’t have anything to do with, and they then use those issues to pull on your heartstrings (hence why you wouldn’t have a heart as a young person). I believe the Government should set society up for success and prosperity and security then let society work itself out. After all we now know that poverty and government overreach are two of the largest causes of scourges in society.

        I still would like to know the point of the article, and I would like to help you recognize the problem. You sound like a genuine guy with a bit of a head on your shoulders how would you not understand that progressivism leads to socialism and that leads to communism? How would you not know that it’s Marxism to varying degrees? How do you not know that it’s the issues listed on the homepage of the party you choose to champion ( that are at the heart of the destruction of the American way and the “democracy” that you hold so dear? How could you love this country and support that ideology? This isn’t a dig, it’s a serious question.

        It’s not a democracy and for good reason. This is one of the reasons that it has stayed the America that you believe in and grew up in entitled to your freedom to have this conversation and to defend yourself, and should be researched and understood properly.

  4. One thing we don’t need or want here in Vermont is Democratic Liberal Progressives. I suggest you move to California, Oregon, State of Washington or such!

  5. I can certainly understand the labeling change from this author (from Republican to Progressive Democrat) given the D/P automatic election lever pulling by the masses here in Vermont. However you have aligned yourself with neither liberals or classic progressives. Today’s “progressives” are
    illiberal and regressive. They are left wing totalitarians. They have succeeded in controlling the public square and labeling anybody to their right as “right wing extremists.” This includes even moderates such as classical liberals/libertarians. In doing so, they attack classical liberal values such as individual freedom and rights. They promote fear by tacitly supporting Violence and Mob rule. Group identity becomes paramount. Non-racism becomes racism. Only certain lives matter. Any dissent from this dogma is ruthlessly crushed by cancel culture. As a classical liberal/libertarian myself, I am appalled by this harsh reality – the increase in intolerance and the loss of respect for the sanctity and dignity of the individual. And I fear what it is enabling, the rise of greater state power and tyranny as experienced in the last century. These are the people you have aligned yourself with.

    • Lawrence,

      I am not a totalitarian. I am not in favor of mob-rule. I do not believe that certain lives are worth less or more than others. These are all blanket statements which cannot be justly attributed to me. Yes, I am a progressive. I am also a Democrat. However scary this may seem to you, I ask you to at least consider my words and hopes for the future.

      The progressives you mention do not share the same vision of progress for our nation and communities that I do. In fact, this article serves as an exhibit as to why and how I disagree with the faux-progress approach to governance. Progressives, real progressives, should believe in protecting liberties, approaching the topic of racism with collaborative solutions not accusatory statements which divide us, and spearheading economic reforms to ensure every person has the essentials they need to live a healthy and sustainable life. You, Lawrence, may not agree with my beliefs, but we can both agree that the current progressive approach is hurting our communities, economy, and families. It is time we change the course of our nation by taking the responsibility of governance seriously.


  6. The Truth of the matter is the two party system in the USA is corrupted by a global criminal syndicate. As you see events unfolding globally, masses of people are protesting the globalist agenda. In the USA, there are too many citizens gaslighting themselves believing one or another party is to blame. The agenda is to pit US citizens against one another to create civil war. United we stand, divided we fall. As long as the USA is distracted by a phony, false, fake narrative that we have fair elections, the Country continues to fail on all levels. Meanwhile, the criminal syndicate is enriching themselves beyond measure. No amount of op-eds will change that fact. Either wake up to reality or continue on with the mind-numbing narratives given to you by your Masters.

  7. It’s difficult to believe this person was ever a republican. You can’t go from a republican mindset to progressive democrat, whatever that is. Bernie tried that label when he ran for president and thankfully it didn’t work. This young man is horribly confused if he thinks progressives, are the answer. If he thinks by joining them, he will be able to change their mission he is wasting his breath. 20 years of progressive/democrat rule in Vermont has destroyed our state. RINOs, DEMS and PROGS have expanded our government and corrupted Vermont along with all their social justice non-profit organizations that flood the state with progressive out of state money, along with the uninformed voters who support them. This is an important election this year. Continue the progressive misery or vote for a new direction to save what’s left of our once beautiful state.

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