By Guy Page
Seven Days, Vermont’s left-leaning weekly newspaper, and John Walters, Vermont’s favorite over-the-top socialist blogger, both reported on the Friday May 28 meeting of parents and community members concerned about Critical Race Theory in the equity curriculum of the Essex-Westford School District.
What they wrote tells much about their own views and prejudices.
Seven Days thrives while other newspapers are failing because it does such a good job of publishing news and opinion that appeals to its core audience – the social and political progressives who believe they control the Vermont State House, the education system, and the media. Like Jezebel of old, these readers’ ascent to power has made them increasingly intolerant of critics. Still, 7D publisher Paula Routly knows almost a third of Vermonters are conservatives. She knows they read news and patronize advertisers, too. The 7D news coverage, while rarely ‘just the facts ma’am’ bias-free, often will factually present all sides.
As is the case with its June 2 story, “Essex Becomes a Battlefield in the Public School Culture Wars.” 7D correctly reported that I led the 100+ audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why this is newsworthy, I don’t know – even the woke Vermont Legislature still stands, faces Old Glory, and says the Pledge of Allegiance. (Perhaps more notable is that in the House of Representatives press gallery, only one reporter regularly stands and joins them – me.)
7D also covered a pro-CRT meeting being held in a church across the street. Good for them for covering both sides! However, the choice of descriptive verbs betrayed a bias. No-one in the pro-CRT meeting ever “snickered” at comments, as they are said to have done in the meeting I attended. Instead they “chuckled” – a much friendlier response.
Your favorite uncle chuckles. Your idiot nephew snickers.
7D’s understated dislike of CRT critics was in stark contrast to Walters’ observations.
Let the reader understand: among the Vermont media, John Walters is the #1 self-appointed hall monitor. (This is especially true now that 7D columnist Dave Gram has retired, for health reasons, and we wish him all the best.) If Vermont were a Progressive institution of learning – and it is – that teacher’s aide who stands in the hallway and insists that every student walk in a STRAIGHT ROW, NO TALKING, and visits woe on the independent soul? John Walters.
For example, he calls Sen. Russ Ingalls the “new contender for Worst Lawmaker in Montpelier” because Ingalls told the crowd: “The Democrats believe that all police are racist, and they also believe that nobody should be in jail and that the vast majority of the ones that are incarcerated are because of no fault of their own.”
According to Hall Monitor Walters, Ingalls is way out of line. But…but…didn’t Sen. Kesha Ram (D-Chittenden) say ‘there is no such thing as a good officer?’ And hasn’t Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said people don’t belong in prison? Hasn’t the Legislature decided our racist criminal justice system discriminates against people of color? Isn’t there legislation pushing ‘decarceration’?
Walters goes on to hit the usual leftist media talking points: CRT critics are hatemongering racists. Conservative journalists aren’t journalists at all. Yadayadayada.
Wouldn’t it be great if Walters, Seven Days and the rest of the Vermont media would welcome – even lead! – an honest, open discussion about how to overcome racism in our criminal justice and educational systems.
That kind of willingness is lacking in our media and in the Legislature. Walters argues that CRT is misunderstood by its critics. If that’s true, it’s because not much learning happens whenever a critic like Essex school board member Liz Cady gets stonewalled by the district and is threatened with ridiculous ‘conflict of interest’ complaints from CRT activists. Or when a school principal like Windsor’s Tiffany Riley gets fired for questioning BLM.
As a man at the ‘other’ meeting across the street said, “The elephant in the room is fear.” That’s true but perhaps not how he meant it. Elected officials (except souls like Cady and Ingalls who have counted the cost) fear ostracism. No-one likes being the only kid eating alone in the cafeteria. Concerned parents worry the school will somehow ‘take it out on my kid.’ Yet as parents meet together and stand together as they did Friday night, and as brave officials like Cady and Ingalls become the rule and not the exception, the grip of fear will weaken.
“The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine