Writer admits unfair criticism of Benning, Billado

Since January 6, Vermont Republicans and conservatives have been debating what role, if any, Vermonters played in the riot at the Capitol. This opinion piece by H. Jay Eshelman is critical of some social media postings by another Vermonter. As with all opinion pieces published in Vermont Daily, the opinion expressed is that of the author and not necessarily that of Vermont Daily. Responses from any of the people mentioned below, either in comment or ‘letter to the editor’ format, will be published. We ask that any criticism be essentially constructive and focus on an individual’s behavior and statements and not on their character.

A good example of what we will not publish is this Facebook comment by Katheleen Chaney directed at Ellie Martin of Underhill, typical of many threats she has endured since returning from Washington DC after the January 6 rally: “You self righteous pig. How dare you? You should be drawn and quartered. Not only are you a danger to yourself but my community my elderly parents friends neighbors. The people I and my family have been staying home to protect.” – Editor

by H. Jay Eshelman

The VTGOP is in good hands.

These days, journeying down the middle of the political road can be as dangerous as traveling down one side of it or the other. Or as dangerous as not moving at all. That TNR and Vermont Daily are the last bastions of Vermont’s communication highway (i.e. publishers of a comment forum with minimal censorship) is still, in my opinion, praiseworthy. On the other hand, I’m becoming more cautious than ever to be given these lengths of rope with which to hang myself. This is especially the case today as even the road less traveled is lined with those who have been crucified by it.

I have been unfairly critical of State Sen. Joe Benning and, especially, VTGOP Chair Deb Billado. There is, indeed, a specific person who has been brought to my attention who deserves critical scrutiny. She may not be a VTGOP officer, but Ellie Martin was one of the organizers of Trump supporters who traveled to DC on January 6th. And she published at least two repugnant posts on Facebook that I saw republished on John Walters’ Vermont Political Observer. One post claimed ‘America needs a dictator….like President TRUMP…”. The other post showed a graphic of the Democrat logo embossed with a swastika. Martin’s other posts, at least as published by Mr. Walters, were, at worst, conspiracy theories which, despite much scrutiny, have not been disproven either.

Again, I find Martin’s two posts repugnant to the core. But what I find equally disgusting is the hypocrisy practiced by those who not only criticize Ms. Martin, as justified as that condemnation may be, but who fail on all occasions to look in their own mirror. Deb Billado is not one of them.

I expressed my appreciation for Deb Billado’s handling of this affair (edited for grammar) as follows.

Ms. Billado: There is no need for you to respond to my request for confirmation of certain FB posts. They have been exposed by the full force of John Walters’ Vermont Political Observer, who, like so many others, if not burning Hester Prynne (I mean Ellie Martin) at the stake for witchcraft, are forcing upon her, and those who dare associate with her, the Scarlet Letter R, for Republican.

Mr. Walters and I have had words in the past. In this episode Walters seems to be assuming the modern-day puritanical version of Hawthorne’s self-loathing Roger Chillingworth. Meanwhile, I must admit, I am struggling to assign my character in this sordid tale. Governor Bellingham perhaps. Bellingham’s sister-in-law, the witch, Mistress Hibbins. Or Hawthorne himself. Of course it would be safest for me to assume the role of Clifton Hillegass, first publisher of the now infamous Cliffs Notes. Nonetheless, I intend to publish a commentary on most everything I’ve learned in this regard, in the hope that others can learn from it as well.

Again, thank you for your openness and candor.

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6 replies »

  1. Post Script; I can’t recommend strongly enough that Chronicle readers check out Patrick Byrne’s account of the events leading up to and following the November election – as presented here on Vermont Chronicle. This particular article – election fraud investigation failed due to incompetence, not lack of evidence – is but one of several related accounts of Byrne’s experience. It is riviting, to say the least.

  2. I love Ellie Martin – She is an amazing person. I am a better person to know her. She is the epitome of integrity, honesty, family values, and love. She loves our Constitutional Republic USA. She stands for freedom. Ellie Martin is a fantastic mom. wife, friend and child of GOD. This woman inspires me. Ellie is the person who will vanquish evil. Oh my goodness Ellie is the freakin’ best! ALL the people on the Vermont bus went to Washington DC to support President Trump and more importantly our Constitutional Republic! They went with love in their hearts and flags in their hands. If you want to know the real story you need to speak to the source and know your neighbors. It may surprise you who was on the bus and what they did and who they stand for. They stand for YOU and your freedoms. Open your eyes people OPEN YOUR EYES. The Main Stream Media is not on your side. The Main Stream Media is telling you a lot of lies. Celebrate Freedom. Celebrate people like Ellie Martin who works every day to help retain our freedom and rights. She is 79 years old , people, WHAT do you think she is doing? She wants the same freedoms and the same Constitutional Republic to stand and be around for her children, grandchildren, and you too. LOOK around and open your eyes. If you want to know the truth then ask the people who know it. Ellie Martin knows the truth.

  3. I totally agree with revealvt regarding Ellie Martin. She is awesome, and one of the too few people still fighting for our freedom and our Constitution. Those two posts attributed to her in this article are so out of character that she would never have posted them. I felt I needed to go to Facebook to see what was really going on. What I found was that a couple of people have been trolling her, and I would not doubt that one of them, or someone else of their ilk, hacked into her account to post those things. It happens more often than most people realize. We need to stop believing the lies told by the mainstream media and start following real journalists to learn the truth. Guy Page is the only one I know, at least locally, who reports real news without bias.

    • Debbie, I for one, would like to know if the two FB posts I referenced, those listed on John Walter’s Vermont Political Observer, were posted by Ellie Martin. If they were not, if they were, indeed, the result of her account being hacked, I will query Mr. Walters directly. But I’d like to hear directly from Ms. Martin in that regard.


      Of course, the lesson to be learned here is, no matter how reprehensible what the ‘Left’ says and does, its never wise nor acceptable to respond in kind. Nothing would make me happier than to learn that Ms. Martin didn’t make those posts. OTOH, I will continue to be disappointed if she did.

  4. Ellie is a true believer in our Constitution and Bill of Rights…and Donald Trump is one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had.
    The American people have every right to to question this last election’s integrity….and take that to Washington. Granted, some folks (but not all, by far) got out of control. But when so many American patriots question the outcome, we have every right to do so.
    When lackeys like Phil Scott state we’re a bunch of racist “white supremists”…can he even prove such a thing.? Or was he just playing to a bunch of socialist bigots…
    We American hate Cancel Culture…something supported by the leftists…we believe All Lives Matter…not just one race.
    Ellie is champion…
    Main steam media? What a joke…just more rich white liberals pandering to a bunch of socialists..

  5. Any freedom-loving Vermonter who respects the Constitution should completely ignore the existence of both facebook and John Walters. I am certainly not arguing that they be “cancelled” by any active or nefarious means, simply ignored and considered IRRELEVANT in a society that values our Constitutional principles of free expression. Even the VTDigger had the good sense to show him the door in May 2020.

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