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.