Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deborah Bucknam, a St. Johnsbury-based attorney and the vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party.
On May 9, Kevin Ellis wrote an open letter to Republicans in VTDigger. His commentary echoes leftists’ blinkered view of Republicans and, more disturbingly, their dystopian view of our republic. Here is my response.
Democrats and Progressives: The Vermont GOP is in great shape. The people running the GOP are collectively the best I have known in my long years with the party. To a man and woman, the leadership and staff are a rare commodity in the political arena: These folks have no personal agendas, and seamlessly work together for Vermonters. We are happy warriors for our party and our state.
In addition, the Vermont GOP is witnessing over-the-top enthusiasm from Vermonters who are sick of Democrats’ and Progressives’ antediluvian tribalism and radical authoritarianism. Cancel culture by elitist scolds is not winning with Vermonters.
Vermonters have always been a tolerant and “live and let live” bunch, but the left has decided Vermonters — except themselves — are ignorant, childish, and in need of care and supervision.
Republicans, on the other hand, believe our fellow Vermonters are adults, and we trust Vermonters to make the right decisions for themselves and their families.
Cutting taxes? Yes. Because we believe that Vermonters know how to spend money far more wisely than the leftist politicians whose projects often make no sense except as an employment agency for those who strive for lucrative government careers, or payback to corporate and union donors.
Mr. Ellis said that his children’s generation viewed “efforts to strangle government as strange.” Wow. Young people are energetic, adventurous, freedom-loving and, most importantly, rebellious. It would be strange indeed if young people long to comply with the dictates of a multitrillion-dollar government behemoth with its hydra-headed stranglehold on virtually every aspect of our lives. Republicans champion individual rights and the wonderful diversity of every human soul. That is the wave of the future, not old-style oppressive government that has crushed humanity for thousands of years.
And, yes, the GOP does champion families. We believe that families know best how to raise, teach and support their children. Leftists, on the other hand, believe families are too stupid to know what is best for their children; that only Father Government knows best. We have seen the result: The pandemic has demonstrated how big government, aligned with big public unions, have thrown kids under the school bus by following, not the science, but the well-being of the teachers’ unions, resulting in long-term damage to our kids’ education and mental health.
Vermont Republicans, in contrast, strongly support parental choice for their children’s education, a policy also supported by the vast majority of marginalized communities. All Vermonters want the same freedom to choose the best education for their children that the elites now enjoy.
In his letter, Mr. Ellis claims Republicans are nervous. Hmm. Then why is the left frantically trying to silence dissent? Calling people white supremacists — the newest slur in the left’s long catalog of slurs against people who disagree with them — is the classic way to shut down dissent.
The latest example of this technique is the left’s attacks on Republicans’ supporting voter integrity measures. More than a decade ago, Democrats also supported voter integrity, with former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker issuing a report supporting such measures. Now the left, instead of having a discussion about the best way to ensure all voters have easy access to the ballot box while ensuring election integrity, slur Republicans by calling their proposals racist.
These attacks are proof positive of the left’s nervousness over the public’s view of their policies — for if the left had confidence in their policies, they would not need to slander their opponents. As Gov. Scott said in his second inaugural address: “We can, and will, debate on policy — and that’s OK—but let’s focus on the merits of our ideas.” The left has rejected that wise counsel.
Finally, unlike the left, which requires its members to submit to the latest orthodoxy, Republicans reject purging their members and enforcing conformity. The Vermont Republican Party boasts members from every race, creed, ethnic background and sexual orientation. We are proud of our diversity.
Mr. Ellis mentioned Sen. Randy Brock and Gov. Scott as men he approves as Republican leaders. I agree. Both men are talented, intelligent and passionate and both have Vermonters’ best interest at heart. As a result, they have accomplished much for our state.
I am also proud of the thousands of Republicans in this state who are also talented, intelligent and passionate about Vermont and its people. We do not always agree 100%, but that is a valuable trait for a political party in a democracy.
So, Democrats and Progressives: The Vermont Republican Party is a vibrant, diverse party, and a party which is on the move to make historic gains in the next election and beyond.