Gov. Phil Scott on civility and respect

The following is a transcript of remarks Gov. Phil Scott made on civility and respect during his weekly press conference. The governor said he is concerned by incidents at youth sporting events over the past several months and he emphasized the need for role models.

Good afternoon. I want to start today by addressing some concerning incidents we’ve seen over the past few months at youth sporting events, from spectators in the stands using racial slurs at players of color, to the tragic violence in Alburgh recently.

Gov. Phil Scott

Now, I understand the passion surrounding sports, but it’s clear we have a problem, and we should not tolerate the hate. And it’s not just at these events, or sporting events in general, or unique to Vermont.

I believe it’s a symptom of a much deeper problem, where there’s far too much anger, and a lack of respect in our society. We’re constantly being divided into camps, whether it’s politics, religion, race, or social issues. Everything has turned into “us versus them.”

Too many want to stoke fear — raise the temperature — which can sometimes lead to violence.

We see politicians convince their supporters that the other side is the “enemy,” and some in the national media choose to ramp up conflicts to get more views, sell more papers, or increase their ratings. And when both politicians and media are successful with those strategies, they end up pitting neighbors against neighbors.

Unfortunately, over the past several years, we’re seeing more and more of that build up, and boil over. It leads to big problems, like storming the capitol, but also on a smaller scale, like what happened in Alburgh.

None of us should find this acceptable, and all of us have an obligation to tone down the rhetoric, recognize the humanity in everyone, including those we disagree with, and just be better role models for our kids.

The idea that a brawl would break out amongst adults, in front of their kids at a middle school basketball game, is just plain sad.

Our kids watch us every single day and many of them want to be just like us. What message are we sending, what are we teaching them about how to handle disagreements, when this is what they see?

I think we should all ask ourselves what we can we do in our everyday lives to help bring down the temperature a bit and be a better human being.

Maybe it’s deciding not to wade into that keyboard feud on social media with someone you’ve never met. Maybe instead of flipping off the driver who cut you off, you let it go, and reflect on the fact that you’ve probably made a mistake or two behind the wheel as well.

We also have a responsibly in this building too, from public servants, to lobbyists, and those who report on it. Not every disagreement has to be a “battle” or a “fight.”

I think almost everyone here just wants to make Vermont a better place. So let’s use that as the starting point.

Now, reasonable people can disagree on the issues. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. But it doesn’t mean we’re not trying to do what we think is best, and it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t care about the wellbeing of others. We just have different thoughts and approaches on how to get there.

It all comes down to respect and civility, and doing our part to calm things down a bit when tensions are high, and things get heated. At the end of the day, whether you’re a parent, co-worker, public servant, or leader in any capacity, the things we say and do carry much more weight than we might think.

So before acting, just remember — regardless of age — we’re all role models for someone, and we all need to play our part. And it’s never too late to be a better person.

9 thoughts on “Gov. Phil Scott on civility and respect

  1. Governor Phil Scott, please step up to the podium and recant your comments inferring Vermonters are inherently racist, homophobic, and unwilling to play Russian roulette with their health based on misinformation (Press Release, April 5, 2021) You paint Vermonters with that wide-brush of pandering gaslighting. You created a State Department, a Task Force, and countless other useless boards all on the behalf of the alphabet soup equity groups on factless, baseless, rhetoric. Your mouth keeps moving, but I can’t believe a word that you are saying. Perhaps call that CCP hotline on your desk for further instructions.

  2. Says the supporter of joke biden the 2nd most divisive person in the country after the kenyan cuck obama. The adults are just trying to live up to the standards your schools are teaching, you know the whole white supremacy thing ones..

  3. Says the person who called Trump supporters white supremacists and still brings up “storming the capital” with no mention of the blm / antifa riots that lasted the whole summer of 2020, billions in property damages and around 40 deaths. What a hypocrite.

    We’ll start with you, Phil.

  4. You did exactly what you’re speaking about when, with little information and no facts, you rushed to judgement on social media regarding 06 Jan.

    Nothing worse than a hypocrite, and that label fits you perfectly.

  5. People might be more civil if they could afford their taxes, groceries, vt inspection repairs required, clean heat taxes, forced paid family leave cost, sales tax, town sales tax, VT income tax, etc. etc. etc. etc.. You pissed millions upon millions of Covid money down the drain and now….people are angry Phil and the state of the State of Vermont is mostly to blame.

  6. Glad Gov, you are giving some attention to the lack of civility in our communities.
    I hope you will have the opportunity to speak directly to partisan journalist, the media in general and politicians about the damage they are doing with their personal politics and rhetoric. The Feather murder comes to mind.

    Most of my life I voted with the Dems, now I think they are so extremely and socially destructive that I haven’t voted for them for a number of years now.

    I want to take this opportunity to speak about the murder of Feather almost a year ago. I was deeply disturbed by how you, and the ever-present attention seeker Ram Hinsdale fueled the misinformation you speak of. You both rushed to the woke judgment that says bullies were responsible for the murder. You are not well informed on the subject. For one thing Feather’s murder has not been deemed a hate-crime yet, you and Rams Hinsdale rushed to blame it on bullies. So far, I believe nothing, other than Feather is dead, about the (mis)information the public has received.
    I’ve heard too many young de-transitioners speak about the aggressive behaviors of the LGBTQ community and how they seek to get young confused kids to believe they are trans, when in fact, they say, well into the process, they discovered they were gay, not trans. How much of that pain was caused by the LGBTQ community and not bullies — or maybe more accurately, who actually are the bullies? It was sickening how much air time WCAX gave the Pride Center.

    There should be no law created that doesn’t provide legal representation for children and from the Pride Center, as in guardian ad litem. Too many parents are getting off on using their children to promote themselves as woke. I’ve witnessed it myself. This stuff is extremely scary and so aren’t the majority Dems.

  7. Good news Phil, the affordable heat standard will certainly “turn the heat down” for most Vermonters, at the least the most vulnerable.

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