John Klar: Does Vermont really need a ‘declaration of inclusion’?

The theme of “being first” in the nation has a new twist for Vermont in its ill-considered plunge into social justice “theory.” The whole scheme has failed out the gate, wasting money and creating division, and increasing racist tensions in Vermont.

This is particularly true with the laughable “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) committees that have cropped up to slander our state. The common denominator of these committees is that they are often staffed by carpetbagging elites who know nothing of Vermont’s history or culture.

Over the past two years, these committees, along with local selectboards, have been busy adopting a Vermont “declaration of inclusion” statement. According to the website Vermont Declaration of Inclusion, “60 towns and cities, home to 40% of the population (256,332 Vermonters) have adopted the Declaration of Inclusion.”

John Klar

The idea for the declaration was concocted by two wealthy businessmen who moved to Vermont to ski and then got woke: Bob Harnish and Al Wakefield. The two collaborated to promote the declaration of inclusion statewide — town by town — and envisioned it being a new “first” for Vermont.

“Vermont has many firsts, including being the first state to approve civil unions, and I would like to see us be a leader again,” Harnish told Seven Days in spring 2021. “I am very empathetic toward people of minority groups that just have such a battle in life every day. Just seeing these Asian people being knocked down, it’s just absolutely disgusting.”

Have Asian people been mistreated in Vermont? Where do Asian people — who far outperform even white Americans in education and wealth accumulation — fit into Vermont’s social justice ideology? When unqualified people launch into virtue-signaling, all logic dissipates.

What is absolutely disgusting about DEI committees and such “declarations” is this constant condemning of Vermonters for the “sin” of whiteness. Vermont is mostly white, in part, because it did not participate in slavery.

Harnish and Wakefield drafted a document that proves not that Vermont is racist, but that they are — against whites. As was reported:

The document he drafted with Harnish says that Vermont has a reputation as the whitest state in the country, and has systemic racism in its history and in its present practices.

“I would love to have the State of Vermont say, ‘This is who we are. We welcome you,’” said Wakefield. “‘Bring your talents, bring your families.’”

Vermont has always been a welcoming place. These two men have lived here long enough to know. According to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns “Declaration of Inclusion” website:

Al Wakefield has been a resident of Vermont for over 35 years, most of that in Mendon. As many others have done, Al and his family came to the community to ski, enjoy the great outdoors, and the more relaxed life that Vermont affords. … Bob Harnish moved to Vermont in 1964 in response to the lure of skiing after college and a three-year tour in the Air Force. He and his wife, Breda, purchased Summit Lodge, which they later sold to buy the Cortina Inn.

Skiing is an environmentally destructive, climate-changing recreational activity — shouldn’t it be banned to save the planet? But Bob and Al will ski along, while Vermonters can’t afford heating oil.

According to the VLCT website, the goal of the “declaration” is the following:

[To] Highlight the fact that we as Vermonters are not fully aware of the systemic racism that is present in our majority “white” society. … The United States as a whole is the most diverse country on earth and the most successful by almost any measure. And, it is no coincidence that Burlington and Chittenden county have the most dynamic economy in Vermont, as well as the most diverse population. Diversity brings creativity that leads to solutions and a richer life for all. Historically Vermont has been, and still is, one of the least diverse states, but our children will be living in a more diverse community of people in this country.

Vermonters now pay government officials to fabricate these tales of “systemic racism.” Actually, Chittenden thrives at the expense of the rural farms that have been steadily destroyed and once were the backbone of our economy — but apparently it is because they lack diversity! More, what of preserving that wonderful agrarian culture from the creep of wealth and development that these people all represent?

DEI committees are a farce and will fail in one of two ways: quickly or slowly. The sooner, the better.

Facts count, and so does government infliction of false ideologies against innocent citizens. This racial hatred is getting old, and will never survive in the Green Mountains.

Perhaps “being first” is not a good policy guide. Perhaps becoming educated first is a better one.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “John Klar: Does Vermont really need a ‘declaration of inclusion’?

  1. How many of us get stopped on the street time after time for no reason? Friends of mine back in the hippy days used to, but as soon as they shaved and started wearing unpatched and un-tie-dyed clothes, the interventions stopped. Not so with a Black acquaintance who lived in Brattleboro. Shave and dress anyway he could, he got stopped regularly, while white guys there with his build (like a refrigerator) didn’t even have to shave to avoid stops. My acquaintance was clearly beyond the pale. Had the cops recognized him as one of the community, none of it would have happened. He needed a statement of inclusion.

    Ditto with one of the local Asian refugee children, who used to get picked on by the high school bully in the halls. Nothing happened to the bully. And the same with that state rep in Bennington, hounded out of office by local racists acting with impunity.

    Communities need to set standards by which all races are treated equitably, and a statement of inclusion is a standard.

    • Yes, good thing you aren’t the former POTUS and have to deal with multiple impeachments, investigations and overall obstruction while at the same time producing the best economy the nation has seen in years, lowest black unemployment in decades and no involvement in a new war in decades.

      Granted it’s not the same thing as being racially profiled, but you have to acknowledge that occurs because of a deep desire by the BLM folks to burn, loot and murder.

      As above, so below.

  2. So now after 35 years they can make their move as the voting rolls have increased with the new influx of plague refugees from the progressive cities. They bring their progressive woke politics and infect the local governments. It all started to snowball 25 years ago with Howard Dean and Act 60, a political gang rape which has literally destroyed the Vermont way of life. Politics changed from reactive to proactive, an extremely dangerous for of government.

    I’ve always thought that each town should have it’s own “Committee to Anticipate Everything”, where the select board could appoint local wingnuts, dingbats and agitators. The CAE would have one responsibility: To prepare an annual report on what the town should do.

    The report would be presented and graciously accepted at the annual Town meeting, the CAE members thanked for their hard work and then tabled until next year.

    Whaddya think? It could work.

  3. I’m late to this discussion, but wondering how the ‘Declaration of Inclusion’ applies to individuals like Mbyayenge Matuta, famous for “100 police involvements” in Burlington. Perhaps, Chittenden County state prosecutor Sarah George knows the answer.

  4. “Carpetbagging elites” now comprise a power majority of the Statehouse delegations and our DC representatives. Their priority is virtue signaling and feel-good legislation. Vermont is very far along in the process of Massachusification and New Jersification.

  5. For the record, I write here rhetorically about skiing: I do not advocate its elimination. It is hypocrisy for climate warriors to tax Vermonters driving to work or heating their homes in the name of “saving the planet,” while ignoring recreational pollution from tourism — and not just skiing.

  6. Equity implies equality in outcomes. Im all for equality in opportunities but equality in outcomes is simply forced socialism. If people know they will be propped up or held back due to social equity mandates, where will they find the drive to succeed? To be individualistic? To be accountable for their actions? If we’re legislating equity, law makers better be prepared to take a significant pay cut and give up their positions of power to those of different colors to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. But they wont. Because thats not what its really about. Its about controlling all of us.

    • No, “equity does not imply “equality in outcomes.” The hearer infers that; there’s a big difference between “implies” and “infers.”

      Equity is by definition “impartiality;” in other words, equality in access. Once access is possible, a person’s character, potential, talents and values determine the outcome for good or for ill.

  7. The “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” committees are a waste of time and money, and a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” statements are not needed in Vermont. It just virtual signaling.

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