Editor’s note: This commentary is by Tom Licata, a resident of Burlington.
Where’s Vermont’s pint-sized attorney general when you need him? Maybe commiserating with Burlington’s pint-sized mayor, not over their ‘white-fragility,’ but over their ‘height-fragility’?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly makes racism illegal. It states: “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of … or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
How ironic those last four words. The state of Vermont would look more like Castro’s Cuba without the aid of the Federal Reserve’s printing press. But I digress.
Vermont’s latest foray into racist activities came to light when Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger announced on March 15 that he would not be appointing Tyeastia Green — Burlington’s director of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (a department and term that alone violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964) — but instead would be appointing Darren Springer, general manager of the Burlington Electric Department, to oversee a consultant’s review of the Burlington Police Department. Weinberger reversed course two days later.
The outcry was immediate. During a meeting of the Burlington City Council’s Public Safety Committee and the Police Commission, it was said that removing Green, an individual who is black, and appointing Springer, an individual who is white, was, in the words of police commissioner Melo Grant, “really beyond the pale.” Oh, if George Orwell were still alive.
Weinberger tried to defend his position of appointing Springer over Green, saying his objective was to appoint someone to the job who would “be seen as neutral and not bringing pre-existing positions to the report.” It’s a defendable position, as Green had been heavily involved in the racist-spat between racist-activists and the Burlington Police Department, while Springer had been largely out of this loop.
Among the many racist statements regarding Weinberger’s decision came from his own campaign treasurer and local activist, CD Mattison, an individual who is black, and who had contemplated running against Weinberger in this past mayor’s race. Mattison made this racist statement: “What I did warn against was putting a white man in charge of this portion, and what it was saying.”
And then there was this racist statement from State Sen. Kesha Ram: “Weinberger has announced that he will replace Green with Darren Springer, the white male Director of the Burlington Electric Department.” And another from Llu Mulvaney-Stanak, a local political organizer who worked against Weinberger’s recent election: “The process by which you have led, by who you have listened to and who you have not listened to presents a pattern of white voices.”
Perhaps the most damning — and revealing of statements — came from Burlington City Councilor Jack Hanson: “I completely disagree with this idea that rather than having a racial equity lens, we should have a neutral lens. … The goal here isn’t to be neutral.”
Ponder that last sentence: “The goal here isn’t to be neutral.” Translation: The scales of justice aren’t blind. Justice prefers black.
Our whole justice system is built on the idea of equality, both before the law and in nature. That is, all human beings are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”
Again, where’s Vermont’s attorney general in upholding both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the very basis of why “governments are instituted”? Perhaps the attorney general — and all Vermont politicians and media elite co-conspirators — should heed these words: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
Something far more sinister and insidious is going on here. This will be the subject of my next column.