By John Klar
Vermont’s Attorney General’s Office recently joined a prominent Democrat state senator to blame President Donald Trump for an increase in reported hate crimes in the Green Mountain State. Vermonters have previously endured charges of racism by their attorney general, some House members, and even their governor, Phil Scott.
The recent race-baiting by highly paid public officials concerned Senior Assistant Attorney General Julio A. Thompson (paid $109,636.80 in Vermonters’ tax dollars annually). Thompson objected to claims by Vermont law enforcement “that Vermont’s current spike in hate crimes is a result of clearer reporting criteria for police as well as a more active community.” Instead,
Thompson said the Attorney General’s Office does not believe better reporting standards are the reason hate crimes have been rising steadily since 2015. “I don’t think that difference in law enforcement reporting in Vermont would account for this kind of jump alone,” Thompson said.
Offering no evidence other than the FBI statistics, Thompson speculated that the root cause that alone could account for “this kind of jump” was Trump:
Thompson along with Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, both blame President Donald Trump and the political climate in Washington, D.C., for making hate-motivated crime tolerated throughout the country, and Vermont.
“Unfortunately, I think it is somewhat enhanced by D.C. politics and by social media, Sears said.
Vermonters are tiring of having their institutions, history, culture, and state police labeled racist based upon bald assertions drawn from meager evidence. To aggravate race relations in Vermont for political or ideological advantage would be despicable from any party, and so it would be expected that no public employee or representative would make such assertions without very persuasive evidence.
Yet, the same report relied upon by the assistant attorney general to blame the United States president for Vermont’s hate crimes also reflects a national drop in hate crimes for the same period, from 7,175 to 7,120. Morningconsult currently reports that the state with the lowest approval rating in the nation for Donald Trump is Vermont. Vermont voted for Barack Obama in both presidential races at some of the highest rates in the nation (below only Hawaii and D.C.). But the Assistant Attorney General and Democrat Sen. Sears now announce that Donald Trump has driven his Vermont supporters to act hatefully.
Many Vermonters view the same FBI Tables and see instead a spike in hate crimes being caused by government officials who label all white Vermonters as racist, who create committees and laws which say that Vermont is a White Supremacist culture, and seek to re-write textbooks to better portray white guilt. Many Vermonters view Black Lives Matter flags in their schools as an abuse of public trust and public property for a one-sided partisan attack on their culture. So too an Assistant AG pontificating about completely unsubstantiated connections between the sitting President and a “spike” in Vermont (from 34 to 45) of hate crimes — less than 1% of the national occurrences (.632%).
Joining Sears and Thompson in faulting Donald Trump for Vermont’s statistical blip was another familiar voice:
“Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it – with both his rhetoric and his policies,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a statement. “He’s given people across America the go-ahead to act on their worst instincts,” she added.
But has he? Reckless condemnation and fault attribution like that displayed by these “representatives” in Vermont is giving groups like Antifa and BLM the “go-ahead” with flimsy justifications for more hatred. Calling all Vermonters racist, and condemning their culture, may actually be causing backlash and resentment that is not attributable to Donald Trump but to TJ Donovan, Sen. Dick Sears, and others who agitate both “people of color” and whites in Vermont, for political grandstanding.
With growing racism and hate crimes, we all lose. Maybe Vermonters will look away from Donald Trump long enough to see the faces of those who are inflaming racial tensions in Vermont — those seeking a problem on which to impose their solution.
“Stakeholders” continue to pop up seeking money and laws to scrutinize Vermonters more closely:
Rep. Kevin Christie, D-White River Junction, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the few people of color in Vermont’s Legislature, said he has requested a bill to be drafted for the upcoming session that would call for a study of the state’s hate crime statutes.
But the ADL rates Vermont as possessing “fully inclusive” hate crime laws — what is it that this legislator has identified that is wrong with existing laws in Vermont? Who needs policy when one can create a bill, or a committee? — or, as here, a bill “that would call for a study,” of the hate-crime statutes created by past committees.
In Vermont, racial indignation has been emboldened by its RINO Governor, Phil Scott, who created a video opposing Donald Trump after the Charlottesville riots. In this video, the Governor condemns what he calls “equating” the free speech of haters with the protests of anti-haters:
There is no circumstance I can think of, where a President or any elected official should equate the hate speech of Nazis and white supremacists with the protests of Americans who confront them
But President Trump did not equate types of speech — he humanized both types of people. It is the Supreme Court of the United States that has equated types of speech, ruling that Nazis and White Supremacists have EQUAL First Amendment rights to “the Americans who confront them.” Governor Scott invoked the opposite of First Amendment protections. How will Vermont’s Governor draw the line between the “embers” of hate speech that he condemns, and those he encourages as justified?
So too, using the 2018 statistics of hate crimes in Vermont, Assistant Attorney General Thompson and Sen.Dick Sears must explain to Vermonters how they can discern between hate crimes caused by Donald Trump’s rhetoric, and their own inflammatory invective. Blaming Donald Trump will no longer serve.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.