In Vermont, liberal demonstrators are permitted by government agencies to occupy public spaces, block traffic, organize political rallies, and paint one-sided political messages on public property, while the rest of the citizenry is under "mandate" to limit social gatherings, prohibited even from holding traditional weddings or funerals. Many businesses are closed for noncompliance with COVID mandates — some permanently — yet Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters remain exempt from social gathering restrictions.
This is the "slide-rule of law," enforced by Vermont's "progressive" public servants. Free speech is afforded to liberal extremists, but not to anyone who might take issue with their violent, hateful rhetoric: when Vermont citizens organized a "Support the Police" rally, they were silenced by BLM anti-protesters — and the police did not intervene.
Numerous Vermont schools fly BLM flags. Governor Phil Scott has openly told BLM protesters that COVID rules won't be enforced against them. The Montpelier City Council has endorsed the painting of "Black Lives Matter" in front of the Vermont State House as "government speech" and refused to permit any additional messaging.
For weeks, hundreds of (mostly white) BLM protesters have encamped in Burlington's Battery Park, far exceeding the governor's executive orders for public gatherings. Unconcerned about COVID violations, the ultra-progressive Burlington City Council instead mulled an ordinance exempting protesters from anti-camping laws.
Burlington's Mayor Miro Weinberger asserted that public safety requires compliance with existing public camping laws. In retaliation, the protesters blocked traffic and marched to the mayor's residence:
They blocked portions of Main Street twice during their march and laid [sic] in the street in front of the mayor's personal residence while a speaker recited the names of Black Americans killed by police[.] ... The names of the dead were also displayed on coordinated cardboard signs, each scrawled in dripping red strokes[.] ... [O]range-vested volunteers stepped across Main Street and rerouted vehicles without police assistance.
Citing complaints of late-night noise and limited public sanitation, the mayor stated:
"We understand civil disobedience and the important role that protests have played throughout the country's history to advance Black lives," Weinberger wrote,..."....We want, and need, to be a partner in that fight with you, not a hindrance. However, the City must also do what it can to ensure safety for all our residents, and apply our ordinances and standards fairly to all parties."
Many Vermont schools and municipal boards are ignorant of basic constitutional requirements to "apply laws fairly to all parties." They are ignorant also of the BLM message. For instance: considering increased attacks against police, do Vermont's public officials endorse the following statements of Burlington Vermont BLM?
Policing is inherently violent and we will not achieve collective liberation or healing by reforming a system rooted in oppression. Police are not an appropriate resource in schools, social work, or community building[.] ...
Police and prisons exist to protect the profit and property of business, not the prosperity of our communities. Not to protect people or public safety[.] ...
Don't forget: This nation, this state, and their police, do not have some higher moral authority to commit violence — they are just given power by the government. We, the people, determine what is moral and what is right, and it's been proven time & time again that we can't trust state powers to make ethical decisions for us.
In this bizarre mutilation of historic principles, the police are labeled evil, violence against others is encouraged, and the Constitution is immoral; the police must be removed, and instead, unnamed, unaccountable individuals will install themselves — as judge, jury, and Taliban-like enforcers — in lieu of the Rule of Law. Thus, they are exempt from gathering restrictions, and they block or control traffic, stop others from protesting, or interfere with arrests.
Among BLM Burlington's demands:
WE DEMAND the decriminalization of all non–violent "crimes" and cutting current sentences for all crimes in half.
WE DEMAND no more police workshops or visits to schools and the immediate removal of all School Resource Officers.
We DEMAND diverting 80% of funds from police departments to permanently end homelessness and provide educational funding for…. free school breakfasts & lunches, technological infrastructure, and the transition to proficiency based grading, lower class sizes, and decolonized education.
This is a policy list that citizens in a democracy could take to their elected representatives, to institute by public discussion and vote. Instead, this lawless inversion of civilized legal structures (i.e., anarchy) reveals the alternative being proposed — a Legislature will not determine criminal sentences; this mob will. The police will not control street traffic; this mob will. There is no need for judges, for there is no appeal: all demands must be fulfilled or there will be violence. No discussion or demurring permitted. Is this what a "non-systemically racist" society looks like?
More shocking, this "movement" is being integrated into Vermont government, schools, and public messaging: Vermonters who challenge this are silenced with the slide-rule of law.
Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of Pixabay public domain images.