“No, they’re gonna send the terrorists to Vermont … Leahy and Sanders want to give them Lazy Boys … Give ’em a daylong ski pass.”
Such was the derision recently offered by Bill O’Reilly on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” that is often reserved for Vermont on that show. In response, I’d like to offer an open letter from this conservative seventh-generation Vermonter.
Dear Mr. O’Reilly,
The original Green Mountain Boys would have loved for the president to send the Gitmo detainees to our frosty little state. Back in the day, when men such as they could handle the sword, the scythe, or the pen. Over strong drink and over the din of boisterous conversation in the Catamount Tavern, the likes of Ethan Allen, Gershom Beach, and Remember Baker would have pondered the fate of these international men of terror. The Boys took a dim view of those who would do our liberty harm. And they wouldn’t spare such people the tar and feathers.
The Vermonters who participated in the Civil War — yes, the very ones Major General John Sedgwick so admired that he commanded, “Put the Vermonters ahead” — they’d have eagerly accepted the opportunity to greet these thugs, pugs, and mugs.
General Wing and his fellow Vermonters of the 43rd Infantry Division, who took the Munda Airfield away from the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, would have dealt with our foreign menace as swiftly and unflinchingly as they dealt with their foreign menace.
Our current leaders in Montpelier, our representatives in Washington, and much of the citizenry in our beautiful state have either forgotten the values of our state’s unique forefathers, or they missed them as they were reared and schooled in a flatter state. They like to focus on statistics that apparently show that only 8 percent of Gitmo detainees are members of al-Qaida, and only 73 percent are a “real threat.” I’m not sure how that was figured, if maybe the detainees gave a show of hands, but the heroes of Vermont lore would have said, fine, send us the 73 percent. Or the 8 percent. We’ll deal with them.
Unfortunately, Mr. O’Reilly, you are largely right. Today, our leaders in Vermont lack courage. And they don’t see that it’s not about revenge or blood thirst. It’s not about physical courage, although our brave Vermonters serving in Iraq and Afghanistan possess that kind. It’s about moral courage, intellectual courage, political courage — courage of the pen, if not of the sword.
Our leaders lack the courage to hold judicial retention votes of the Legislature in the open. If, Mr. O’Reilly, we could be more sure of a competent bench, we wouldn’t need your Jessica’s Law with its mandatory minimums.
Our leaders lack the courage to uphold the right of children to have both a mother and a father. So they embrace civil unions, now possibly gay marriage.
Our leaders lack the courage to give harassment and bullying victims the opportunity for public school choice. They lack the courage to stand up to the education establishment on any matters of school quality.
You already get the picture, Mr. O’Reilly. Or you wouldn’t be so focused on our tiny state. I don’t know if you care about us in the way that Kennedy cared about East Berlin. Or if you’re just using us as a prop. But you keep fighting your fight. Some of us here in Vermont will keep fighting the fight also.
From somewhere inside the battle lines in Vermont,
Cross posted at Big Bag of Wind.