Megan Stearns: Margolis misses the mark

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Megan Stearns, of Hinesburg, who is the creative director for the Let’s Grow Kids campaign. These views are her own and do not represent Let’s Grow Kids.

Jon Margolis’ commentary is just more finger-pointing at what our president recently labeled the “alt-left” — and a lack of courage at standing up absolutely for what is morally right — because, as white nationalist defenders complain, where will it end? As a recent Onion article adroitly framed it, there seems to be some concern that removing monuments to figures who stood for the perpetuation of slavery is a slippery slope to ending racism.

Sorry, Mr. Margolis, but just as Trump used faulty logic to draw a comparison between Stonewall Jackson and Thomas Jefferson, equating neo-Nazism to hunting is totally missing the mark.

I am a vegetarian and animal rights activist who does not view hunters or meat-eaters as desiring to rid the face of the earth of Animalia. The premise of hunting is actually that it is far more humane and sustainable than other forms of procuring meat for ingestion, such as factory farming.

Neo-Nazism, on the other hand, inherently calls for genocide. It is built on hate and the elevation of self above all others in the most blind and depraved egoism imaginable; it is not practiced for the purpose of meeting a basic need.

As for Vermont’s “at will” employment, and the choice of Pizzeria Uno to dismiss Ryan Roy, I am 100 percent supportive. Those who choose to go into business become public figures, and businesses are judged by society for the moral values they project as proxies for their owners. Boycotts are a perfect example of this. Businesses are also praised for adopting stances that are good for the planet, like using fair trade and sustainable practices and for paying their employees a livable wage. This phenomenon occurs because businesses wield so much power and influence in our country. It is to everyone’s benefit that consumers serve as a checks and balances system when businesses misstep.

Margolis is worried that Roy might be able to tell we’re angry at him for publicly hating our family members, neighbors and friends. When Roy attended that rally, he made a very outspoken statement against equality. Was he concerned about retaining the ability to talk to those who disagree with him?

I am not currently an employer, but if I were, it would be paramount to me that my employees — whose income I am providing thanks to the financial risk I have assumed, and who are representatives of my business — espoused not my ideals, but ideals that are constructive to society and supportive of the path of progress necessary to our survival as a species, let alone what’s just plain benevolent and humane. I am currently a manager of employees, and when I imagine if it came to light that one of my direct reports identified as a neo-Nazi … how would our team continue to function effectively? It would now be abundantly evident that the supremacist employee not only disrespects those in the organization who don’t fit his bill of acceptance, but believes they don’t deserve freedom and/or life. Would it really be fair to expect those employees to continue to interact with the supremacist?

Furthermore, the implication that “liberals” are the only people who disagree with neo-Nazism is insulting to every Republican, independent and all else who do not so identify who have spoken out against the recent displays of hate. Being against white nationalism is not a display of politics. It’s a display of humanity.

The defense of white nationalism needs to stop. It should not be protected under the First Amendment — this is not what that amendment was written for. It is “fighting words: words which would likely make the person to whom they are addressed commit an act of violence,” which is expressly unprotected under the amendment. It is a scourge that threatens to undermine our entire country, which the Constitution was written to construct, guide and nurture. It is self-destructive and antithetical to the values America was founded upon.

Let’s all try to be a little more brave.

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  • SteveShonokins

    Maybe Meagan Stearns opinions don’t represent Let’s Grow Kids, but if she was the average citizen would this column appear here? You can’t be a public figure then say you don’t represent who you represent so you can use your clout for or against something.

    • Yes, her column would appear here. VTDigger publishes many commentaries from “average citizens.” We like to include the author’s town of residence and job and relevant affiliations because we think it gives readers a better understanding of the author and in the interest of transparency.

  • Eric Rosenbloom

    More straw man argument to justify virtual lynching.