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Radicals appointed to serve on Vermont's new 'Truth' commission
Composite screenshots of YouTube videos from Label Machine Podcast and Tedx Talks(Mia Schultz, Melody Mackin, and Patrick Standen)

Radicals appointed to serve on Vermont's new 'Truth' commission

A select panel of Vermont citizens has appointed three radical Vermonters to serve on the state's new Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Last year, the state legislature voted to approve the creation of the commission, which is intended to address "instances of discrimination and harm caused by State laws and/or policies to specific marginalized communities in Vermont," especially those who were affected by a 1931 state law that legalized forced sterilization. In 2021, the state issued a formal apology for that law, which disproportionately affected "Indigenous people, French Canadians, mixed-race people, people with disabilities and low-income families," according to the VT Digger.

Republican Governor Phil Scott signed the bill into law last May, and many cheered that the TRC would go beyond apology for past wrongs toward proactive reparation. However, Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) warned that "this is a commission that could very well get out of control in a hurry, based on politics."

The biographies of the three individuals appointed to serve on the TRC suggest that Benning and others of like mind may be right. From the pool of applicants, the panel selected Mia Schultz, a California transplant who has spent the last two and a half years at the helm of a local NAACP chapter; Melody Mackin, a member of the Abenaki tribe who champions the rights of "plant nations"; and Patrick Standen, a disabilities studies philosopher who fantasizes about a global AI takeover.

Schultz spent much of her life in California but moved to Vermont in 2015. There, she quickly involved herself with the Rutland-area chapter of the NAACP. In December 2020, she was announced as the chapter's new president, a position that allowed her to continue her leftist activism.

On her LinkedIn profile, Schultz describes herself as a "Community Organizer, Advocate, Activist and Humanitarian working to dismantle systems of oppression." She also states that she is "deeply committed to social justice, equity, and inclusivity." She has been involved with shaping public school curricula, especially in regard to issues of racism, for nearly four years and served as an executive with the Town of Bennington Democratic Party from November 2019 to November 2021.

Mackin's background is not quite as politically active as Schultz's. However, Mackin is deeply involved in Atowi, an Abenaki tribal initiative intended to "affirm relationships to the Land and All of Our Relations, raise Native voices, and foster inclusion with understanding, in place" (emphasis added). In February 2022, she and a colleague made a presentation at the North Branch Nature Center about "the intersections between culture, language, place, and relationship with the plant nations from an Indigenous perspective." According to the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Mackin is passionate about "Abenaki Spirituality" and "the Abenaki cultural revitalization movement." Several months ago, she also spoke with the Green Mountain Club about the intersection of "Race and Leadership."

Weaving a thread through the 7 generations | Melody Walker Brook | TEDxStoweyoutu.be

Standen is the TRC's disabilities representative. He suffered a spinal cord injury as a teenager and in, the decades that followed, immersed himself in health care and medical ethics. He is a lecturer at the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences and at Saint Michael's College, where he teaches philosophy and ethics. In a Tedx Talk several years ago, he also extolled the "progressive" policies championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an avowed socialist.

About 14 years ago, the publication Philosophy Now asked various local academics the question "What would make the best society?" In response, Standen claimed that the best society would be one outside of human control.

"[P]erhaps humans are the central problem in our inability to realize a utopia," Standen claimed.

Though Standen then admitted that his own conclusion made him "uncomfortable" because it "smacks of misanthropy," he continued to explain that a technocratic takeover might be the world's best hope. "A technoutopia of machines could exemplify the very best of universal moral qualities such as courage, honesty, and, above all else, love," Standen insisted, because the "aggressive, self-centered and most destructive species," human beings, would no longer be in control.

The three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will serve three-year terms and earn $80,000 per year. The overall budget for the TRC is expected to be $750,000 in 2023 and grow to $1.3 million in 2024. The commission is scheduled to be disbanded two years later, in 2026.

"This is not meant to be a permanent fixture of state government," Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) said last year.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →