A friend who migrated to Vermont from NYC, with whom I’ve regrettably fallen out of touch, was very fond of referring to Vermont as “the Disney attraction that thinks it’s a state.”
It’s an apt metaphor. Vermont is a beautiful place, and life here is free of of many of the ills that affect major urban areas. Our politics are the most progressive in the country, a Republican governor notwithstanding. But just like any Disney attraction, not all is sweetness and light. I heard about the underbelly of Disney attractions from people who had worn the Chip and Dale and Mickey costumes. I found out about the underbelly of Vermont politics by its descending on me like a ton of bricks.
One of the most disappointing things about my experience of bureaucratic injustice in Vermont is that the people who are generally known as “the good guys” were the ones who lied, violated due process, and otherwise turned blind eyes and deaf ears to corruption in their own houses, on their own watch.
My run-in was specifically with the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State, Deborah Markowitz, presents herself as a liberal, if not progressive, Democrat. Yet neither she nor the people who report to her have ever attended to any part of my case in a timely, professional and thorough manner, and instead have let conflicts of interest run roughshod over me and who knows how many other people.
Here’s just a snippet from the appeal decision in my case that attests to those conflicts of interest. Anytime a judge (the “reviewing officer” in the document excerpt below) uses an exclamation point in a legal decision, then you can usually figure something pretty egregious has happened. And indeed, when other people have heard that the member of the investigative team who recommended I be prosecuted also served as the state’s “expert witness” against me, the reactions have been more on the order of “Good God!” and “Holy sh*t!”
Here’s the snippet. It’s scanned from a now well-worn copy, so I apologize for the fuzziness:
Hmmm–it doesn’t show up well, so here’s the transcription of the meaty part:”…the only ‘expert’ testifying on the violation of standards for psychologists was Mary Wilmuth [sic]. She had been a member of the investigative team. To the reviewing officer that does bring up questions regarding ‘fundamental fairness.’ How objective is a so-called expert witness when that witness was on the investigating team which brought the original charges in the first place? That is quite unusual, to say the least!”
Ahhhh…imagine my delight and relief when I read that, after years of going through a hellish, Kafkaesque experience–someone finally “got it!”
And that’s the point of this particular post: perseverance furthers. Winning against the odds is not only possible, it’s necessary.
More later. Peace.