On March 17 Governor Mills signed into law a bill which will require the legislature to evaluate the racial impact of pending legislation. Our governor thanked Assistant House Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) for proposing the bill. “Understanding the impact of legislation on Maine’s historically disadvantaged populations,” Mills declared, “is important work as we seek to address inequalities and ensure equality of opportunity in our state.”

If this assertion is objectionable it’s because it does not go nearly far enough. Some of Maine’s more thoughtful and alert observers (e.g., Me) have long argued that this state’s legislature (and every other state’s, come to that) would benefit from establishing a permanent joint committee to anticipate the many ingenious ways citizens and businesses might devise to extract selfish advantages, both legal and illegal, from newly enacted laws.

Although it would seem absurd on the face of it, one commonly gets the impression that America’s legislators think the citizens live to obey new and old laws in exactly the way the lawmakers intend them to. I have no reliable polling data to support this opinion but I am nonetheless implacably convinced that the instinctive impulse of the huge majority of the population is to figure out ways to evade, negate, avoid, or exploit new laws as soon as they hear about them.

Even if only a minority act of such impulses that minority will undermine and negate a large part of the law’s intentions. Our legislatures will never anticipate every possible stratagem and swindle. They can’t; there are millions of citizens and only thousands and legislators and bureaucrats. Accurate anticipation will make the laws more effective.

Now getting back to the Talbot Ross initiative. She sees it as a tool “to interrupt systemic racism.” Here we see a problem that Janet Mills must be overlooking. The Mills family, the whole lot of them, has exercised a great deal of influence on Maine’s politics and policies for three generations.

If Maine has a system devised to advance racist goals, then Janet’s family must have played a role in devising it. A vital question might be clarified if we all hear whether she believes that our state exists to oppress racial minorities. Some of us are also curious to know whether she approves of this.

In the meantime Maine’s Legislative Council will be studying ways and means of preparing racial impact assessments. Its work is to be completed no later than November 1. A pilot project is to be implemented by December 1. If our legislators meet that deadline they will produce a thin rectangle of drivel.

The statement by House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) tells why we can expect this. “I see this as an opportunity to incorporate the best possible evidence into our lawmaking.” Ryan tell us. “This is a significant step toward advancing racial justice in Maine.”

It will be no such thing. It will be an insignificant expansion of our government’s power to control our lives and a happy hunting ground for political advantage. Talbot Ross, an assertive promoter of the Black Lives Matter project will be on hand to demand, demand, demand, more, more, more. She’s African-American. So she’s entitled to do that.

Saturday’s Portland Press Herald’s front page headline, “School board, human rights group clash over racism allegation,” hints at the difficulties the legislators will face. We read that “The South Portland School Board says the claim that some members are racist made at a Human Rights Commission meeting is categorically false.”

Commission vice president Margaret Brownlee doesn’t remember exactly what she said. It was along the lines of “the school board is [expletive deleted] racist” – said as the commission discussed an incident last year when a teacher was alleged to have used a racial slur. We can guess the deleted expletive with fair certainty, but the alleged slur could be almost anything, as the list of prohibited words seems to be constantly expanding.

Brownlee was so upset by stories of racist behavior that she could not control herself. According to Pedro Vazquez, Commission chair, “We were having an open, truthful conversation and some members spoke their truth very openly and vulnerably.” Some members of the board were racist some members of the commission asserted. They did not elaborate according to chairman Vazquez.

This seems fairly typical of the way America’s racial “dialogue” is conducted in this century. The accusers accuse and the defendants defend. It’s more than possible that some defendants find themselves wondering whether they have grounds for accusing back. But self-defense, in itself, appears now to be taken as evidence of guilt.

“White supremacists” charges, rarely heard of a decade ago, have been expanded and elaborated so energetically that we approach a point when a Caucasian condition will be taken as conclusive evidence in itself of supremacist convictions. Abram X Kendi is making a nice income with a book arguing that it’s not enough to hate racism. Failure to hate racists makes you a racist.

Will the members of South Portland’s school board even be allowed to defend themselves? It seems certain they are forbidden to attack Vazquez, Brownlee et al. as race-baiting bigots.

Is that even possible? Our legislative investigators might want to take a look at “Hate Crime Hoax. How The Left is Selling A Fake Race War” (2019) by Wilfred Reilly, Professor of Political Science at Kentucky State University. The book’s extensive end notes lead the reader back to the origins of every fraud he discusses.

It shouldn’t be relevant that Prof. Reilly is a “person of color” but it somehow seems worth mentioning. His research makes no mention of So. Portland but it does raise a more general question. Is it possible that some people volunteer for human rights commissions because they have personal grievances?

John Frary of Farmington, the GOP candidate for U.S. Congress in 2008, is a retired history professor, an emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of FraryHomeCompanion.com. He can be reached at [email protected].

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: