Updated: Nov 5, 2020
So many things happened today but I’m going to focus on one incident.
On Monday, (Sept 14), we did an email campaign where we emailed the bulk of the Vermont newspapers and news outlets and advised them of the 3,000+ Vermonters who don’t agree with the statewide mask mandate.
WCAX was the only one to respond. They asked if we would like to discuss it the next day. I said yes, explained that there were two of us who started the petition and asked for the questions (Monday afternoon).
I didn’t hear anything from them again until approximately 10:45 Tuesday morning.
I had barely just gotten off the phone with a mom who called me to share how masks were driving a wedge between her and her kids and the school, among other things.
I was starting to wonder if they were blowing us off.
The email from them was quite bare, except to say that we’d be talking to Celine Macarthur and here is the zoom link. My mind raced with questions, especially when I realized that they had not shared the questions we would be asked.
Do I ask Jeff, who I had been emailing with? Do I ask Celine? How do I contact her?
I remembered her doing a live video months back when the governor said we could no longer buy seeds and clothing in store. By the time I got through with getting the kids in the house and myself situated, it was 11am and time for the press conference with Fauci.
Interesting to note that, during said press conference, a reporter from WCAX asked the governor if he was aware of the petition.
Phil Scott said he didn’t know about one, which is a lie because he was asked if he knew about it on July 28th and he referred to the signers as non believers. After the conference and much discussion later, it was time for Shylo and me to have our pre meeting.
We got our thoughts together as best we could, considering we didn’t have the questions. We ultimately decided that we would keep the conversation focused on the petition and that we weren’t the only people who felt this way.
We were fairly confident that they would give us a hard time and infer that we were all sorts of selfish and bad, but we would stick to the subject at hand.
Meanwhile, I could not get either one of my laptops to record. I had planned to have a full recording of it but my new laptop couldn’t find the camera in some apps and the microphone in others. My old one wouldn’t let me sign in, period.
I had no way to record.
At a few minutes to 3pm, we ended our chat and at 3:00 sharp, I was in the meeting. No one else was there. I messaged Shylo and she asked if there was a passcode. I scoured the email and the link and found no passcode.
I noticed the banner at the top of the Zoom read: “Mary Sheldon, Shylo Bourdea...”
Then, the meeting starts and I hear a guy asking if I can hear him, and he tells me to adjust my camera. I see Celine in the meeting, sitting in front of a virtual background.
Is this live?!
“Hey, there is supposed to be another person with me in the Zoom. Is there a passcode?”
”Only the person with the link can get on the Zoom.” I’m told.
Celine: “I thought I had two.”
Some shuffling around. “We’ve only got room for one.”
Wtf? We discussed both of us!
Celine shrugs and though she starts talking, I’m mentally scrambling for what I should do. All I can think is that I have to talk about the petition but also that too many red flags were popping up. She says something about asking me hard questions and how important this discussion is. “Is this live?” I asked at one point. “It’s live to video, if that makes sense.” She replied.
Suddenly, I hear the man counting down and Celine starts talking about two Vermonters who started a petition. I don’t even remember the first question she asked me but her questions felt like bullets.
I realized quickly that this was not a discussion.
I recall her getting frustrated with me a couple times because I opted to stick with highlighting our right to bodily autonomy, for the most part.
She asked me at one point if people should be able to walk around naked and I reminded her that nudity was legal in Vermont.
At least twice, my four year old (who rarely causes a ruckus) started yelling and banging on my locked office door. Each time, I missed part of whatever question she was hurling at me.
At the end, she holstered her verbal b**ch gun and said thank you. They hung up on me without another word, and I was left sitting alone in that cold zoom meeting, in my office.
I admit that, after all these things considered, I was caught off guard. In hindsight and during that 20/20 vision you get after the fact, I wish I had said 1,001 different things. I wish I had been better prepared for a legit attack.
I wish I hadn’t been...polite.
Honestly, I’m still processing how it all went down. I had family come into town shortly after the interrogations ended, and life needed tending.
Once the adrenaline wore off, I found myself crying angry, frustrated tears. I detached a bit of myself from social media and tried to make sense of it all.
I still haven’t watched the broadcast, so I don’t know what questions she cut at me and what I “said.” I’ve gotten reports (repeatedly) that it seems choppy and highly edited.
At the end of the day, we got over 200 signatures on the petition directly following the WCAX train wreck.
And, the discrimination towards people who can’t/won’t mask is clear by her own mouth. Right on the news.
This discrimination is part of why mask mandates are a very bad idea and why it needs to be a choice. I have a medical exemption-a doctor’s note that states quite clearly that I can’t wear one.
Am I to be treated as less of a human being because I am medically unable to wear a mask?
To be clear, I wouldn’t wear a mask even if I COULD.
Don‘t worry, folks.
This fight is far from over✌🏻
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