By Michael Bielawski
A handful of mostly conservative leaders gathered at the front lawn of the Statehouse on Saturday morning to a relatively small crowd of about 25 public listeners to hear about Constitution Day and why the document is more relevant today than ever.
Peter Teachout says it’s the first and longest-lasting
“It was an experiment in democratic self-government, a test of people in a nation as diverse at that time could govern themselves, this is something that had never been tried before,” said Peter Teachout, a law professor at Vermont Law School, who was the first speaker.
According to concerned attendees, the experiment could fail if people don’t start paying more attention to this document which seeks to protect fundamental rights for citizens under an accountable government.
Teachout continued about the new precedents set by the document.
“Holding government officials accountable through regularly scheduled elections is so ordinary and we’ve come to expect it, but this was not the practice in most countries in the world or any other country in the world at the time,” Teachout said.
He noted that the average lifespan for a nation’s constitution around the world is just 17 years, while the U.S. version has remained in its original foundation for all this time.
“Compare France, France during that same period has gone through ten different Consitutitons,” he said. “They adopt a Constitution, repeal it, adopt another, repeal it, and so on.”
Rob Roper says to use it as protection from authoritarianism
Rob Roper, the former president of the Ethan Allen Institute as well as a regular political commentator for Substack.com, talked about how this document is our society’s first line of defense against authoritarianism.
“If you are really worried about the possibility of living under and increasingly authoritarian government, well the U.S. Constitution is probably the most authoritarian document ever produced to govern a nation,” he said.
He added that we need to be more principled if we are to keep our current government.
“Where and when we are in fact in danger of losing our democracy, it is because we are more and more straying from those principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and abandoning the safeguards put into place to preserve them in our constitution,” Roper said.
At another point, Roper listed several ways that governments have steadily chipped away from citizens’ ability to make their own decisions about transportation, heating, education, and more.
“However if you are in favor of the government being the ultimate decider of say what kind of car people can drive, how you are allowed to heat your home in winter, what your kids learn at school, what speech is allowed to be published and distributed in public forums, and what speech can be punished? Even down to what kind of bag you are allowed to use at the grocery store and what kind of bulbs you are allowed to buy for your lights.
“Well then be careful because you just may be the very authoritarian threat we’ve all been hearing so much about.”
Gregory Tharer thanked as host/organizer
Gregory Thayer, former Rutland GOP chair, opened up the meeting. He hosted the event and was largely seen as the organizer to bring everything together. He commented that perhaps it’s time to engage with the many folks who were not at the Statehouse for Constitution Day.
“Personally I feel it’s time that we all have to have the hard conversations with people including loved ones,” Thayer said. “Respectfully and with information, I think we can do that, but it’s up to you.”
Also speaking at the event in support of the Constitution were current lawmaker Rep. Charles Wilson, R-Lyndon, and Gerald Malloy the former Vermont GOP nominee running for U.S. Senate.
Mass media outlet attacks Constitution
On Monday CNN was under scrutiny for an opinion piece they ran arguing that the U.S. Constitution is outdated. The Western Journal reported on the piece, their headline is “CNN Gets Roasted for Absurd Chyron Warning Constitution is ‘Outdated, Puts Democracy at Risk’”.
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle
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Categories: Society & Culture