Guest Commentary: What Happened to Rule of Law?

By John Klar

Not content with disrupting the business of the Vermont House, climate change protestors popped up again to disrupt another much-loved public event. On June 8, Brattleboro hosted its annual celebration of local agriculture, the “Strolling of the Heifers” Parade.  A small group of climate change protesters obstructed the Parade for about fifteen minutes, refusing to disperse.  Two of the youngsters were carried off the roadway on backboards by authorities – but no arrests were made.

The public event’s co-announcer, Progressive Lt. Governor and climate warrior David Zuckerman, praised the protestors from the reviewing stand for their civil disobedience. They were allowed to dominate the event and were not charged with any crime (their banner was returned to them). Said a local police officer: “What they did could have gotten them arrested…. but it was short and nonviolent.”

Had the protesters been conservative youth wearing MAGA hats in support of veterans, would the crowd, the police, and the Lt. Governor have been so accepting? Would those protesters be permitted fifteen minutes of “short and nonviolent” disruption?

Consider the implications: the police and a high government official placed their firm imprimatur on one side of a political issue. As the protesters halted the Parade, the announcers praised them for their “great point,” and then announced over the microphone the protesters’ demand that towns implement climate change policies.

Zuckerman went much further, beginning: “I think that’s something that towns can do locally, and the state can do more as well and obviously even nationally and internationally.  Thank you to the folks for bringing attention… You know it’s great, honestly, seeing young people getting involved as well you know I think a lot of us would like to see more of every age group get involved in our community and our political process making our voices heard, so kudos to young folks for getting involved as well.”

One (invariably liberal) media report observed that Zuckerman said that “Activism is a good thing,”… But after five minutes of watching protesters writhe on the pavement while a lineup of more than forty community groups and thousands of spectators sat stymied in the hot sun, the Progressive Party politician turned his microphone into a negotiating tool.”

Another media report described how the Lt. Governor “tried to convince the protesters to move since they were holding up the parade….,” and quoted a lead protester saying that “the climate change activists thought the heifer parade was too much of an opportunity to pass up.”  Since Zuckerman is a strong proponent in Vermont of a slew of climate initiatives, including a carbon tax, he enhanced and magnified that opportunity for the protestors, endorsed their message, and did nothing to revive the parade.

Parade organizer Orly Munzing stated: “It’s not respectful of our farmers…. to hold things up – not just for the people and animals in the parade, but many of the people and young children on the sidewalk, waiting in the hot sun.” But the media and liberals applauded how reasonably Zuckerman handled it — but he didn’t handle anything at all. Why won’t the protestors be back next year to disrupt the parade again?

Zuckerman has been in government for many years. His website is “Vision With Vermont Values,” but he has yet to discover the value of maintaining civil order. Ironically, when the parade resumed a banner soon appeared reading “Civil Rights For All,” followed by a voice: “Standing up for the climate… is critically important.”

The concept of the rule of law eludes the practitioners of modern liberalism, many of whom actually embrace the belief (“critical theory”) that free speech and other protections must be removed in order for power to be transferred from dominant to powerless groups.

Today in Vermont, the media is all too often an unquestioning enthusiast for liberal propaganda. In lieu of personal responsibility, they embrace collective rights, and turn a blind eye to suppression of the rights of those with whom they disagree.  (After all, they argue, we must save the climate (whatever that means), so those who disagree be silenced.)

In Vermont, as in many parts of our nation today, liberals seize upon “freedom of  speech” to disrupt public events, and deny conservatives any right to offer contrary views. Liberal teenagers display Black Lives Matter flags at numerous public schools; conservatives display nothing at any schools. At times, police refuse to protect conservatives, and/or arrest liberals who openly and deliberately defy the law.

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers Parade again showed the face of disfigured liberalism, endorsed by Vermont’s Progressive Lt. Governor. With this welcome from state and local officialdom, we can expect to see the ranks of the climate protestors grow at next year’s event.

– John Klar is an attorney and pastor who lives in Brookfield.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry Williams June 29, 2019 at 11:29 am

Nice Article John Klar. It’s about time that there is a news outlet for the conservative views of people in Vermont.


Thaddeus Cline June 29, 2019 at 7:47 pm

All I can say is get used to it.
The more foolish conservative ideas about climate change, and the more it simply gets worse. Our young people will be coming out to get our state and country to act like the adults they should be in our modern informed age.
Heat never before seen at these levels in Europe. Fires all over the world . Hurricanes one of witch hit this state. And all you say is do absolutely nothing. And try and pretend nothing is going on .
Well it sure as heck won’t be long before everyone will be saying how , with all the available information at your conservative finger tips you lead people down your group down and incredible fake path .
Fortunately most of this state has folks who know how to go on learning after being in school and act according to the principals of a morale, and ethical society and culture .
This state is so much about being outside and bringing in millions because of that to our state . And what those kids and I say is you shooting your selfs in the foot. Actually helping to hurt the very income you say this state needs .
I short I support those kids for they did and what they unfortunately will still have to do .


William Hays July 1, 2019 at 11:22 pm

“Lefty Loon Loser” Cline is beyond hope. Unfortunately, he is far from alone in Vermont. I guess he supports all the unionized UFT/NEA principals and their brethren that so completely failed him in his Progressive edumication. Har!


Thaddeus Cline August 3, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Well let’s see . It seems that the majority of younger republicans who are educated believe that the republicans party needs to act on climate change .
They at least understand that it’s going to be a top issue on voters mines . ( if you don’t want to hear my diatribe Then read bellow about what your fellow Young Republicans day and feel )
And to not respond and act in a sane responsible manner. Means you will loose both the houses and the presidents office .
So many old Guard Republicans are dropping out .
A smart move would be to act like the majority of Americans and do something.
Massive fires in the Arctic . Floods , heat waves never seen before in modern history. Larger storms like the one that pretty much wiped out Puerto Rico .
Will seal your loss if you can’t look like your responding and acting .
I highly suggest that if for some reason you have better information on our planets Weather. Then 99 % of our planets scientists , that you go and explain it to them so they will understand and go back to studying something you think they should .
But till you can do that I suggest if you want to win elections here in Vt. And the United States. You should and could make laws and rules that slow and stop climate catastrophe .
And it really is that now . It’s not climate change anymore it’s a catastrophe both for the earth and your political party if you don’t .
Read below about what your younger republican population believes .
If you don’t act smart and you loose big time . Don’t say I didn’t worn you .


Helen Pettengill July 12, 2019 at 7:37 pm

Mr Hays, I certainly don’t agree with Mr Cline’s remarks, but personal attacks have no place in this forum.
I would like to point out that wheat was grown far north of where it now is hundreds of years ago. We then had a mini ice age. Many people who had moved north due to the longer growing seasons and warmer climates died as a result of the changes. Mother Nature has a way of balancing things out. We can do much to help, but (carbon) taxing all of the Vermonters out of the state seemed a little extreme to me.


Thaddeus Cline August 3, 2019 at 9:11 pm

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Latest News

VT Left Wing Media Bias Unmasks Itself

July 24, 2020 By Rob Roper Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a...

Using Guns for Self Defense – 3 Recent Examples

July 24, 2020 By John McClaughry  The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal last week published eleven news stories about citizens using a firearm to stop a crime. Here are...

FERC ruling on solar subsidies could help Vermont ratepayers

July 21, 2020 By John McClaughry Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finalized its updates to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), in what the majority...

The Moderate Left’s Stand for Free Speech

July 17, 2020 By David Flemming Harper’s Magazine, a long-running monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, is hardly what you would call a ‘politically...

Trump’s Regulatory Bill of Rights

July 16, 2020 by John McClaughry “President Trump [last May] issued an executive order entitled  ‘Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.’ The executive order includes a regulatory bill...