05/07/2019 BY John de Bruin

   We have all seen it on TV, heard it on the radio, maybe you have even participated in a citizen protest rally or two of some kind yourself.

American citizens have been granted the right to assemble and to let your voice be heard. The 1st Amendment of our Constitution gives you the authority of free speech as well as the privilege to use it anywhere and at any time.

    Lately it seems the radicalized Left has decided to push back against our 1st Amendment right and violently oppose free speech. They fight back on any subject they feel which may be factual or anything they don’t agree with.

The unfortunate part of this whole scenario is that some of these Left wing radicals also happen to be elected officials. The most recent example of this was Vermont Rep. Maxine Grad who, during the public testimony concerning Senate Bill 169 (Waiting period to purchase a gun), stifled free speech by demanding people stop waving small American flags. The House of Representatives have also tried to silence free speech in the chamber by attempting to pass a law forbidding Vermonters from “outbursts” during a public session. They attempt to stifle free speech by holding “closed door sessions” or hide important issues deep inside another bill having nothing to do with what they want to actually push. An example would be to hide a trapping or hunting restrictive bill inside a bill protecting wildlife.

    Think about where that leaves the majority of center and/or right leaning citizens to express displeasure with their elected officials. Do the elected officials seriously believe they have the authority to silence the majority? Any group wishing to assemble at the Statehouse must jump through hoops in order to be given “permission” and a “permit” to assemble on property the taxpayers pay for. If your group is considered a “public nuisance”, in their eyes, your protest will not be allowed. A violation of our 1st Amendment rights.

    Let’s jump back to the “dark days” of 2018 during the statewide protest rally events when Gov. Phil Scott demanded that the Legislators put gun bills on his desk because he felt “concerned”. His “concern” stemmed from a single person (foiled attempt) incident at Fair Haven High School. He was bound and determined to make the people of Vermont pay the price for the actions of one person.

Protest after protest formed in every corner of the state, thousands of people rallied against the proposed gun bills. Dozens of videos were posted as well as dozens of pro-gun articles published. Ultimately the Legislators and the Governor chose to ignore the wishes of the majority and pass three of the first ever gun laws in Vermont. They chose to restrict citizen rights instead of protecting citizens. The exact opposite of what the people demanded.

    Apparently 2018 set a president for things to come. There have been quite a few public protests concerning various bills presented for debate during the 2019 session and many more expected for the 2020 session. Bills as far reaching as total abortion rights up to full term, Carbon Taxes encouraging unsustainable goals, more anti-gun restrictions on law abiding citizens and adding more business restrictions with additional Act 250 regulations guaranteeing the destruction of Vermont as a sustainable state. All these Bills had some things in common…they were all protested by the general population of Vermont. They were looked upon as being bad for Vermont by the majority but favored by the Progressive lawmakers. They were all voted in or voted to continue on to the next stage by the current sitting legislators.

   At this point I just smile when I hear of a group organizing a protest somewhere in this state. I would never try to harness their enthusiasm or discourage them in any way but the reality of their efforts and success escapes them. Granted Vermonters have always exercised their free speech. During a public gathering they display signs & banners, voice their concerns, write a thousand letters, swamp the switchboard with phone calls and send hundreds of e-Mails…but the reality of it is that the efforts will be in vain since lawmakers have already made up their minds on the outcome of Bills they are trying to pass. Protests, testimony and rally events, for the most part, are ignored by media and lawmakers. So how much effect does protesting really have?

Simply put, very little to none at all.

    It seems to me that not a single civil effort by the citizenry of Vermont has made enough of an impact which has or would sway legislators from their destructive agenda. No amount of argument against any agenda has been successful and will never be as long as there is a Liberal and Progressive government is in power. Even taking in to account that, sometimes, the protestors outnumbered the other side eight or even ten to one…the legislators sit stone faced listening to hours of  testimony, not because they want to but have to according to law. They are unmoved by facts and will vote to go forward with their goal of passing bad and dangerous bills into law. What Vermonters want is irrelevant to them.

I ask you, at the end of the day, does protesting have any effect on what the dome dwellers do in Montpelier?

    It is a waste of time, energy and breath trying to convince a rabid animal not to attack. This is what the people face when trying to convince lawmakers to do the right thing for Vermont and/or to do what the people of Vermont want.

You can protest until you drop to your knees, you can talk until you are blue in the face and you can hold up signs on the Statehouse steps for months. When your arguments falls on deaf ears you have lost the battle. When that Bill becomes Law, you have lost the war.

Does protesting do any good? The answer is a simple, big fat NO!

The proof is in the end result.

    Having attended many protest events, watched event coverage of testimony /events on livestream and sat in on a few sessions of testimony under the dome I have drawn my own conclusion.

I base my opinion solely on what I have seen, experienced and followed I would never discourage people from protesting against dangerous Bills and/or attempted control by government.

The only solution I see is to stand together and vote out the stupidity. 

Bottom line: We talk and they choose not to listen.

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