March 16th, 2017
I had never heard it said that free speech included shouting other speakers down. This is the opposite of free speech. It is mob rule.
What happened to the old definition of such speech as, “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”
In the 1998 film “The Truman Show,” Jim Carey lives in a bubble, an ideal planned community, where he is unwittingly the star of a reality TV show. One day, a spotlight falls from the sky, actually from the top of the bubble enclosing Carey’s world, and what he knows as his reality begins to unravel.
In 1799, Congressman Matthew Lyon of Vermont was sentenced to 4 months in jail and fined $1,000 plus court costs of $69.96 as punishment for violating the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 by calling President John Adams a monarch. The founder of Fair Haven was re-elected to Congress while imprisoned in a frigid cell in Vergennes and later cast the tie-breaking vote that elected Thomas Jefferson President in 1800.
In reading the Addy Indy’s recent coverage of the protests at Middlebury College against a talk by author Charles Murray, I was struck by a profound feeling that some much-needed perspective was missing. While it is true that freedom of speech is a bedrock of our nation’s democratic ideals, it is hardly a black-and-white issue (no pun intended). Freedom of Speech is, like everything else down here in the real world, complicated.
On Town Meeting Day, Orwell residents once again chose to vote against a proposed merger under Act 46. The results were clearly incontestable, as the proposal was defeated by 62 percent to 38 percent of voters. There has not been a significant change in voting results over the course of three consecutive votes, in spite of some changes to the merger proposal prior to this latest outcome.
It’s gratifying to see that so many Vermonters are stimulated to political activism by our current national political situation. Any hope we have of minimizing the damage this administration will do to our nation and the world depends on building a strong and vocal resistance. But true reform of our political and social institutions depends on sustaining this activism long into the future.
As many of you know, we lost our father, Robert W. Kellogg, in a house fire on Murdock Court in mid-December. We have had so much loving support from so many of you who knew him. One night shortly after the fire, the neighbors organized a candlelight gathering in front of his home.
The Vergennes Lions Club has expressed sincere thanks to the folks in Bristol and Vergennes who made their annual Food from the Heart Food Drive so successful. By individuals buying an extra item or two, over 2,600 pounds of needed items were collected in total from generous local shoppers, as well as over $530 in monetary donations.