A look ahead to 2012

Resolutions for the New Year

The 2012 Vermont legislative session begins the first Tuesday of the New Year, January 3. It promises to be a session of monumental importance. This is the session that follows hurricane Irene and the passage of Act 48 promising universal health care. 2012 will be the year we wait to see what happens to Vermont Yankee. It is also an election year, and the voters of Vermont will have an opportunity to render a verdict on how the incumbents handled these and other issues.

At True North Reports, our new years resolution is to provide thebest coverage of these events as they occur, as well as others around the state. In addition to the biggies mentioned above, we will be paying particular attention to:

The Constitutional Amendment resolution abolishing “corporate personhood.” It’s not really corporate personhood that will be abolished, but rather our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble (and with it, our rights to free speech and free press). With this amendment, government would essentially seize the power to criminalize organized opposition to its desires. This is an issue that is playing out at all levels of Vermont government, from select boards (resolutions on Town Meeting Day), to the State House, to our Federal delegation. As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion in the Citizens’ United case, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” Let’s spend 2012 keeping it that way.

The Burlington School District’s Recommended Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. While this sounds all well and good on the surface, its goal of eradicating the “racist,” “white, middle class, Judeo-Christian culture that invisibly permeates the current social environment that exists in the Burlington schools” is, itself, a profoundly racist objective. To institute a policy designed to systematically stigmatize and stereotype the culture of white, middle class, Christian students and their families while instituting rule by a group of elite, self-styled as “Cultural Competents” is something more suited to an Orwell or a Huxley novel than 21st century education policy. That this foolishness has gotten as far as it has in an atrocity. Let’s make sure it goes away in 2012.

School Choice, and protecting our Vermont Independent Schools. Governor Peter Shumlin has called on the legislature to give him a bill this year that will expand public school choice throughout the state. That public school choice would not, however, include the 120 plus independent schools that can now participate in competing for students from Vermont’s 92 tuitioning towns. Vermont’s 140 year tradition of school choice in these towns and communities has led to some of our most vibrant and diverse educational opportunities. To destroy this unique and successful gem of Vermont culture would be a real tragedy, but it is a tragedy the Vermont NEA has long been hoping to engineer.

Thomas Jefferson famously said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Let us resolve to be vigilant in 2012!