There has been an increasingly disturbing trend across the nation. Our First Amendment rights to speak freely, to peaceably assemble, and to a free press, have been under assault. It started years ago when colleges and universities disinvited commencement speakers some student bullies did not like. When this practice was not condemned by the supposed adults running the institutions, the bullies became bolder, shouting down and physically attacking speakers invited by some campus organizations, then attacking and sometimes even physically assaulting anyone who dared to speak up publicly on college campuses with a message the bullies did not agree with.

Vermont has followed this pattern. More than 10 years ago, UVM disinvited a commencement speaker. A few years ago, a speaker at Middlebury was shouted off the stage, and the professor who was escorting her was attacked and sustained a concussion.

There was silence by the political and intellectual leaders of the state about these incidents.

This year, the assaults on those freedoms have escalated. A Vermont public school principal was fired because she dared to speak her mind. A group peaceably assembling to support the police in Montpelier was attacked and shouted down by “protestors” who did not like the message.

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