John Klar: BLM versus the U.S. Flag in the Vermont capital

By John Klar

The BLM flag is hardly new to Vermont, being displayed at many of its schools for years. More recently, “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was painted in large yellow letters on State Street in Montpelier, in front of the Vermont Capitol. Permission for this event was granted quickly through a permit process with the Montpelier City Council.

On June 29, “John Klar for Governor” filed an application with the city of Montpelier to paint an American flag beside the “Black Lives Matter” painting, opposed with the phrase “Liberty and Justice for All” in conjunction with a planned Fourth of July celebration at the Vermont State House, and with the express intention of invoking that American creed to come alongside BLM to find common constitutional ground.

Two days later, the event application was denied for shortness of notice, then resubmitted.

John Klar

One City Councilor, Conor Casey, launched a defamatory tirade against the applicant. Casey said that while “Liberty and Justice For All” might be a positive message, the mural’s proposed location suggests other motives.

“It is saying ‘you know what, that’s how little Black lives matter to us, we need to be included as well,” Casey said. “It’s an example of white people being pretty fragile.”

Casey added that he believes the attempt amounts to little more than a publicity stunt.

For a government official to impute motive by “proposed location” (a U.S. flag next to a Fourth of July celebration) is odd enough, but to give it a racist voice that is conjured from Mr. Casey’s toxic oratory (coupled with insinuations of white fragility) is simply out of control.

But Councilor Casey didn’t stop there — he already decided to vote no, as NBC5 reported.

“It’s a political stunt and I’m not interested in spending any time at council debating whether it’s the right way to go or not,” Councilor Conor Casey said.  “Black Lives Matter comes first and foremost and we won’t achieve liberty and justice for all until that stands in everybody’s mind.”

This is a public servant, attacking someone he doesn’t know, attributing intentions, motives — even words — to a citizen applying for a permit (before the hearing). Fortunately, constitutional law is pretty clear about this type of abuse of power. Government cannot embrace one political party, or religion, or cause, over another. Having granted BLM a permit, the city cannot constitutionally deny a competing political claim — in this case, a depiction of the American flag, and a phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, having granted the privilege of public display of a political message by an obviously left-wing, race-related organization, the Montpelier City Council has opened the door to more extreme applicants than defenders of constitutional balance.

The same would be true if Montpelier permitted a Planned Parenthood mural or event — it would have to allow Right to Life, or anti-gun and pro-Second Amendment, and so on. Otherwise, political extremists might employ government and even public property to advance their own side and eclipse the rights of those they oppose, as Councilor Casey seeks to do in this case.

If the subject application is a political stunt, that of course would be a core protected right subject to the highest protection against government intrusion such as that seen here — indeed, is BLM’s painting not a “political stunt”? The whole point is to communicate even disparate views — it’s called free speech.

Did the City Council, when it granted BLM’s application nearly overnight, also endorse it’s express messages, such as on its BLM Vermont facebook page, which says in the about section:

How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.

Or perhaps it espouses the various positions of BLM Burlington, including: “The purpose of our revolutionary struggle is deconstructing external & internal oppression. We recognize that oppression is rooted in the assertion of dominance and power. We are committed to decolonizing wellness and creating a culture of collective vulnerability & trust.”

I expect it was his alarm at these Darwinian experiments being inflicted in the Green Mountains that led Councilor Casey to seek to decolonize wellness by supporting BLM “first and foremost” over the United States Constitution. (And surely there was no oppression rooted in his assertion of dominance and power!)

In supporting BLM with public funds (and in Vermont, statutorily providing that a BLM representative be a member of various committees), might it matter what precisely is being funded? BLM has no detailed policy goals to offer.

Yet this councilor went much further in his opposition to the American flag and pledge — he implied motive, displayed overt political bias, and had very poor judgment. If the City Council now rejects the application, the Vermont courts will apply the United States Constitution to its conduct, and the flag and pledge will be placed in the balance. They will win.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.

24 thoughts on “John Klar: BLM versus the U.S. Flag in the Vermont capital

  1. – John Klar appears on Fox & Friends
    Pants around ankles alert:
    Montpelier VT and venomous vitriole exposed

    Rollin’ with the big dogs edition:
    Fox & Friends Saturday June 12/2020
    Vermont city council rejects American flag art after pushing through ’emergency’ BLM street mural
    Jul. 12, 2020 – 3:43 – Montpelier, Vermont rejects a petition to paint an American flag and the phrase ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ in front of the Statehouse next to a Black Lives Matter mural
    Facebook link to video:

  2. What’s the old saying ” When you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

    Well, it looks like the denizens of Montpelier’s City Hall are doing a lot of explaining these days over their handling of the BLM mural and their slam down on John Klar’s request to print “Liberty and Justice for All” on State Street.

    Vermonters are smart, they know an error when they see one and Montpelier’s handling of the BLM/John Klar matters is as big an error as New Englanders have seen since that ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs in the game six of the 1986 World Series….Red Sox vs Cincinnati .

    Bill Buckner owned up to his error…….Instead of owning up to their error, Montpelier’s leaders are doing a lot of explaining and only making things worse.

  3. Once again, Mr. Klar proves his superior intellect and knowledge of constitutional law. I hope this issue finds its way before the courts seeking injunctive relief. Throw in a count for Casey’s slanderous comments while you’re at it, John, and you might even be awarded damages! In my view, the entire BLM movement itself promotes the very thing it purports to oppose; namely, racism. If the goal were true racial equality, we already have the greatest symbol of that God-given principal found in the beautiful Stars and Stripes of Old Glory! “All Lives Matter” is what I believe, and I’ll make no apology for it!

  4. One of the biggest underlying problems in Vermont is education. This is a clear example, we have generations of which are not educated properly in the civics of the United States and how it works.

    My guess in the entire counsel does not even understand what form of government we have. My guess is history education is also in very short supply. It is not the teachers fault, they have to teach what they are told. Vermont has some serious ground to cover before we catch up with the rest of the country.

  5. John is a very astute person. One may disagree with his politics but it is very difficult to negatively disassemble his legal analysis. Simply put, he is right in this instance.
    Casey must be an idiot because John was just waiting for this kind of irresponsible, anti- constitutional response.

  6. If the constitutional LAW is pretty clear, then do something about it ! John you are a lawyer. Why whine to us? We agree with you. How could we not ,but the ball is in your court. Is your inaction a preview of your conduct as governor? Putting these clowns in their place NOW would say a lot about how you would defend our constitution in the future. That this to court ASAP

    • It is what it is much? Kindly speak for yourself sir as I for one am not part of your little phantom army hiding in the safety of “we”. Pretty clear you’re not a KLAR2020 supporter and use any opportunity for typical backhanded bitchslaps.

      That said we-all are being informed of the intricasies of said issue as Mr. Klar explains with a finesse which is unique to his perspective as he carefully unpacks, lays out and expands each issue.
      KLAR202 GoJohn!
      And you’re free to stop whining about John Klar – if ya don’t like it kindly write your own 🙂

    • Well for one, John Klar has filed a complaint with the FCC about VtDigger’s abuse of censorship and political affiliation. The courts at normal speed are set at snail speed and now with everyone hiding nothing is moving. This is the classic moment of someone taking on City Hall. Why not get on board with that and support the action in a accusatory manner. Just the incident has them rattled and demonstrates who and what they are!

  7. The public voted for these people into office and must remove them as well. The legislature is loaded with questionable people and I’ll bet the same ones will be there after the elections are over.

  8. When the American Flag is no longer considered the greatest representation of freedom anywhere then it’s time to get these clowns out of Montpelier. The BLM flag, considering what the people marching under this banner are doing to our great nation has no place anywhere near the greatest flag the world has ever seen.

  9. Someone tell Casey that if black lives really mattered to black — they would be doing something to stop the 95% of blacks killed by other blacks. Casey appears to be a racist himself.

  10. Outstanding, “ Liberty and Justice for All ” isn’t that a novel statement,
    so why would anyone, especially a City Councilor, Oh yeah a Liberal
    and one wonders why the state is in such distress ……………..Idiot

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, except if it isn’t in
    line with a liberal agenda !!

    What a disgrace flying a BLM flag on the same pole as the American

    Do black lives matter, apparently not if you live in Chicago, New York just
    look at shootings black on black including kids being killed …… pathetic !!

  11. Pffft. Nothing other than necessary traffic control should be painted on roadways. Crosswalks, lane dividers and whatnot. Paint is a slippery, unsafe surface for autos and especially two wheel vehicles. It gets really bad when wet.

  12. Who comes up with these slogans? “Decolonize Wellness”?
    We are way past the twilight zone.

    • Gordon, It’s a spin-off of New Speak from 1984. It doesn’t mean anything it just sounds good to other elite libtards.

    • These foolade-drinkers w/ they’re asinine commentary and unending bending and twisting of our speech want to deplatform sites for their ‘comment sections’ lol

      Google Demonetizes “Right Leaning” Websites Over “Comments Section”
      Websites the Federalist and ZeroHedge have come under fire from Google Ads which has in one case de-monetized one site and threatened to do so to another if they do not remove comments posted to stories that Google considers “racist”.
      This all came about after NBC News worked to have the sites de-monetized.
      •Jun 19, 2020

    • Be interesting to get some bio info on this legal scholar Casey. You can bet you biffy and ditty bag that he was first in line to sign off on the BLM sign. What ever happened to Freedom of Expression or equal rights???? Placing Liberty and Justice For All is far more inclusive than the narrow thought of BLM because as heretic the thought may be, ALL LIVES MATTER!!!!!

  13. Liberty and Justice for all is NOT extreme, it’s fair. Our constitution protects the minority from the mob.

    Looks like Montpelier might be getting an entirely new city counsel, are they supposed to uphold and defend the constitution? Will all the counsel members resign because of their publically declared lies and rants? That is how they operate within the Rules for Radicals.

    Clearly some need refresher courses on terms and job descriptions, perhaps this will cost the city of Montpelier some serious coin, some well deserved press that exposes what is going on.

  14. Check out Tom Evslin’s VT Digger commentary.

    It’s called ‘content discrimination’ and ‘viewpoint discrimination’ when the government or a government subsidized organization restricts speech on a given subject matter or singles out a particular opinion for different treatment. And it’s not just what is allowed to see the light of day but, more often than not, what isn’t allowed. Both instances have been consistently frowned upon by the courts.

    Unfortunately, VTRANS isn’t the only culprit. The practice is prolific in our public schools and various 501 (C) 3 news organizations (i.e. Digger)

    While today’s political future is certainly interesting, I don’t see things ending well. It’s time to batten down the hatches.

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