Todd Fillmore: Give me liberty, or give me COVID?

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Todd Fillmore, a resident of Shrewsbury, Vermont.

Since March, Gov. Phil Scott has visibly tried to navigate the reefs, rocks and political dark waters of COVID-19. During that time, I have tried to avoid “armchair quarterbacking,” and have tried to remain somewhat neutral about his various strategies to “flatten the curve” and save lives, especially since our eldest daughter has been a front-line emergency room nurse.

Over the past months I have respectfully kept in mind Scott’s overriding impulse to “play it safe,” knowing that such a pandemic places a governor in a difficult place in being forced to balance the rights of the individual against the possibility for medical calamity on an epic scale. To understand that impulse, I think it’s important to mentally place ourselves in their position. Would we want to be forever remembered for the death of thousands of people? Probably not.

But Governor Phil Scott walked dangerously down an authoritarian plank during his press conference on Friday, Nov. 13. Looking a bit like a stern father, he made the following proclamation: “Multi-household gatherings, both inside and out, whether in public or private spaces, are prohibited.”

A more detailed release from the governor’s website offers the following draconian clamp-down: “Attendance at all public and private social gatherings, indoor and outdoor, including social gatherings incidental to ceremonies, holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations, shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household. Individuals who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family residing in a different household.”

Despite his obvious good intentions, Gov. Scott’s most recent move is not an advisory or a warning. It is an authoritarian overreach which cuts right to the core of bedrock constitutional rights.

Arguably the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Clearly, the rights to free speech and freedom of movement are primary human rights, even in a pandemic. To deny the free movement and free assembly of citizens would have almost certainly provoked scorn if not outright wrath from the framers of our Constitution, even if such abrogation of our rights was deemed to be in our own best interest. And this is as it should be, for if our constitutional rights can be conveniently set aside every time a perceived crisis emerges, it is easy to see how an authoritarian would eagerly cultivate such scenarios to accumulate power for themselves.

This is a bold line which must not be crossed. The government is not our parent, and we are not its children.

This truth was forever carved in the stone tablets of time by none other than Patrick Henry, who distilled this truth to its essence; an essence which still resonates among Americans today: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Aye, there’s the rub, and the very bulls-eye of the COVID debate: Is life so dear that we allow our leaders to wrap us in chains to preserve it, to use the force of law to attempt to deny us one of the most important rights of all — to gather with those we love?

I would respectfully point out that our governor’s hobby is auto racing, a high risk sport. Governor Scott is free to manage his own personal risk as he sees fit. And I reserve the right to do the same.

Sorry, Governor Scott, but my constitutional rights trump your paternal impulses. I will visit with my family on Thanksgiving, I will accept the risk, and I will thank God for those rights which allow us to gather and eat in peace and prosperity.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

25 thoughts on “Todd Fillmore: Give me liberty, or give me COVID?

  1. Congratulations Phil,
    You have managed to match the actions of Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsome, Gretchen Whittemore and others as you portend to save me from myself. The hypocrisy of your actions now, compared with no action this summer in Battery Park- or the weekend of Nov. 5-6 in Burlington and other cities is a stark contrast to your rhetoric. You have become the Progressive’s and Democrat’s pawn, with your Executive Order in direct violation of the Vermont Constitution, Article 3.
    To the heart of the matter, Phil- This is about personal responsibility. A concept seemingly foreign to most politicians in this state. Most of your “subjects” understand and live the concept, however there seems to be a minority whom do not. No matter what regulation you dream up and enact, there will always be some that cannot accept the personal responsibility required to live in society. Your edicts will not change that.
    Your recent actions Phil, appear to place us in much the same position as you placed us in March-May of this year- with even greater consequence. How many restaurants, Ski areas, small businesses struggled but made it thru your first shutdown, will never re-open after this has passed? All these tax-producing businesses that feed the insatiable appetite of those under the Golden Dome, stunted at best- bankrupted at worst. The effect of your actions will be felt for many years, with Vermont continuing to decline in population, economic stability and quality of life.
    Perhaps Phil, The cure is more harmful than the disease.

    • I believe article 18 of the Vermont constitution sums it up quite well!

      Article 18. [Regard to fundamental principles and virtues necessary to preserve liberty]

      That frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep government free; the people ought, therefore to pay particular attention to these points, in the choice of officers and representatives, and have a right, in a legal way, to exact a due and constant regard to them, from their legislators and magistrates, in making and executing such laws as are necessary for the good government of the State.

      Obviously, the voters have paid little attention to Article 18 in their choice of leaders. We are not engaged in good government and in fact are being restricted by government to pursue our liberty again in violation of our constitution.

  2. In this time of crisis, I hear some of my Christian friends and fellow church attendants talking about Romans 13 and how we are to submit to authority. All this was written long before our constitution was written, when kings ruled. Our constitution makes this a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”. Therefore, We are the authority and the usurpers are those who claim to rule us and not submitting to them is not in defiance of what is stated in the bible. Time to stand up for ourselves.

  3. And the truth is that we’re not even in an emergency.

    59 fatalities, not all solely due to Covid and still less than the 81 flu deaths we had two years ago.

    “Case” spikes that only reveal how sensitive and unreliable the PCR test is, which can pull up to 90% false positives (the New York Times even reported that). And by the way, does anyone think it strange that we’re setting case records despite a mask mandate?

    Our state leaders, much as I’d like to trust government in tiny Vermont, have sadly abandoned their critical thinking skills. They are simply running the programming passed down to them by a provably corrupt federal bureaucracy. For starters, just take a look at Dr. F’s funding of viral gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China. Just a coincidence, I guess:

  4. This is serious political and civil suppression if Gov. Scott’s directive is literally enforced. If separate households cannot gather outdoors, then we have lost the right to peaceably assemble for protest. We have a contested election and are rapidly losing our voice online through blatant de-platforming. We must be able to gather for protest at the Statehouse. I will show up every Saturday at noon. Please join me. We must be publicly seen and we must publicly claim our constitutional rights and continue to do so until they are recognized. Not granted, mind you, but recognized. Our rights are unalienable until the end of time.

    • Only the peaceable right has lost their rights to peaceably assemble

      The lefties, BLM, Antifa? and the “college children” can gather and protest, RIOT any time they want.

      The exception, apparently millions gathered to hear Trump, and several dozen honked at Biden’s
      rare scripted mumblings.

  5. “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed”.
    Norton vs Shelby County 1886 – 118 US 425 p.442


  6. I missed Thanksgiving with my family for 21 of 25 years while on active duty. There’s no force on this earth that can stop me from celebrating with them this year.

  7. Remove your consent by carrying on as you see fit to do.

    Amy Coney Barrett just said at her hearing that it’s the people that rule.
    The Governor might need to hear that part again.

  8. Very well said Todd, I voted for Governor Scott his first term, but that was the last time I supported his bid for governor.

    I don’t know what drives him, however he does not seem well grounded in the founding principles of our Republic!

    Is he in it for himself? I cannot pretend to know what motivates him, but his views have always seemed contrary to the ideology he purports to represent and he projects the persona of a globalist mindset.

    I will say he is a skillful politician, but, a leader, no thank you, he would rather take liberty, than guarantee it’s preservation; dictators of fear are not leaders in my estimation!

    COVID has been a convenient tool for those wishing to manipulate with fear this year, used as an excuse to gain power over the masses trough pretense of crisis. We have certainly been besieged by such events of crisis, causing one to wonder is it merely by coincidence or is it planned.

    Many of those, dictating compliance measures are perhaps only useful idiots for such a scheme of conspiracy, but ultimately they have all been focused on the same goal of removing President Trump. Mail-in ballots are a result of a campaign to facilitate his removal, relaxing the integrity of our elections laws.

    With so much going on, most people are involved in the paralysis of reacting to fears of a specific event, not making the connections of the numerous events of crisis that have come our way in 2020. It may be some time before some actually realize what is happening, but one thing should seem clear as a bell as we sort this out. In 2021, we need to push for voter ID, curtail early voting and rely less on technology for tabulation, that is, if we intend to have a say in our governance!

  9. “Looking a bit like a stern father, he made the following proclamation: “Multi-household gatherings, both inside and out, whether in public or private spaces, are prohibited.”

    I will not comply with petty tyrants and certainly not the lying traitorous Benedict Scott who is violating the Constitution,go pound sand.

  10. This buffoon should not have received one single Republican vote, down ticket races yes.

    Resist with a vengeance, do not comply with unconstitutional laws.

  11. Wouldn’t you think everyone would be asking, how can I get what President Trump got that cured him in 5 days? How come our focus is on lockdown and closing EVERYTHING?

    One plan is for curing the health of our people.

    Another cure is to….one has to do extensive reading to know what the other “cure” is for.

    How did they know the future in writing the book 1984?

    It happened many times before, it’s happening again before our eyes. smartphones and censored internet are one groups dream come true.

    If they hadn’t checked the sewers they would think all is well. Thants because it is.

    Panic, that’s what they want. Are they talking about the most vulnerable? Why not? Keep asking questions. Its going to get much worse and it has nothing to do with Covid-19, its all written out in their plan.

    Has been for some time.

    • Instead of focusing on treatments, the medical powers-that-be have focused on denying treatments. Instead of organizing and collating treatment strategies, with the understanding that most likely there are physicians out there who’ve come close to cracking the code for treating Covid, our medical response has been characterized by confusion and by an insistence on non-medical measures, including quarantining the healthy, to stop the spread of Covid. These measures coincidentally infringe on our right to assemble freely.

      It’s remarkable that the medical establishment has dismissed a drug that is overwhelmingly safe in the five day, low-dose regime used in the Zelenko outpatient therapy for Covid: hydroxychloroquine. Instead of getting behind this therapy, the medical establishment attacked it by producing studies that used the drug inappropriately. This is an amazing development that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, as it appears to be a deliberate undermining of an effective and overall harmless strategy for early treatment of Covid-19.

      Then we have a group called the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, which has had good results treating Covid with methylprednisolone (a corticosteroid), vitamin C, thiamine, and heparin. They have a website that details this treatment; it’s being ignored by our leaders.

      Corticosteroids tamp down the inflammatory response; a doctor in Texas (Dr. Richard Bartlett) uses an inhaled corticosteroid, Budesonide, to focus treatment on the lungs, with very good results.

      Although news of these treatments has been circulating on the internet, it’s remarkable that the potential these treatments hold– possibly by combining the various useful therapies into one overarching therapy– has been ignored by our supposed leader in this crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci. We need to remember, too, that in times of emergency, such as the supposed emergency of a disease ravaging the world, it’s appropriate to rely on clinical experience and long-established safety profiles (such as for hydroxychloroquine) and not pigheadedly await randomized double-blind clinical trails while people die. This excuse– “we don’t really know” doesn’t hold water (because we DO know a lot about these treatments) and is an inexcusable cop-out.

      If one had a suspicious frame of mind, one might think that the real goal is to keep us afraid and sick and obedient– to “stay safe,” of course. Without a suspicious frame of mind, one can say that our response to cracking the code for Covid-19 treatment smacks of malfeasance.

      • For those courageous enough to take matters into their own hands, here is a link to early and preventative treatment options for Covid-19. Note that quercetin, readily available without a prescription, is, like hydroxychloroquine, an ionophore for zinc, meaning that it helps zinc enter cells. Once in cells, zinc stops the replication of Covid-19.

        Those interested can also find explanations for mechanisms of action in Dr. Seheult’s videos.

      • Here is a running summary of over 100 peer-reviewed HCQ studies showing a 64% reduction in mortality with early treatment:

        A lot of the HCQ hysteria came from fallout from a study in the Lancet pointing to dangers–a study that was retracted soon after publication after an investigation pointed out serious flaws. But the damage was done; even our own Dept of Health website has a page warning about HCQ. They drank a lot of Kool-Aid.

        • Thank you, Jeff, and thank you, Todd, for this commentary.

          The Lancet study is question was retracted after numerous physicians, without access to the background date, had serious doubts about how the conclusions were reached. It was then determined that the data provider, Surgisphere, could not possibly have the data that it said it had. This study supposedly passed peer review.

          Question for everyone: why is this happening? Why is arguably the world’s most prestigious medical journal trying to feed us pure, unadulterated BS? Why are the medical authorities so keen on discrediting HCQ, a readily-available drug used safely for years?

          • Happening due to the NWO and Soros. They found a way to control people when many other attempts filed. Watch out for Bill Gates as well.

            Interesting the US gave millions to the Chinese lab where this virus :escaped”. More clear investigations need be done.

  12. I am also very concerned. I’m sure there are many others who feel the same way. What can we do about it – together? I would rather die by fire than sit in a pot of water nearing the boiling point.

  13. Very well said Todd.

    Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    I truly believed that the people in the state of vermont had had enough and would never elect this turncoat governor again.

    Governor scott claims to be a republican but he is far from a republican he is a traitor not only to the republican party but to the people in the state of vermont.

    We had a candidate who ran for governor named John Klar who was not a republican but ran on the republican ticket and after he lost in the primary he started pushing for the traitor phil scott to become governor.

    It was during scott’s run that he kept harping that the office of governor was not an important office that it was more important to worry about the down ticket.

    I hope anyone in there right mind that has an ounce of common sense now understands why I never backed Mr Klar.

    Now we can see how important the office of governor in the state of vermont is and hopefully those that were foolish enough to vote for the lesser of two evils now realize that there is no such thing as the lesser of two evils… Evil is evil.

    I wonder how many people voted for phil scott that now wish they could take that vote back.

    this should be a learning experience for the people in the state of vermont who are so willing to give their rights away.

    God willing I pray we will all survive this and come out a more intelligent population ready to fight for our rights and not just give them away.

    I hope everybody follows your lead and gets together and has a wonderful thanksgiving.

    • Beating up John Klar every chance you get does not change who the governor is. You supported Kevin Hoyt. I supported John Klar but after his defeat I voted for Kevin Hoyt knowing he wouldn’t win. He couldn’t win because no one knew who he was and he had no campaign money. The last independent candidate to win governor in Vermont was in the 1860s when Thomas Chittendon won. I voted for Kevin with a clear conscience because after voting for Phil Scott numerous times he turned his back on me and all republicans.

      Not one article was written here by Kevin Hoyt and he was a one issue candidate. While I would gladly trust him over our current ruler he was never going to beat Scott this time. The governor found a way to claim liberal support due to his public bashing of president Trump and then voting for Dementia riddled Joe Biden. That in and of itself demonstrates the lack of honesty and critical thinking of the governor. While it helped in stay in office in years to come he will go down as the worst Vermont Governor ever elected. That is after all the truth comes to light.

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