Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeColumnsJamie Allard: Long live the Class of 2021. Long live freedom

Jamie Allard: Long live the Class of 2021. Long live freedom


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – President Ronald Reagan

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Just as the trees stretch their leaves into the sky this month, Alaska’s high school graduating Class of 2021 are tossing their mortarboards skyward.

Along with those mortarboards, face masks are flying through the air as well – into the bonfire.

The Class of 2021 is moving on from all that, and well they should.

No red-blooded American parent ever thought they’d see our young people hidden behind a cloth mask for the best years of their lives, nor did we wish for them to be home-bound, ordered to shelter in place by the government for indefinite periods of time. 

That’s not what we dreamed for them as newborns, and it’s sure not what we want for them on their journeys through adulthood. We cannot accept that an ever-present government threat of house arrest is the new norm for this generation as they take on the responsibilities of running their own lives, and ultimately our nation.

As Americans, we expect more for our graduates, and we, the adults in the room, must protect that precious foundation of freedom that allows them to dream, achieve, and live their destinies. 

To regain the sense of American promise, we must recommit to our responsibilities because our liberties, as explained so eloquently by Ronald Reagan, are just a generation away from being taken from us.

Therefore, I can think of no better gift for this graduating class than a copy of the U.S. Constitution, with our precious rights delineated in the Bill of Rights. Forget the car, computer, or diamond necklace. Those are tangible but temporary; liberty is intangible, and wholly irreplaceable.

It would be my hope to see a copy of the Constitution in the hands of every single senior this year, whether they walk across the stage or get their GED in the mail and head to their first real job.

The Bill of Rights guarantees their liberties as individuals: Rights like freedom of speech, religion, due process, and rule of law. It reserves all powers not delegated to the federal government to the people or the states. Why wouldn’t we want to issue each graduate a copy of this sacred document?

Indeed, we should wear it on our shirts, print it on our business cards, and talk about it at least as much as we gossip about the Kardashians. Let’s print that Bill of Rights on the back of every diploma, to remind graduates of what they have as citizens: Rights endowed by the Creator, as described in that other great document, the Declaration of Independence. 

We should motivate our new graduates to take to heart the Bill of Rights, and dare I say we should hope they would be obsessed with them.

These rights have had a severe trampling this past year and our graduating class might have absorbed the notion that the taking of their God-given liberties is normal and part of our compact with government. It is not.

I would not want to overstate the difficulties of the past year, of course. Perspective is important. Those who have endured wars, Holocausts, Biblical plagues, and desperate poverty saw horrors that make this past year’s “policy pandemic” look tame. We’ve seen an erosion of our rights, not a wholesale decimation. I believe there’s a path back to restore the balance, but it will take all of us, graduates included, to take that path.

I hope today’s graduating class and their parents take away this lesson as they look back and look ahead: Governments are organisms that like to grow and gather power unto themselves. From the White House to the local City Hall, bureaucracies and those who run them want to gain more control over our lives, not less. 

For America to continue as the land of promise and opportunity, we cannot allow government at any level to overstep its bounds. We, the people, must stand in the gap to protect the next generation — including this Class of 2021 — so they, too, may have the opportunity to live long and fruitful lives. 

Let this be our promise to the graduating class of 2021: We know we didn’t meet our own expectations for fighting for your freedom this past year. But we will do better. We will keep fighting for your future. Our Constitution will be our sword and shield. We do this for you, and we expect you will do this for the next generation.

Jamie Allard is the Anchorage Assemblywoman representing Chugiak / Eagle River.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. That was well said. let’s hope that you and Mr. Bronson can start steering your city in a new direction. Good luck and God bless.

  2. Sadly, many graduates didn’t attend a civics or government class, and don’t know what they are fighting for. Parents have failed a generation.

  3. Thank you Ms. Allard for being that voice of freedom on the Assembly. Your continued of civility towards others on the Assembly who attack, demen, belittle and use their position to silence, you are a mark of distinction. Thank you. Romans 12:17-21

  4. Even better. Give them a copy of the STATE OF ALASKA CONSTITUTION. We waited over 50 years to get it. Reseach the history involved in its development and signing.

  5. Well written, now tell your student what happened on Jan 6th 2021. How a former president tried to over throw the democracy with the assistance of the majority of the Republican party..

  6. Well said. But to experience freedom after being oppressed can not be defined even by our greatest statesperson. The real immigrants who have come to our country to escape what many bureaucrats of today wish for our country and community can tell us many important stories. As we begin to experience normal life again, let’s not forget the people who fought so hard to stop the insanity. People who followed their heart instead of their wallet. People like Jamie, Lora, Bridget, Dan, and others who have made personal sacrifices on our behalf. We must constantly be vigilant or we will cease to be free. It starts with our local community. We must make an effort to be involved, from PTA to community counsel meetings and even the worst punishment, assembly meetings. It’s easy to take a bone from a sleeping dog. And that is exactly what has occurred. I have been as guilty as all of you of letting government be government and taking care of what interests me. I never even let politicians post their signs at my business. Times have changed. Involvement is everyone’s business. And now, when someone starts griping about things, I simply ask if they even bothered to vote. If they say yes, then I can advise them in other ways to make a difference. If they answer no, I will waste no further time with them, as they have lost all respect from me. Instead of going on the great Europe vacation, they should go to some of the ” garden spots ” that some fools want to make our country like.

  7. Good talk. I don’t know if links are allowed here, but patriotpost(dot)us sells wonderful leatherbound, gold leaf, shirt pocket sized copies of the Constitution in their online shop for around 30 bucks. Proceeds go to a good cause as well. Just a heads up, and congrats class of 2021–YOU MADE IT! WELL DONE!

  8. TRIG: You won’t even wonder why they don’t vote? One doesn’t have to be in special ed to be handicapped. So many good people who happen to have little quirks, slight social flaws, feel ugly, feel worthless, feel that they don’t fit anywhere.

    You notice some of them every once in a while … when they find some way to kill themselves before their time. You see them late at night, scurrying to their mail box, hoping to not be seen. If you ever knock on their door, trying to visit them, they just pull the curtains closed. They don’t want anyone to see that they’re hoarders, who’s only comfort is in how many worthless things, or cats they can collect. Even their closest relatives have given up on them.
    Yes, you just might want to reconsider that there may be forgivable reasons why they don’t vote.

    My reason for never having voted is that I’m a red man in a white-man’s world. I remember the “No Dogs or Indians” signs. I remember being the token hire, moving scrap from one pile to another, and back. Even now I see the waitress’s look … “What’s one of them doing eating here?”

  9. Sounds like harborguy needs to get a light going in the lighthouse before all those ships run aground on the rocks!

  10. Harborguy trolls the muddy waters of the inlet, searching for bottom feeders like himself. Not much here at MRAK for you to catch, harborchild. Your bottom feeders are signing the recall, still complaining about Trump, and smoking bales of pot. Go join them! You have nothing mature to offer here.

  11. Well said!! We, the people have allowed this to happen to Our God-given Rights and Constitutional beliefs and principals by NOT being willing to stand up for, with no apologies or playing nice. We need to stand up, we don’t need to compromise at all,, where these items are concerned. Wake up, Alaska, or lose it ALL!!

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