Wixon gives Byrd the spotlight for Constitution Day


Diante Moses

Wixon watches a 2005 speech by Byrd.

Luke Ulatowski, Executive Editor

Lakeland’s latest Constitution Day convocation deviated from tradition with a pre-recorded speech and the absence of a regular.

The 12th annual commemoration took place in the Bradley Theatre on Sept. 19, two days after Constitution Day. History and political science professor Richard Wixon introduced and closed a recording of late West Virginia senator and Constitution Day founder Robert Byrd speaking from 2005.

While outlining Byrd’s history, Wixon did not shy away from speaking of Byrd’s time as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan.

“In his youth, he had said he would not serve in the military alongside a negro, but in 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency,” Wixon said of Byrd to illustrate the man’s evolution.

Byrd’s 2005 speech praised the Constitution, criticised then-president George W. Bush and urged young people to vote as much as they “take their cars to Jiffy Lube.”

After the video ended, Wixon urged audience members to tell Wisconsin senators not to pass the an application for a constitutional convention regarding potential balanced budget amendments to Congress. Under Article V of the Constitution, a constitutional convention is to take place if called for by at least 34 of the 50 states. 29 states have called for a balanced budget convention thus far.

Previous Constitution Day convocations at Lakeland were lead by then-Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco, who retired in December of 2016. DeCecco’s lectures focused on what he perceives to be the government’s violations and misinterpretations of the Constitution. In his 2015 and 2016 lectures, he explained why he believes the Fourth Amendment forbids the Patriot Act and the Second Amendment refers to the right for militia to bear arms rather than civilians.