On Sunday, voters in Chile rejected a new constitution that would have represented a major turn to the left in the South American country. The vote was almost a landslide, with 62% of Chileans voting against the proposed constitution and not one of the country’s 16 regions approving the measure.
The proposed constitution was 170 pages long and included 388 articles. It was a leftist’s dream, with over 100 new rights enshrined into it, many of them containing left-wing buzzwords.
The Washington Examiner reports that “Among the more than 100 fundamental rights proposed in the proposed constitution were ‘neurodiversity,’ ‘adequate, healthy, sufficient, nutritionally complete and culturally relevant food,’ sex education, abortion, physical activity, ‘safe and violence-free environments,’ universal healthcare, free time, an unfettered right for trade unions to strike, and the right for Chileans to develop their ‘personality, identity and life projects.’”
Additionally, the constitution would have created autonomous governing zones for Chile’s indigenous populations, compelled the government to adopt a radical environmental stance, weakened property rights, and required elected assemblies to include at least 50% female representation.
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Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chile held its general election. Many voters, including almost all older Chileans, stayed home, and those who did vote chose far-left candidates, including some Communists, who formed a coalition with the almost stereotypically left-wing name Apruebo Dignidad (Approve Dignity). This coalition is so far to the left that its logo incorporates a version of the Pride Flag.
Apruebo Dignidad chose Gabriel Boric to be Chile’s president, and he went to work drafting the constitution, working with an alliance of left-wingers. Voters believed that the coalition that put together the constitution alienated rank-and-file Chileans, and as a result, they made their voices heard.
“The proclamation by one member that the Left was ‘going to make the big agreements, and everyone else will have to join us,’ outraged people who weren’t explicitly a part of Chile’s Left,” reports the Washington Examiner.
The New York Times noted that “The proposed changes had looked to remake one of the most conservative countries in Latin America into one of the world’s most left-leaning societies, but Chileans decided that went too far.”
“It was way too much, but much of the issue also had to do with the belief of the Chilean people that adopting this leftist constitution would further wreck Chile’s already very troubled economy,” said Albert Mohler on his daily podcast. “They basically did not want to put in place a leftist constitution that would lead to a government breakdown, the bankruptcy of the country, and the collapse of the economy.”
Not only was the political bent of the constitution problematic to Chileans, but its sheer size also turned voters off.
“How the hell do you vote on a constitution with 388 articles?” said Chilean political scientist Gabriel Negretto to the New York Times. “You are overwhelming voters.”
The voters themselves responded in an overwhelming fashion. Turnout was a whopping 85%, and the forces opposed to the proposal included a large swath of poor Chileans and the indigenous people to whom the new constitution sought to give more power.
After hearing the results, Chileans took to the streets — peacefully but exuberantly — with many of them chanting, “Whoever doesn’t jump is a communist!”
🇨🇱 | En Chile festejan los del Rechazo y cantan: “¡El que no salte es comunista!”. pic.twitter.com/D3bKGBsJnQ
— Alerta Mundial (@AIertaMundiaI) September 5, 2022
Boric has seen the writing on the wall, and he is promising change. He faces 53% disapproval ratings, and the vote is forcing him to make changes to his cabinet and go back to the drawing board with his constitutional proposal.
“Chileans’ decision demands our institutions and political leaders to work harder, with more dialogue, respect, and care, until we reach a proposal that reflects us all,” he said in a speech following the election results. “As president of the republic, I take this message with great humility. … We must listen to the voice of the people.”
“The message to Mr. Boric is that Chileans are mostly moderate, practical and interested in improving their standard of living,” wrote the Wall Street Journal editorial board. “If he hopes to salvage his Presidency, he will have to respond to the public’s needs by moving to the center and recognizing interests beyond his base of left-wing urban elites.”
Good for the people of Chile for standing up for their freedom and fighting back against the leftist elites who seek to take over every aspect of life. It’s a lesson that we need to teach Democrats (and a few Republicans) here in the United States.