No candidate wants to embrace a national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent and suggest it is an accomplishment of a president’s first four years in office. On the other hand, it is imperative the president remind the nation how far the economy had fallen in the aftermath of President George W. Bush’s policies, explain the depth of the Great Recession and the underlying reasons that prompted it, and promote how current policies are producing slow but steady improvement.
Those numbers don’t lie.
Vermont’s Town Meeting Day tradition, with one of the purest forms of democratic rule, falls in the midst of turbulent upheaval throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East and should prompt deep appreciation for what too many Vermonters take for granted.
But before looking inward, let’s look abroad.
As we begin the New Year, let us — as Vermonters and residents of Addison County — resolve to:
• Redouble our individual efforts to give back to our state and communities, not in some vague notion of being a responsible citizen, but through specific actions to improve the lives of our neighbors or the betterment of the larger community.
Middlebury could be poised for a resurgence in job growth with families moving back into town to fill vacant school desks, enliven athletic programs, create a need for home construction, fill stores with shoppers, prompt retail growth to meet local needs and infuse the community with the energy inherent in a town that has a vision for sustainable prosperity.
But, as in all things in business, such growth won’t happen without commitment and a willingness to invest.
As these 12 days before Christmas loom before us — family is coming, there are meals to prepare and presents yet to buy — remember to relax and enjoy the rich traditions of this holiday season that make it so worthwhile.
The holiday focus in Middlebury — as in Brandon, Bristol and Vergennes — is about community festivals, contributing to several wonderful community causes, listening to chorus groups ring in the season with bells and beautiful voices, and for many it is a season for worship and reflection.
On the national scene, the size of the Republican sweep is historic. It’s a signal that much of America thinks the course President Obama is pursuing is moving the nation in the wrong direction. That message was clear. What’s not clear is which direction they — the voters seeking change — want the nation to move.
If you’re over 40 and you think back to when you were in school, the idea that students would one day become excited about school lunches seems preposterous.
But change can bring good things and that’s certainly the case with the local food movement coming to Vermont schools. That Monkton Center School and Bristol Elementary are two of the latest of area schools to jump on the local foods in schools bandwagon is added evidence of the movement’s momentum, educational benefit and economic impact.
Residents of the seven-town Addison Central Supervisory Union should embrace the decision of that board to explore the feasibility of merging their resources and governance through consolidation. No possible harm can come from having an ad hoc committee explore the issues, discuss the relevant facts and engage the communities in a discussion about the future of their respective schools.
We add, however, a caution and encourage expanding the scope of the discussion.