Op/Eds

Were you to ask me what our family has done this summer, my response would be, “Very little.” This summer, my daughters decided they wanted to do nothing. With the exception of a handful of brief or sporadic local activities, they shook their heads at any sort of camp or sport. Many of their friends head to sleepaway camp for weeks on end; not one Gong daughter has even a passing interest in such a thing – and, as a former miserably homesick camper myself, I’m not inclined to push it. Sure, there was the weeklong vacation in Maine. A couple of trips to the lake and the pool. A few outings to...
It’s no secret that dairy farms in Vermont have been on the decline for the past 50-plus years, but while the dairy industry talks about it, the larger community has been slow to have a frank discussion about how it impacts our schools and towns. In 1965, Vermont had more than 6,000 dairy farms compared to fewer than 750 today. In 2018, alone, Vermont saw the number of dairy farms decrease 10 percent. That’s also reflected in Addison County where the number of dairy farms declined from 140 to 96 between 2012 and 2017. Of particular interest is the number of dairy farms with 200 to 499 cattle...
Few are known more for their strong work ethic, self-reliance and ingenuity than the American farmer and more specifically the Vermont farmer. Apart from providing jobs in our community, the dairy farm landscape attracts many of our tourists and helps provide over one-third of our state’s income, or a projected $2.2 billion (in tourism revenues) of the $6.1 billion budget for 2019.  The support of dairy cooperatives has helped to revitalize many town economies by building the food systems that the consumer demands. The farm-to-table movement and the growth in our artisan cheese market owe...
Recently my wife and I were abruptly reminded why we are blessed to live in Addison County. On a sunny July Sunday afternoon returning from the Champlain Islands we were driving on Monkton Road in Bristol and struck a deer. Everything happened instantaneously and immediately airbags had deployed and we were off the road. And I realize in describing this incident that many Vermonters have had similar experiences. What unfolded over the next hour, however, was a new experience for us and a real celebration of our neighbors. The car behind us (and two bicyclists) stopped and assisted us in...
Editor’s note: Toby Baker-Rouse was a 9-year-old fourth-grader in Middlebury when he submitted this poem to the Young Writers Project this past school year.   Today The Baby Crawled on Me   Today the baby crawled on me, with kisses and with drool. My mother brought him up the stairs to get me up for school.   Today, the dog, she jumped on me – she sat upon my head. My mother brought her up the stairs to get me out of bed.   Today my sister woke me up, with stomping and a yell. She thumped her way down all the stairs, louder than alarm bells.   Today my brother jumped on me, and my blankets...
One doesn’t have to be a radical revolutionary to know that the status quo is not sustainable. That we can’t continue a national wage disparity that continues to expand and in which the three wealthiest Americans now possess as much as 50 percent of the bottom half of all Americans. That higher education costs are no longer affordable for most. That exorbitant health care costs pose the biggest threat to impoverishing Americans of every age if a serious medical event occurs. That the nation needs an immigration policy that strengthens our economy, brings order to our borders and embraces our...
Our team is made up of two young women and me. Jen, an American, is taking videos to add to our latest movie and Mongolian Anuka is translating. We have a horse guide and three wranglers. Now we are coming back from the East Taiga where we took vitamins and hygiene kits to the Dukha reindeer herders and shot some footage for our documentary. There are no roads, so we have been riding horses for some hours. Now we are traveling the last hour in a Land Cruiser. As we approach the town of Tsagaannuur, I shoot some videos out the front window. I am pleased to discover that my new camera has an...
Last week, Rep. Peter Welch held an open meeting in Montpelier to explain why he has decided to support the impeachment of President Trump. Welch said that Trump’s actions have put “the guardrails of our democracy under attack,” and that impeaching Trump is necessary to hold him accountable for those actions. After Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony later in the week, some other House Democrats, most of them from solidly blue states, also came out in support of impeachment. However, the total number of House members in favor of starting impeachment proceedings currently stands at about...
Editor’s note: This is the 28th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) was President of the United States for two terms, from 1829 until 1837. He also ran for the office in 1824 and received the most votes, but he didn’t receive a sufficient majority in the electoral college to elect him outright. It remained for the House of Representatives to decide the winner, and they chose John Quincy Adams, who had run second. Henry Clay was then Speaker of the House, and it was rumored that he and Adams had made a deal. Shortly...
Trump keeps telling reporters that he is not racist in his typical style — by doubling down on the fact; that is, by saying, “Not only am I not a racist, but I’m the least racist person in the world.” Surely, not even the most Trumpish of Trump supporters would believe that statement as fact, though many of his supporters blow off the criticism by rationalizing that all of us are a bit racist, and Trump’s no worse than most. (He is, but like Hitler’s supporters of the day, they choose to ignore reality.) Interestingly, a recent poll shows that most Americans disagree with Trump’s assessment. ...

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Addison County Independent