Op/Eds

09/05/2019
This is a confession. I am a hoarder of the written word. I am surrounded, subsumed, obsessed by ideas, humor, thoughts, possibilities, fantasies, and happenings that are manifested in books and articles. This obsession is very obvious in my personal surroundings: In my living room is a bookshelf with 127 books — history, religion, personal development. In the dining room, three bookshelves are home to approximately 160 nonfiction books, 120 books of poetry and 150 novels. There are five books on my coffee table (three personal development and two picture books) and three anthologies on an...
09/05/2019
Years ago, someone gave me a copy of “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” a pocket-size volume written by a father to his son, who was leaving for college. I hated that book. Among its “511 reminders for a rewarding and happy life,” it did offer some valuable, if obvious, suggestions, such as “Admit your mistakes” and “Floss your teeth.” But other tips — “Drink champagne for no reason at all” and “Buy a house with a fireplace” — smacked of privilege and hinted that the real key to a rewarding and happy life was “Have a lot of money.” I say it’s something much simpler: “Make a weekly meal plan.”...
09/05/2019
President Trump and his MAGA cult claim to hate social media. Liberals worry that it’s stealing their privacy. The El Paso mass murderer used it to spread lies he had read online about an “invasion” at our southern border. Older folks say they’re baffled by “Tweeter” and use Facebook only so they can communicate with their grandchildren. Social media has a bad reputation. And it’s getting worse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to explain how his social media empire allowed Russian trolls to help swing the election to Trump. The president himself uses Twitter for anti-Semitic...
09/05/2019
Editor’s note: This is the 33rd in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Reading Emerson may be compared to taking a shower. Instead of streams of water falling gently and pleasantly over one’s body, there is a steady flow of words that infuse the mind and cleanse it of the grime and mire of the vulgar world, of common opinions and fashionable novelties and their grinding effects. His words elevate the mind to a consideration of nobler, purer things; they awaken in the conscience a longing for perfection; they induce in consciousness a sense of...
09/05/2019
As we look around at today’s landscape it is easy to question “where have all the leaders gone?” Effective leadership seems to be absent on every front and it appears that things are not about to get better any time soon. When I speak of leadership I have a very simple definition: It is the “influence of others.” A very simple definition, which most folks don’t seem to realize. In essence, we are all leaders in some way, shape or form, whether we are: •  husbands or wives •  fathers on mothers •  housewives or househusbands Whether we are: •  farmers or farmworkers •  student, teacher or...
09/02/2019
I recently attended a quiet conference that brought together leaders and innovators in the arts, humanities and public broadcasting. We met for two days to explore how the arts and humanities, writ large, contribute to articulating and solving some of society’s most intractable problems. The program opened with a heads-up ceremony by Vera Sheehan of Abenaki Arts acknowledging and honoring the land and its earliest inhabitants. It was a wonderful reminder that we white Vermonters are not the beginning of civilization. The program looked at major challenges Vermont faces, such as health care,...
09/02/2019
In reference to the letter to the editor that ran under the headline “Dairy not necessarily healthy” in your Aug. 26 edition, the statements made by Pat Davies against dairy consumption and for an alternative, plant-based diet are compelling. Particularly now, as we discover the inevitable connection between diet and wellness or illness, traditional versus modern methods of food production, the treatment of dairy farm cows and the greenhouse gas emissions from such farms. And running through everything is our critical need to rescue this tired, much depleted planet from extinction. Change of...
09/02/2019
A situation stings perception. Observation spurs inspection. Detection demands correction. Intervention assumes commotion. Convention begets conception. Imagination pursues invention. Inception fuels apprehension. Aggravation sparks improvisation. Construction eases reservation. Negotiation avoids revolution. Completion gleans resolution: Restitution for institutions. Remediation urges reflection. Celebration sings redemption! Restoration reaps realization: Innovation requires determination. Peter Szymkowicz Shoreham August 27, 2019
08/29/2019
“I hungry, Gamma”, said my two-year-old granddaughter. I would rend heaven and earth to make sure she had something to eat. And it was easily done with good options. Still, my heart stopped when I heard her words. Vermont is in a struggle to feed 4,619 children verbalizing the same words, “I’m hungry,” because the Federal Nutrition Services proposed a rule on July 24, to close the broad-based categorical eligibility that presently allows children up to 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to receive benefits. That affects 5,204 households in Vermont. This is a proposed rule. We have until...
08/29/2019
It seems there are a million things to focus on in any given moment. For instance, you are reading these words on this paper, but you are also holding the paper. How does the paper feel? The paper also has a smell. You are breathing it. Perhaps you have a cup of tea, and you smell that too. Your feet may be in socks or shoes, or bare, and they are on some surface. It may be warm or cold. These are just some of the physical things you are experiencing in the moment — there may be much on your mind too. There certainly is on mine. There are so many things to think about and to do, and how to...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100