Bill Mares


Writer Bill Mares of Burlington is also a former teacher and state legislator. His most recent book is a collection of his VPR commentaries, titled "3:14 And Out."

Mares: Shared Sacrifice

Mar 17, 2017

The election of President Trump has reminded me of Elizabeth Kűbler-Ross' five stages of grief. The first is denial – as in how could 63 million people be so wrong? After that comes anger, followed by bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Mares: ESOPs

Feb 22, 2017

Switchback Brewing, with a thirty thousand barrel production capacity and 30 employees now joins half a dozen other breweries around the country that have established ESOPs - or Employee Stock Ownership Plans. More than six thousand other U.S. firms are now ESOPs, with a total employment of more than fourteen million workers.

I’ve recently had a good reason to take an interest in programs designed to improve senior physical and mental well-being - and along the way, perhaps even reduce Medicare costs.

Mares: Truth

Sep 30, 2016

Mark Twain once wrote "The Truth is a precious commodity, and you must use it sparingly!"

Mares: Immigration

Aug 30, 2016

I’m on the board of the Vermont Council on World Affairs, a 65-year old group founded by, among others, Vermont Sen. Warren G. Austin the first American ambassador to the U.N.

Mares: Hail Caesar

Aug 15, 2016

There I was in UVM’s Royall Tyler Theater watching a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when I became aware that, for me at least, the evening was turning into a mash-up of ideas, memories and politics.

The news from and about Russia hasn’t been good lately – what with Olympic doping punishments and suspicious hacking into Democratic party records. But this past week, as a member of the board of the Vermont Council of World Affairs, I got a different perspective.

Alvin Toffler, who died last week at age 87, was a self-taught social scientist, writer, and futurist - that is, one who engaged in wide interdisciplinary and systems thinking on such matters as diverse global trends, and possible scenarios. Toffler taught one of the first college course in futurism at the New School in New York City. But Toffler was no remote ivy-tower academic. He began his career as a welder in a Cleveland factory, and wrote: My wife and I spent five years working on assembly lines. We came to fully understand the criticisms of the industrial age, in which you are an appendage of a machine.

Mares: Donald Cook

Jun 8, 2016

Just a few weeks ago in the Eastern Baltic off the coast of the Russian outpost, Kaliningrad, Russian fighter planes buzzed a US guided missile destroyer - with one plane flying within 100 feet of the ship. It was just another one of the probings and provocations that have gone on for several years as Russia and NATO members joust for maritime rights in what many describe a New Cold War. So I wasn’t especially surprised when I heard about the confrontation in the news. But what did catch my eye was the name of the ship: the Donald G. Cook.

Mares: Memorials

May 26, 2016

In nearly every Vermont village cemetery today, American flags flutter near weathered gravestones - with a few rusting five-star medallions nearby. A close look reveals the letters GAR, an abbreviation for the Grand Army of the Republic, founded by the Northern veterans of the Civil War - who collectively were a powerful political force until World War One.

The controversy in Woodstock, Vermont over school uniforms resonated for me recently on a trip to Texas. I was playing paternal archeologist, excavating with my older son layers of places and memories of central and coastal Texas where I grew up.

Mares: Prophetic Novel

Apr 8, 2016

In the mid-1930's, the Nobel-prize winning author Sinclair Lewis was living in Barnard, Vermont with his equally famous wife, the columnist Dorothy Thompson. Both were worried about the rise of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana and the European dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler. Thompson, the most influential woman journalists of the day, had herself interviewed Hitler. And for his part, Lewis conceived a satiric novel about a fictional populist Republican politician modeled on Long's run for President.

Mares: Pollinators

Mar 24, 2016

Vermont has just held its first ever conference on beetles, bees and butterflies, to consider the threats that all pollinators face in Vermont. The conference was a response to President Obama’s directive to create a national strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators.

Vincent Feeney’s comprehensive history of Burlington draws upon documents, letters, news accounts, diaries, proclamations, laws, and the labors of former historians like Erin Anderson, David Blow and Lilian Baker Carlisle. And it’s given me a fresh view of the city where I’ve lived for almost 40 years, in the same house, no less.

Mares: The U2 and Me

Dec 1, 2015

Recently I went to see the new Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies, about the exchange of Soviet spy Rudolph Abel for Francis Gary Powers, American pilot of a U-2 spy plane shot down over Russia in May, 1960.

A few days ago, I was reading a New York Times article about Kurdish efforts to rebuild villages ravaged by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, when the name Murray Bookchin all but jumped off the page at me.

Mares: Two Weddings

Oct 20, 2015

With much deserved recent public attention on legalizing gay marriage across the land this summer, my private matrimonial focus was to preside at two traditional weddings in September. First, two former students of mine, David Parker, in history, and Jess Andreola, in beekeeping, surprised me with their request. Then, a month later our elder son, Tim, called from Bangkok to say that he and his Thai fiancée, Natt, wanted to get married in Vermont this fall. Would I officiate?

With all the anger and resentment being expressed toward illegal immigrants by Donald Trump and other candidates in this political season, it's worth risking a cliché or two to remind ourselves that we ARE, after all, a nation of immigrants.

Thomas Friedman of the NY Times has written, “Trump's ugly nativism undermines the civic ideals that make our melting pot work in ways no European or Asian country can match."

Mares: Denialism

Aug 14, 2015

The recent Vermont legislative debate to repeal the philosophical exemption for vaccinations was a victory for science over emotion. Against overwhelming scientific and medical advice, proponents were willing to put other children at risk for their own philosophical beliefs about their own children.

Mares: Wealth Inequality

Jul 27, 2015

Pope Francis has condemned the trickle-down theory of improved well-being as a naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.