David Moats

Commentator

David Moats is an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

AP Photo/Warren Winterbottom, File

Maybe it’s the toxic quality of politics today, or a general sense of unease about the future, but my thoughts – and the thoughts of many others - have been returning to another time of anger and division - and the ways that history affects us.

Moats: Climate

Sep 11, 2018
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The record that sticks in my mind came the night when Burlington never fell below 80 degrees. That’s not what you call sleeping weather.

Moats: Labor Today

Sep 3, 2018
Saklakova / iStock

Vermont’s labor history includes the farm work that took place in virtually every town — the farm families who labored every day to till rocky fields, bring in the crops and tend to their animals.

David Moats

It was 1965 when the delegates of the United Nations gathered in San Francisco to celebrate the founding of the U.N. in that city 20 years before. I was a curious teenager, so together with my pal Pete, we snuck into the Opera House as anniversary preparations were under way — to get a glimpse of history.

I was driving through the empty, sage-covered rangeland of eastern Washington one time when I saw a giant sign that said “Ron Paul for President.”

Journalists are a little like doctors. Sometimes they have to give people bad news. The difference is there’s no arguing with a heart attack.

It all depends on how you look at it. That’s what a friend was saying about how the telling of history shapes the way we see things.

Moats: School Funding

Jun 5, 2018

Ever since I began writing about Vermont schools — more than 40 years ago — I’ve been struck by a couple of things.

I happened to be in Montgomery, Alabama, the day after the opening of the new memorial for the nation’s victims of lynching. It’s called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Moats: Twitter Power

Apr 23, 2018

People sometimes ask, “Why can’t the media just ignore the crazy tweets coming out of the White House?”

Moats: Changing Times

Apr 11, 2018

Times change - but how they change is a mysterious process.

A recent family gathering drove home the point that families — for all that holds them together — consist of a whole array of seemingly mismatched parts, all matching up to form something larger.

Moats: Empathy

Mar 7, 2018

Most people would agree that empathy is a good thing — the ability to see things from another point of view, to put yourself in another’s shoes, to listen and understand. But in this season of discontent, even empathy has become a question of controversy.

As soon as the smoke had cleared in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, the cry went up - how could such a rampage, claiming 17 lives, finally be prevented?

When I was in college my parents moved to Hawaii, and during that time they arranged for the daughter of friends to rendezvous there with her boyfriend. He was coming in from Vietnam for a few days of R&R, and they agreed to meet at my parents' house.

Republicans students at Middlebury College are unhappy about what they see as the lenient discipline administered to students who disrupted a speech earlier this year by author Charles Murray.

There's a phrase from sports that has always been intriguing to me: People say something is or isn't “in the interest of baseball.” The word “baseball,” spoken in this way, carries with it a whole value system or code of conduct.

Moats: Received Wisdom

Apr 28, 2017

My mother turned 100 years old recently, though we weren’t sure whether she was aware of it. She’s comfortable and well taken care of, but each new day is a kind of surprise. That she's still here allows us to consider the century she has lived through, which goes back to the day Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. That’s the day she was born.
 

The earth was shaking, and I was crouching under a desk on the third floor of a building in San Francisco, when I gained some insight into the way my mind works. This was the big quake of 1989, and as the building rattled, my mind produced an image: the building collapsing, with me in it, but me rising up and getting to my feet, unhurt, amid the rubble.

Most people probably don’t remember George Lincoln Rockwell, who after World War II was the founder of the American Nazi Party. He used to strut and preen in a Nazi uniform, and in the mid-’60s, he spoke at the university where I was a student. He praised Hitler, denied the Holocaust, and promised that if he became president, he’d execute Jews he considered traitors.

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