Commentary Series

Mon-Thurs 8:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Sundays at 10:55 a.m.

More than 50 commentators provide perspective and opinion about current events, topics of interest, and often showcase the work of writers and storytellers. The VPR Commentary Series is produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler.

Send Feedback | Guidelines To Submit A Commentary

If I were teaching a humanities course this term, I would focus on the Second Amendment: what it does – or doesn’t mean.

In 1981, a year after the Religious Right abandoned Jimmy Carter, a born-again evangelical Christian, for Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham remarked, “It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.”

It’s Town Meeting time. But so what? Why should we care?

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?

Clark: Robert's Rules

Feb 27, 2018
Mark Bushnell, courtesy

A neighbor told me recently that his fifth-grade son was interested in Town Meeting. “He wants to learn more about – what’s that ‘order’ thing?”

Mares: Common Ground

Feb 27, 2018

I wish Americans today might follow the sensible example of an organization I’ve belonged to for quite a few years now.

On Nine-Eleven, 1997, the late actor Charlton Heston, best known for his role as Moses in The Ten Commandments, spoke at the National Press Club on behalf of the NRA.  Yes, the NRA had opposed the Brady Bill, but with Heston as its spokesperson, the gloves, or the silencer, came off.

Megan Polyte, courtesy

Recently, my family joined dozens of others from Mother Up!: Families Rise Up for Climate Action, a project of 350Vermont, to make a presentation to the Climate Solutions Caucus at the State House .

It’s happened again. This week massive ice jams and flooding set in motion by warm weather, rain and rising waters put people and property in danger.

Watts: Town Meeting

Feb 23, 2018

Legendary Vermont Political Scientist Frank Bryan is fond of saying “Real democracy takes place in small places” and drawing a direct line from ancient Greece to our New England Town meeting.

12521104 / iStock

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. Not for the cupids or romantic dinners with partners. But, for the holiday of grade school: when everyone got a Valentine, because it was a day to celebrate Love, writ large. An official day for Kindness.

In Vermont, there was relief when the State Police got a tip that may have prevented more school violence.

The target was Fair Haven High School near Rutland; the suspect was an 18 year old former student who had laid out his plans in a journal.

Adrian: Boldly Going

Feb 21, 2018

A couple of years ago, voters in Burlington overwhelmingly supported a local measure that would have restricted firearms in Burlington bars, required safe firearm storage within the city, and made it easier for police to confiscate guns in cases involving suspected domestic abuse. The legislature, controlled by a near supermajority of Democrats, failed to approve the special measure.

I recently happened upon a statement by a top Fox News exec that went something like this: In Olympics, let's focus on the winner of the race and not the race of the winner.

Levin: The Coyote Debate

Feb 20, 2018

Coyotes woke me up the other night with a serenade of the wildest kind echoing off the hills, a sound that makes me yearn for the passage of House Bill 636, which would make Vermont the only state besides California to ban coyote-hunting competitions.

Vogel: Impact Investing

Feb 19, 2018

Most of us have causes that we’re passionate about. In my case, I’m passionate about trying to eliminate homelessness and provide decent housing for low and moderate income families.

Kesha Ram, courtesy

In 1999, Portugal was the heroin capital of Europe, with fully one percent of the population addicted to hard drugs. But in 2001 they decriminalized all substances and spent a vast amount of their public money on treatment rather than drug enforcement.

It’s barely four months since the Las Vegas massacre, and already it’s all but forgotten. Now comes the Florida high school mass shooting and we must take steps to ensure it doesn’t become equally transitory.

Historian Kenneth Clark argued that, to survive, a civilization requires one thing above all: confidence. Confidence in itself; confidence in its culture and laws; confidence in the individual and collective capacities of its citizens to shape the future.

It’s such a joy to see the long list of Vermonters representing at the Olympic Games and fun to see the stories on so many athletes from Norwich. I grew up there with a generation of Olympic skiers and must be some sort of slacker.

Pages