Commentary Series

I wonder what Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr would have thought about Twitter. Limited to one hundred and forty characters, today's tweets are commonly regarded as disposable political rhetoric.

Ticks move like zombies; one speed, one direction, a stiff, endless, methodical forward plod… best described as creepy.

A friend of mine recently lost her job as a reporter - a job she loved. Every day she woke up and thought about how to capture the news and bring valuable information to her readers.

Vermont, like the rest of the nation, is facing an imminent shortage of primary care doctors.

I know I’m not the only history teacher who’s been wrestling with profound doubts about what we’ve done or, perhaps, what we haven’t. Given the erosion of civility, even of rationality, and the increasing divisiveness that characterize our national discourse, we can’t avoid wondering if our work has been so poor that we’ve contributed to today’s civic chaos.

Since we’re so dependent on cars up here, it seems counter-intuitive that there suddenly wouldn’t be enough workers to service them. But one of my local garages has been chronically short handed for months, while another has just hired and they’re training the new help from the ground up.

When I recently attended an event in my town to discuss current issues facing seniors, I had high expectations. I wanted to learn what people like me - who identify as ‘neither young nor old’ - could contribute to our community’s well-being.

Old houses have stories to tell. And none is a more eloquent storyteller than the homestead of Justin Smith Morrill in Strafford.

Viewing the solar eclipse this week, I recalled how, in 1986, I looked skyward for Halley’s Comet, drawn to the rare, the cyclical, the stellar - as people are every seventy-five years when the comet comes around again. I was a high school English teacher. It was less than a week after Epiphany and the coldest day of the year.

In 1998, I was working in Atlanta – and took a trip to Stone Mountain, a confederate monument about a half-hour east of the city.

Most of my Vermont neighbors are concerned and well-meaning. And most can’t imagine that what happened in Charlottesville could ever happen here. But white supremacists have been in the Green Mountains for a very long time.

In April of 1968, as I was graduating from boarding school near Baltimore, the city went up in flames, as protesters raged over the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I was only dimly aware of that turmoil.

Craven: Uncivil Wars

Aug 22, 2017

My Texas grandmother’s relatives fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. She remembered a time, as a kid, meeting an older second cousin who’d served as a water boy in the Texas Brigade. My grandfather fought in the trenches of France during World War I and family members of his had fought in the Maine Infantry of the Union Army.

The principle of free speech is again being debated in the streets, in op-ed columns, and between opposing ideologies. Although principles are often deemed absolute, their legal application is most often contextual … and therein lies the rub. The context often cited is that it’s illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theater unless there’s a fire.

In his 1944 book Anti-Semite and Jew French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that we should “never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves," he concludes, "for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words.”

Beaupre: Racist Threat

Aug 18, 2017

The Klan is no longer hiding under cover of darkness. The group now includes women, and they go out in daylight uncovered to assert their right to believe in their supremacy over everyone else – leading me to wonder if we’re losing our hard-won progress toward inclusiveness and tolerance.

The white supremacist events in Charlottesville are terrifying, especially for African Americans, Latinxs, Asians, American Indians and all people of color.

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

Our heroic Revolutionary War heritage sleeps quietly at Mount Independence. But the Mount, a point that thrusts north into Lake Champlain opposite Fort Ticonderoga, has important, dramatic stories to tell.

Members of Black Lives Matter have suggested that stemming the rising tide of racism in this country cannot be led by people of color. Ebony Nyoni, co-founder of the Vermont chapter of the organization said recently, “This isn’t our battle anymore; it’s yours and we can’t forgive you if you don’t ask for forgiveness.”

Twenty-three percent of deaths world-wide are directly or indirectly caused by outdoor and indoor air pollution, according to the World Health Organization. This sobering statistic is mobilizing much of the world to take action against the dire effects of climate change.

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