by Kathy Wagner
When I was a young adult and throughout my middle years, I had confidence in my government. Legislation was written up in the House, the issues were discussed back and forth, compromises were attained by both sides and there was a balance in the final product. Citizens could publicly listen and be involved in voicing their opinions and concerns to their Representatives. One side wasn’t always winning. The media at that time made an effort to investigate the issue and report fairly. They were not so prone to bias, exaggeration and personal opinion.
Gradually this changed, but as long as the public paid attention, was informed and held their Representatives accountable, the bills that were passed seemed to be beneficial to the citizenry. Now it seems like in the blink of an eye all that has changed. In the last 17 months or so after we were hit with COVID, all of a sudden there was fear, chaos, confusion and mixed messages. At first, and rightly so with this new threat to the population, our government proceeded with a lockdown. Many medical experts voiced their opinions as to how we should treat this virus. As we proceeded through 2020 there were conflicting arguments regarding treatment and if the whole nation needed to continue in lockdown mode. A definite imbalance was affecting decisions and things heated up.
Throughout 2020 and still today COVID remains the main focus and concern of the majority of citizens. Unfortunately during these 17 months, beneath the surface, in my opinion, there were forces at work to take advantage of this crisis. We saw how the November 3 election created some serious concerns. Rather than given an opportunity to speak freely as in the past, anyone questioning the election procedures was suddenly and aggressively attacked by most media outlets. Then, moving on to a new administration, we immediately saw an avalanche of over 50 Executive Orders that made people’s heads spin! This was something totally new. Why? Where was the introduction of legislation in the chambers of Congress and the time-honored period of debate to SLOWLY consider the best results for the nation? Where was the balance? Why the rush? Our government had never worked that way before.
Closer to home, here in Vermont, there seems to be the same frantic rush to pass a slew of bills which the public has little forum to question. Zoom meetings are not conducive to those with legitimate concerns and who wish to confront our legislators face to face – as is our right. All of a sudden we see a move to defund the police, move BIPOC to the head of the line, allow 16-year-olds to vote, ensure that mail-in balloting is the way to vote, shame all white Vermonters, claiming they are white supremacists, infiltrate critical race theory in grade schools to taint our history by only teaching negative aspects of it. Is such negativity really healthy for our children’s mental well being and development?
And now there is a recommendation by the Vermont Tax Structure Commission to the legislature to place a 3.6% tax on over 200 goods and services!! Included in these categories are (goods) food, clothing, home energy, water, and (services) logging, carpentry, plumbing, home maintenance, etc.! OVER 200 goods and services! I say again, WHAT’S THE HURRY?
In closing, a well known phrase comes to mind – “never let a crisis go to waste.” Hmmm. I wonder where that originated?
The author is a Sandgate resident. Photo credit Robert Metz/Unsplash.