Editor’s note: This commentary is by John de Bruin, founder and director of 802VT Alliance. He is a resident of Mt. Tabor.
I moved to Vermont some 35 years ago. Since my sister and brother-in-law had moved here six years earlier, and with our parents having just purchased their planned retirement home in Vermont, it made perfect sense to move here and be closer to my family. In the mid 1980s, Vermont’s economy was in decent shape, the political situation appeared to be fairly stable and people seemed much more relaxed. Looking back at how things were, I have to wonder if there is any hope or any future here anymore.
So what has changed?
For one, Vermont residents have been “bought out” by special interests. Confronted by pennies from heaven, how could the average Vermonter even begin to imagine the devastation all this outside money would cause toward the current economic and political climate of our state? How could they even have begun to think this would lead to Vermont’s potential demise? But in happened because they basically gave up — citizens have allowed outsiders to take over all aspects of life while they blissfully sat back and ignored the slow erosion of the values this state was built on.
As an outsider myself, my theory as to why it happened lies directly with the almighty dollar and the influx of out-of-state tourists, second-home ownership, as well as local businesses having been purchased by outside interests. As the old saying goes, “Money is the root of all evil.” In the face of so many dollars being freely offered, quite a few Vermonters “sold out.” They never realized that not only were they selling their properties but also selling out their lives, their traditions, their values and their freedoms. Politicians have folded under pressure and sold their souls to the “dollar gods.”
“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.” ― Calvin Coolidge
The new residents did not fully embrace the Vermont lifestyle, but rather chose to change it and emulate what they had left behind in their old states. With the influx of new residents also came demands for more services, more conveniences and a different “lifestyle” that they would consider an upgrade here, but something they were accustomed to having back home. A new and upgraded lifestyle is nice, because it offers more, but at what cost? What is the ultimate price we all must pay to make Vermont the new New Jersey?
I also have watched the erosion even further after these “transplants” began to take an interest in local and state politics. Could this have all been planned, or were they just bored and needed something to occupy their time? As it turns out, the majority of people running for public office — from local towns or school boards to major state seats — have been the wealthy elites, retirees or “trust fund babies” who have all the time in the world to play politician. Yet the average working Vermonter must earn his daily bread and work for a living to support a family. The average Vermonter does not have the luxury of time, nor money, to run for an elected office, which makes politics a one sided affair. Vermonters, through no fault of their own, have left the door wide open to a state takeover by elitists.
What is the ultimate price of a progressive left political agenda? Can we afford to sit back any longer? Haven’t we, the citizens of Vermont, been subjected to their control and abuse long enough? We have an ever-increasing tax burden that places Vermont in the top most taxed states in the nation. Does little Vermont — with its dwindling population, obvious lack of services and malfunctioning education system — really need a $6 billion annual operating budget that rivals growing New Hampshire? With our population of only 620,000 citizens, why do we need 12,500 state employees? What ever happened to fiscal responsibility and being held accountable to the people?
Another issue is the first ever anti-law-abiding citizen, anti-self-defense gun laws passed in 2018. These have no effect on criminal behavior and do nothing to address mental health or school safety issues. Even so, they want to further restrict our self-protection gun rights in 2020 with more lack-of-common-sense legislation.
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” ― Calvin Coolidge
Next, there is the anti-business legislation known as Act 250, which has morphed into a venomous, multi-headed Hydra, forcing business after business to close their doors or leave Vermont in record numbers. Their latest 84 page addition, which will likely restrict business and private enterprise, as well as private property rights, will certainly be the straw that broke the camel’s back for any potential economic growth for Vermont.
The latest progressive disaster has been the approval of the full-term abortion bill known as H.57, which goes way beyond the rights already established by Roe v. Wade. And now they want to codify our Vermont Constitution with Proposition 5 to add full term abortion, since they consider a fetus as a “non-citizen.”
An ongoing non-fact-based climate change agenda will force Vermont (the cleanest state in the Union) back into the dark ages with carbon taxes, mandated elimination of fossil fuels, and an attempt to ban internal combustion engines. They will push to force all Vermonters to purchase an electric car, when placing “green energy” solar panel farms everywhere has already had a detrimental effect on our landscape. Billboards have been outlawed in Vermont for decades, but 150-200 acre solar farms are OK? Mother Nature has no bank account, nor does she care about or have use for money. The only ones who will benefit from a carbon tax will be the agenda pushers who will use those funds for more idiotic and wasteful programs. The human race has no control over climate change.
It’s time to stop and look at the entire picture of what has happened to Vermont, thanks to voter apathy and an unwillingness to get involved. Every two years Vermonters have a chance to make a difference, and every two years we have failed to rally behind what needs to be done at the voting booth. Are you tired of being used as a petri dish for the whole United States? I know I am. We the people have just about had enough of political BS — politicians work for us, we do not work for them. It is time to hold them accountable at the voting booth for violating their oath of office to protect the people.
“It is our theory that the people own the government, not that the government should own the people.” ― Calvin Coolidge