Editor’s note: This commentary is by Mary Daly, who lives in Peacham.
What is wrong with being a Republican? Well, actually nothing in my book. I have been a Republican all my voting life except for a very short time feeling more independent — I think someone named Nixon was embarrassing me at the time. Let me tell you what I think is right about being Republican.
First I like the independence I feel. I have always been independent in my thinking and acting. I’m not rash but always look at the big picture of any situation and make decisions accordingly. Many times I have heard of “a good idea” until the big picture is complete and I see the long term potential for problems. Right now I am struggling with the issue of solar power. Sure it is easy to think, why not, it’s free, right?
Well not so fast. First of all the arrays are very unsightly. Second, I have read pretty extensively about the subject and here is where the big picture comes in. The solar panels are expected to be productive for around 25 years and then will need to be replaced. So what happens to the obsolete ones, I ask? It seems these many panels will be broken up and put into landfills. There are toxic metals and chemical embedded in the panels. Apparently there are not enough of each substance to make it worth the time and effort to collect and dispose of them separately. Also, there are always those rumors about how children in Africa are forced to go into the mines and collect some of this stuff. Rumors are just that — rumors. So until they are verified I don’t put much faith in the information. But if they are true, it would be another negative. So I concentrate on saving energy in my daily life.
Republicans believe in personal responsibility for themselves and others. I really like that. I was a registered nurse for nearly 50 years. I saw my responsibility to help my patients and others to help themselves. Our welfare programs are critical, but often can make clients more dependent than less. My big picture here is that being dependent has the potential to be demeaning, whereas learning to be responsible for our own actions is uplifting. There is no question that the massive opioid drug problem affects many people and puts another perspective on the whole issue. But think about yourself when you have succeeded in some endeavor and feel good: Isn’t it important for everyone to be able to have a sense of pride in accomplishment? I think so. There are instances that handouts are certainly appropriate. However, when the situation is resolved those individuals deserve to feel the pride of accomplishment when they are able to take more responsibility for their own and their families life.
Fiscal responsibility is another Republican trait. I don’t like debt and at this point I am debt free. I had a 30-year mortgage once, had asked to have it reduced to 20 years, and was refused. Guess what? I paid it off in 12 years. Good fiscal management is extremely important to me. I started an IRA at age 35 after my then husband suggested it. It has made a positive difference in my retirement income. I urge all to start one as soon as they can. The fund earns interest income from the time you start on a program and even when you retire and start getting benefits paid back to you. Think of all the interest that your fund earns over all those years.
When I and my four siblings were getting closer to high school graduation and going to college, my parents responded. Dad was a dairy farmer and added a chicken business and one year even tried some truck gardening. To this day I do not like green beans. Mom went back to work teaching home economics and biology at the high school. Yes, there were still college loans, but not as much a there could have been without the extra income.
Private enterprise is another plus for Republicans. Individuals should be able to function in their business without oppressive government regulation. Being able to provide a service or a product is positive. Currently Vermont is losing business due to over regulation, expense (high Taxes) and difficulty finding qualified employees.
The Vermont’s motto is “Freedom and Unity.” I define that as the freedom to decide what will work best for any individual. Also freedom from high tax rates and programs like the Energy Efficiency Charge and the Electric Assistance Program Fee where your money goes into a pot to be doled out as the government sees fit. I personally have paid for upgrades to my homes to make them more energy efficient and would never think to expect anyone else to pay the bill for me. With the current emphasis on switching to solar energy and electric vehicles, I expect more of these programs in the future. Interestingly, I just read an article titled “NEK Grid Constrained By Too Much Renewable Energy.” I didn’t understand all the technical jargon, but I did understand the issues related to balance between generation and demand.
Not just in Vermont but throughout the country it seems like there is less unity every day. Negative press and protests are sprouting up everywhere. Can we take a step back and think of supporting each other and working together in unity? Please? I’m not suggesting that everyone change their personal preferences. Just put aside all the hate and try being more respectful of others.