Insofar as the second part of the motto, Unity, in Vermont, in 2012, it leaves a great deal to be desired. We are far from being united - thanks in part to our current political incumbents. It seems like they are on a quest to drive a wedge between what they believe are the fortunate and unfortunate Vermonters.
These long serving politicians do not hesitate to play the "class status card" when seeking support from voters. Vermonters are categorized - you are either wealthy, middle class or lower class, the latter at times referred to as the working class.
But who really knows what is the definition of such categorizations and is it really important in the final analysis? And should there be even more subdivision of class - for example, lower class, upper middle class or lower middle class and middle upper wealthy? How senseless.
During the recent, first Presidential debate and before 50 million plus viewers the candidates referred to the phrase "the middle class" no less than 23 times. Watching the debate from 800 miles away my daughter called during the performance and asked, "am I middle class?"... how pathetic. I told her that if she needed a class status, she is first class and leave it at that. Unfortunately, that's not to be the case, especially here in Vermont - with Bernie making "no bones" about setting the "working class" against
The other word in our state motto, Freedom is definitely no longer relevant and might be in need of revision. Exactly how free are we as individuals when so much of our daily lives has been regulated or comes under scrutiny by government?
The implementation of countless laws, regulations and rules, most with a well meaning and stated purpose, are nevertheless an erosion of freedom, and not to leave out, the abdication of local control to the state. And shortly, the "mother of all regulations", the Affordable Care Act and Governor Shumlin's Green Mountain Care, will be nothing short of invasiveness and the abdication of our independence. And in due time, we will all be monitored and dictated to as to the extent of health care we can expect, what we drink, eat and exercised. How else can government control healthcare costs without being the watchdog over our individual behavior? We asked for it and it will be here in a few years.
Furthermore, how much freedom does one have when his/hers financial and physical well being are solely attributable to one or more state agencies. There is absolutely no way one is truly free when their basic livelihood is tethered to funds or services provided by Montpelier.
Senator Sanders and Governor Shumlin have done a splendid job in setting us apart. When we were one seems a long time ago. And how disingenuous they are in doing so - and for what ultimate goal?
Some would advance that the motto "Freedom and Unity" needs revising. And just to keep it simple, clear and relevant would adopt a new motto "Success is Suspect" because it does project the attitude of the majority. We must not allow for this to happen. It is time for the politicians to end driving a wedge between us. We are Vermonters and Americans. Class characterization is not what we want.
Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington