Weiland Ross: On the road to a two-class society with no middle
The first story to consider is the fate of the ITV Fest. This was praised as a great event for Manchester as well as Vermont in general. It seemed to be a huge success with thousands of creative people and their backers descending on us. By all accounts they found the Northshire to be a fine place.
The local movers and shakers beamed with pride until the punch line of this episode landed with a thud. The ITV Fest is moving to Minnesota. It was fun while it lasted, and they liked our scenery and restaurants, but, it dawned on them that we have no facilities or amenities to sustain the needs of this dynamic group for any extended period. The big one got away.
This story was set against the backdrop of the constant drumbeat of Vermont's ever-present problems. Our economy is struggling, we don't retain or attract enough younger people to stay here and build the state. The image we present to the outside world is one of high taxes, an aging population and an official attitude that discourages major industries from considering Vermont as a desirable place locate any industry that will be the kind of development that provides substantial employment and provides a reliable economic base for any extended time.
The results of the last election reinforce this perception. Politically, we have become a one-party state. The Republican party is almost extinct. One local unsuccessful Republican candidate blamed this on President Trump, claiming that his loss was somehow caused by the strong anti-Trump sentiments of many voters.
I think that this is an incomplete assessment that ignores what has happened to the voting patterns in Vermont.
In the past, the Republican party has been the party of common sense. They stressed putting the interests of Vermont first and always sought fiscal responsibility. Their criteria were always "Can we achieve this goal? Is this necessary for our state? Can we afford it?"
This viewpoint has been replaced by a majority party that seems hell-bent on trying to remake Vermont in the image of California. Too many of the majority voters see themselves as citizens of the world instead of citizens of Vermont.
They advocate policies that seem positive but in reality harm our population, i.e., the carbon tax to repeal climate change but will benefit no one in our rural state.
They support sanctuary cities and demonstrate for the welfare of illegal border jumpers. They want to change our elections to an instant runoff system that makes it possible for the person who finishes third to actually be declared the winner. The list goes on.
Where all this is going old Janus couldn't predict. I will go out on my limb and predict that if Vermont voters do not wake up and put their own interests first we will continue on the path of turning Vermont into a two-classsociety with no middle and not enough people to sustain our state as a viable entity.
Weiland Ross lives in Sunderland.
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