Yes, that’s apparently a serious question.
Online petitions have become a popular way to rally around various social issues in recent years. “Justice for George Floyd” has garnered 19,500,592 online signatures at the time I am writing this. I spotted a far more trivial petition yesterday on Change.org innocuously entitled “Change WRJ to River Junction.” Before reading the petition itself, one can deduce that “WRJ” stands for “White River Junction” a town in central Vermont close to the New Hampshire border, population 2,200. The abbreviation seems normal enough in this age of acronyms, but hints at absurdity later on. Notice how the word “white” is avoided.
Covid 19 is going to change how many things are done around the world even long after it’s gone, and some for the better. Business leaders are already blown away by how the virus has spurred technology innovations and changes to corporate culture. Reforms that would have taken years or never come to fruition at all are happening overnight in Lockdown Land. Telemedicine is taking off, for example, and companies are embracing the benefits of telecommuting to save on office space and travel expenses.
One casualty of the Covid innovation revolution is going to be the public school system. Last spring this “unsinkable” juggernaut of political, financial, and cultural power, steaming along at full speed, hit the iceberg. This fall that ship will break apart.
Olivia de Havilland died last week at the age of 104. She was remembered by most for her role as Melanie in Gone with the Wind, but for me she will always be Maid Marian in the 1938 Warner Brothers production of Robin Hood. For years I have held that up to my children as the finest movie ever made.
As Governor Scott’s mask mandate looms on August 1, a popular question many Vermonters are asking is “how strictly will it be enforced?” Perhaps nothing much will change, as the vast majority of Vermonters already wear masks when out in public. Maybe police will only give warnings. Maybe it will be enforced by social shaming rather than fines and imprisonment. Or maybe Vermont will follow after Florida, where people are being fined $100 for taking off their masks in nearly-empty parking lots after grocery shopping.
If the state views universal mask wearing as the single most important goal for keeping Covid-19 at bay, perhaps we should ask- “has the law been upheld impartially with a lack of personal vindictiveness during the pandemic?” Is the law a line that any self-respecting Vermonter will not cross, because they believe upholding the law is a sacred societal bond, personal beliefs about the mask mandate aside?
Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a “news talk” radio show (not an editorial or opinion show), and is an affiliated reporter with VT Digger. Today he was allowed to publish on that last platform a personal attack on another journalist, Guy Page, writer/publisher of Vermont Daily and news editor with VTWatercooler.com.
The pressure of the pandemic and imminent huge budget deficits require that Vermont launch a thoroughgoing Performance Review, not just to “squeeze out waste”, but to bring state government back to focusing its core functions. Barack Obama can explain to Democrats the need to tackle this task.