The news these days isn’t that great. Bernie conceded the Democratic primary campaign to Hillary, Trump dominated the Republicans, and as a nation, we are approaching a national election in which millions of Americans are disenchanted, if not disgusted. Meanwhile, “the Donald” fired his pro-Russia campaign manager and instead brought on the most radical right-wing media elements (Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, the disgraced former head of Fox News Roger Ailes) and others — whose calling cards are spreading misinformation in a bald-faced attempt to confuse voters to the point they react emotionally to issues rather than with facts.
And, yet, in Vermont we’ve had a glorious summer.
In world affairs, Turkey squashed a military coup and is cracking down on political freedoms, Syria’s civil war continues to deteriorate, the stability of Afghanistan’s government continues to waver, Africa is a mixed caldron of possibilities and hopelessness, North Korea issues its ominous (but mostly empty) threats, Russian forces threaten the Ukraine, China’s economic and military might is expanding and Britain exited the European Union. American forces, meanwhile, are creeping back into conflicts in Libya and Iraq to fight the Islamic State.
And, yet, in Vermont, we’ve had almost no mosquitoes this summer, rain enough to keep the grass from dying and the vegetables growing and glorious weekends to enjoy hiking, biking, running, paddling, sailing, windsurfing, kite-boarding and mountain biking on trail systems that are growing bigger and more sophisticated day-by-day.
Nationwide, the economy continues its steady march out of the depths of the Great Recession, racking up steading growth and the second strongest bull market in Wall Street’s history over the past eight years (contrary to the conservative media’s constant stream of misinformation that the economic is in the doldrums). And yet it is an economy that benefits the wealthy more than America’s middle or lower classes.
And yet, in Vermont, wages have been on the upswing, unemployment is as low as it goes and job opportunities in certain parts of the state are plentiful. The state’s economy could always be better, taxes could be lower, the water in Lake Champlain could be cleaner, we could emit less carbon dioxide, schools could produce better educational outcomes, but we are at least having adult conversations and addressing those issues forthrightly.
It’s not a perfect world out there, and where we live is not an idyllic version of Camelot, but amidst the national and world problems, don’t forget to notice that it has been a glorious summer in Vermont.
Angelo Lynn is co-publisher of The Colchester Sun.