Nation deserves better
While attending the 2012 Vermont Chamber of Commerce luncheon to hear Premier Jean Charest of Quebec, I was given a button, which at the time, made no sense: “I Do It — The Vermont Way.”
After hearing Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s introductory remarks on our relationship with Canada, I now wear the button with tremendous state pride.
In 2010, then-Democratic State Sen. Peter Shumlin was running against Republican Lt. Gov. Brain Dubie for governor of Vermont. It was a bitterly fought election, which the Democratic candidate won by just a few thousand votes. At the luncheon, to my surprise, was former Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie. Shumlin informed us that shortly after that bitterly contested election, Brian Dubie, and his former chief-of-staff Martha Hanson, and then-Gov. James Douglas invited the newly elected governor for a car ride. They drove to Montreal, and then to Quebec, where Dubie, Douglas and Hanson introduced our new governor to Canadian officials they had developed personal and political relationships with over the years.
To digress, it has been reported that shortly before his death, Steve Jobs told his heir apparent, Tim Cook, “Just do the right thing.” To the great credit of our state Republican leaders — Douglas, Dubie and Hanson — did the right thing for the good of our state economy and the well being of our citizens.
What shocked me about this wonderful story of political civility in our state is the knowledge that on the very day of national celebration of a peaceful transfer of power to our 44th president of the United States — during the historic inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009 — top Republican leaders were meeting to develop a blatant right-wing agenda to undermine and obstruct the new Democratic administration.
Those very partisan leaders — Republican pollster Mark Lund and politicians Newt Gingrich, Reps. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor — put their quest for political power ahead of national self interest unlike what our Vermont state leaders did in the Green Mountain State. As a result, we now know the sorry state of partisan national affairs on Capitol Hill.
For the good of our country, I will be sending Lund, Gingrich, Ryan and Cantor a few of our “I Do It — the Vermont Way” buttons. Hopefully, the pins just may prick them to do what is best for our country — not what is best for obtaining self-interest political gain.
In this current age of polarization, we deserve better along with a more adult civil dialogue,
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