Danforth’s Vermont is Not the Reality

It’s impossible to think, no, it’s ridiculous to think, that one’s connection to a place or a community is based solely on their mere presence.

But the infinite wisdom of Cynic Editor In Chief, Austin Danforth, implied this very notion in his recent editorial, “Defining A Vermonter.”

I guess I’m just a stupid hick and still believe in the “silly” notion that it takes a little more than a six pack of Magic Hat’s # 9 and a stack of lift tickets connected to the zipper of a $400 North Face jacket to deem someone a “Vermonter.”

What Danforth fails to recognize is the erosion of a real and specific set of values that are being smothered by a constant infiltration of upper middle class suburbanites hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of their hectic lives by coming to Vermont to live the “good life.” It’s really a great concept, until “progress” in the way of businesses, box stores and other forms of economic development try to set up shop in their little slice of heaven. This is the problem.

A Vermonter isn’t someone who can trace his lineage back to Thomas Chittenden or William Slade, but having roots here is important. Not necessarily to validate your voice, but to affirm an understanding of our history and our way of life.

Your “cuddly” definition of the population is lacking in so many ways. You fail to mention that most native Vermont students simply cannot pay UVM’s instate tuition, the highest in the country. You fail to mention that more high school students leave Vermont for education and job opportunities than any other state in the nation. You fail to mention that Vermont comes with highest cost of living in the country, and crippling property taxes which force families who have been here for centuries to sell the land, to sell the farm and abandon their roots. The “quaint” picture you paint of my home is so misleading that it scares me.

Is this really the Vermont you see, or the Vermont you want to see? Do you ever wonder how the middle aged man who helps you onto the chair lift lives on $7.50 an hour?

Or do you just marvel at the weekend’s snow fall?

Wealthy out of staters have stunted Vermont’s ability to attract business and jobs and thus, thrown the price tag of an eccentric state government on the back of property owners. After all, why on earth would they want a WalMart or new factory. That’s why they left Connecticut. So let’s review.

No jobs, combined with an unreasonably high cost of living and sky rocketing taxes leads to… angry Vermonters. Who isn’t mad?

Austin Danforth. It’s hard to under-stand the plight of the Vermonter when you obviously have no idea why we’re so ticked off, why we’re so unwilling to ac-cept outsiders, and why we’re so damn proud. Don’t worry though Austin, you won’t be here long, you’ll need to leave to find a job.