Is there anything that one might want to recall about the year that is, was, and has been 2019? Why look to the past when we could be preparing for the future? I’ll tell you why; so we don’t keep repeating the same mistakes. Although repeating the same mistakes seems to be a theme for the year that is coming to a close in a few short hours.
Even all the way back in January, we still believed that Burlington was going to put something in their pit. Ah, the naivete of youth. How many times will they fool us? And Gov. Scott once again spent his month trying to figure out how to fund the government without needing any taxes whatsoever. He’s still working on that.
We also learned no lessons in February, when tolerance was at an all time low, buildings were defaced, and art once again failed to defeat racism once and for all. But we tried at least. And I’m sure we’ll try again. Burlington was in the news for a minor police scandal, which of course we now know was only a warm-up act, and, oh yeah, even more intolerance, this time from a church. Weird.
In March our minds turned to politics, as Town Meeting Day gave us hope that the trivial might trump the tragic, but we had learned nothing from past years. Voters were just as ridiculous as they ever had been. And so we all set to complaining about road construction, or the lack of road construction, or something something roads bad drivers bad grrrrrr.
Famed satire site The Winooski tried to go legit in April, but it didn’t work out. It was a time of civil unrest. South Canada nearly got itself all invaded, there were riots in Burlington, and Notre Dame cathedral caught fire. That last bit didn’t happen in Vermont, but it was still quite upsetting.
Vermonters spent much of May worrying about why nobody wanted to live in their state. After all, they are usually so warm and welcoming to outsiders. In the spirit of not learning from the past, we even resurrected some old schemes to increase the population. But of course, they did not work. Again.
The weather got a little nicer in June, which meant it was protesting season once again. Vermonters around the state grabbed their posterboards and markers and took to the streets, angrily yelling about everything from sexist soccer salaries to deafening jets. They shouted about weeds and parks, and this continued all the way into…
…July, when the protesting got ridiculous. So we gave up and moved on to more pleasant things, like driving too fast and eating maple creemees. Of course summer wasn’t without its stresses. Temperatures reached levels that would be considered normal for Florida, and everyone tried to get rid of their old junk, only to discover that they had replaced it with newer junk.
Luckily August came along, and we started to make some real progress. We banned practices that were bad for the environment. We learned how to cross the Winooski rotary more safely. We made our state safer from potential mass shootings. We were getting stuff done! Burlington even decided to go all in with the pit concept, and add a trench! Things were looking up!
But then September happened. There was a huge Sasquatch scandal at a prominent newspaper. Low vaccination rates lead to a rise in diseases long thought eradicated. The beloved, community-destroying F-35s were stolen by pirates. UVM’s egyptology department was convicted of running a pyramid scheme. All our progress and hard work was evaporating, despite important state visits by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Guy Fieri. It was a dark time.
Or was the darkness merely the onset of autumn and October? The days were getting shorter, but we held joy in our hearts as we celebrated Indigenous Columbus Day. Halloween approached, and we took our darker instincts and used them for good. Even churches were getting in the spirit!
November brought us an early winter, as tensions remained high. Politics had divided a nation, and now a state. This was odd, as so many Vermonters were extremely moderate and reasonable in their views. Fortunately, state residents were able to sit down and discuss their views with their like-minded relatives at the end of the month. Every room in the state was filled with turkeys.
And so here we are. December. Are we any better off than we were a year ago? Have we learned anything? Baby Yoda is still hungry and poor. We still don’t know what to do about guns. Burlington’s police department is still a hot mess. The church is still in some sort of nebulous culture war. And the state is still full of pits.
So we can look back on the year and wonder why we learned so little, or we can look forward with the hope that we will learn and grow in 2020. I mean, we won’t, obviously. Looking back it’s very clear that we never learn anything. But at this moment, at this cusp of a new decade, at least we can have hope. At least we can resolve to be better. Because, really, is there anything more unfailing and reliable than a new year’s resolution?