David Moats

Commentator

David Moats is an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Moats: Rutland 1941

2 hours ago
The Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Lions District 45

A friend of mine came across some old film recently showing street scenes of Rutland in 1941, and it’s a revealing trip back in time. The Rutland Lions Club made the film, which eventually came into the hands of the Rutland Historical Society.

iStock / iMrSquid

Gender roles in politics usually get discussed in relation to women and the pressure they face always to be nice and unthreatening — competent, but not too smart.

Moats: Faces

Feb 26, 2019
BrAt_PeKaChU / iStock

In Vermont, candidates depend less on television to establish themselves in the minds of voters. Here we’re more likely to meet them in person and to size them up as actual people. And this connection gives a comforting sense that, at least in Vermont, democracy still works. But these days with media everywhere, most of the country seems newly vulnerable to the power of the image to overshadow the subtlety and nuance of actual reality.

The Vermont Historical Society

The other day I came across a pamphlet published by the Ford Motor Company in 1954 with little essays describing tours you could take on the roads of New England — Ford’s way of getting people out driving their cars.

Moats: Time

Jan 7, 2019
William L. Moats Sr. in upper left corner, by means of a timer

The start of a new year is a marker causing us to think about where we are in a life span that may end up giving us 70, or 80, or 90 years.

Moats: Values

Dec 17, 2018
MarBom / iStock

Nobody knows the future, but in times of uncertainty like these, what we don’t know feels like an expanding universe of dire possibilities.

Moats: Division

Dec 4, 2018

There’s a political cliche, frequently repeated, that’s creating the wrong picture of our country.

AP Photo/File

With Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate digging in for political battles to come, you can sense there’s history happening.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A friend who lives in another part of the country told me that shortly after the last election she overheard a group of teenage girls at a swimming pool, and one was saying, “At least now we can get rid of the Jews.”

Moats: Me Too

Oct 22, 2018
Pool photo via AP, Tom Williams, 20180927

One question I have for the big shot men who've been accused of abusive behavior toward women is this: Don’t you see what losers you are if you have to use your power or celebrity to force yourself on women?

AP Photo/Warren Winterbottom, File

Maybe it’s the toxic quality of politics today, or a general sense of unease about the future, but my thoughts – and the thoughts of many others - have been returning to another time of anger and division - and the ways that history affects us.

Moats: Climate

Sep 11, 2018
Toker / iStock

The record that sticks in my mind came the night when Burlington never fell below 80 degrees. That’s not what you call sleeping weather.

Moats: Labor Today

Sep 3, 2018
Saklakova / iStock

Vermont’s labor history includes the farm work that took place in virtually every town — the farm families who labored every day to till rocky fields, bring in the crops and tend to their animals.

David Moats

It was 1965 when the delegates of the United Nations gathered in San Francisco to celebrate the founding of the U.N. in that city 20 years before. I was a curious teenager, so together with my pal Pete, we snuck into the Opera House as anniversary preparations were under way — to get a glimpse of history.

I was driving through the empty, sage-covered rangeland of eastern Washington one time when I saw a giant sign that said “Ron Paul for President.”

Journalists are a little like doctors. Sometimes they have to give people bad news. The difference is there’s no arguing with a heart attack.

It all depends on how you look at it. That’s what a friend was saying about how the telling of history shapes the way we see things.

Moats: School Funding

Jun 5, 2018

Ever since I began writing about Vermont schools — more than 40 years ago — I’ve been struck by a couple of things.

I happened to be in Montgomery, Alabama, the day after the opening of the new memorial for the nation’s victims of lynching. It’s called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Moats: Twitter Power

Apr 23, 2018

People sometimes ask, “Why can’t the media just ignore the crazy tweets coming out of the White House?”

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