I recently completed visiting the 251 towns in Vermont. My travels around this state make me proud to have lived here for more than 60 years. I’ve lived in many states, and my love of Vermont always brought me back here. Yes, we have problems and disagreements, but most of us have civil discussions in the ways we solve those problems, and our actions show we care about our community and each other.

On my trips around the state, I saw evidence of that care. A sign in Sutton said “successful students, devoted teachers, caring community.” The poster in front of the Halifax school reminded students, “We miss you for your hard work and dedication.” When Governor Scott dedicated the new bridge between Richford and Sutton, Canada, he said: “At a time when political polarization is magnified by conflict, others can learn by observing Vermont and its partnerships. The type of relationship, the ability to work together to find ways we can continue to trade as well as help each other out, is more important than ever.”

But unlike the Vermont towns I visited, we live in a country where the right has been stoking distrust of the media and of governmental institutions for decades. And Donald Trump’s big lie does everything to heighten the distrust, claiming voter fraud and election rigging in 2020. The danger of the big lie is not just about voting in the midterms and 2024, but the destruction of faith in the core of our democracy — free and fair elections. That’s why we all, even Vermonters, have a responsibility to confront it with truth whenever we can.

My ideas to confront the big lie are: insist that Republicans seeking public and state office speak out against the big lie; vote, vote big in town and national elections; stay informed. We have a good local newspaper in central Vermont, but national media can be overwhelming. Robert B. Hubbell, writer of a daily newsletter, and Heather Fox Richardson, professor of history at Boston University (both available on the internet), can help us to stay informed by giving us an easy-to-read extensive analysis of national issues. Hubbell says, “don’t worry, don’t withdraw from the chaos, take action.”

Esther Farnsworth lives in Montpelier.

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