A big thumbs up to Gov. Phil Scott for standing up for the nation and saying President Trump needs to be removed from office — one way or another. It was a bold move on the final day of Scott’s second term. Of course, the vicious hoard that wants nothing other than to see the world burn right now is going to bloviate and threaten, but there is an entire nation standing cross-armed and scoldingly looking on. Yesterday marked the end of an era — not the start of one.

A thumbs up to U.S. Rep. Peter Welch who inferred the same — get out! — and suggested that he will be among the first members of the House of Representatives to sign on to articles of impeachment, if proposed.

A thumbs up on Thursday to Mark Zuckerberg, who — like the rest of us — is sick of the lies, assaults on the rule of law, misinformation, obfuscation, bullying, whining, sneering … Zuckerberg took away Trump’s Facebook account. Indefinitely. About 100 percent of the time, we are not fans of Zuckerberg and the social media triumvirate that have reshaped how we act and treat one another (poorly, if you need a reminder), but he gets kudos for taking one of the toys away.

A thumbs up to the District Attorney in Washington, D.C., who has agreed to investigate Trump’s comments leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection in order to determine if criminal charges need to be brought. (That would probably dovetail nicely with the whole articles of impeachment thing.)

Sit down for this one, folks: Thumbs up to Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for upholding the U.S. Constitution and the tenets of our democracy despite pressure from an autocrat and his lackeys. Congress got the job done in the face of adversity.

A thumbs up to all of the Vermont statewide office holders, and the lawmakers, who were sworn in over the last few days. We need strong, sound leadership right now. If we have any advice for you all it’s this: Don’t screw this up. Seriously, integrity and trust seems a little threadbare at the moment, so maybe go the extra mile to listen to constituents’ concerns, help when you can, and put your self-interests on a bus to somewhere else, far, far away.

Speaking of which … a huge, huge, huge thumbs down the pro-Trump supporters from Vermont who took a bus to Washington, D.C., to join Trump’s call to descend on the nation’s capital with the intent of disrupting the U.S. Congress certification of the the Electoral College votes. We are going to give the busload of Vermonters the benefit of the doubt, and believe that none of them went to D.C. with the intent to do damage or cause violence. The First Amendment says they have the right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That’s where our support of their little jaunt stops.

A video, taken on the bus trip to Washington, D.C., shows the participants not wearing masks. It is a 10-hour trip to the U.S. Capitol from Montpelier. And certainly coverage of the insurrection in D.C. would suggest there were not a lot of masks being worn in any effort to stop the pandemic — which, by the way is not a hoax — from spreading.

Seven Days reported the bus returned to Vermont at 3 a.m., so everyone is home, safe and sound. Again, we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume after their big trip to D.C., all of those Vermonters (by our count at least 50) are at home and quarantining now. Because, potentially, every single person of that “Vermont delegation” is now a potential “super spreader.”

And while we don’t know who, specifically, rode the bus (by name), you can try to spot any folks you might know, because they took a video of themselves on the bus and posted it on social media. It can be viewed at bit.ly/vtbus0106 In the interest of public health, you should watch the video, folks. These Vermonters are irresponsible and are delusional to believe that there was no one attending Wednesday’s uprising at the U.S. Capitol who has COVID-19. There was. Statistically speaking, and numbers don’t lie, it’s a fact. Shame on them for all of the obvious reasons. Their irresponsibility could cause great harm.

Why would we be so indignant? Because Vermont’s COVID numbers spiked again. Spiked a lot. On Wednesday, the state reported the second-highest number of COVID cases since the pandemic lockdown some 10 months ago now. That would signal a thumbs down to all Vermonters: We cannot let our guard down. The death count in the state has grown to 150; hospitalizations are at a new high. If — and this is going to be key in the coming days — we all actually did what we were supposed to do over the holidays (stay put; don’t travel; don’t toggle between multiple households; wear masks; hand-sanitize; and social distance), we might … might … see the COVID numbers abate. But we are a cynical bunch here. We’re hoping to be proven wrong. On a lot of counts. Public health and safety right now is critical. The pandemic is real.

Just one more nod to a loser: Donald J. Trump. We know why, even if you don’t.

Oops, that wasn’t a thumb.

This editorial first appeared in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus on Jan. 8.

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