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Living in Vermont surrounded by Vermonters, it’s hard to know what the rest of the world thinks of our little state. My sense is that everyone else considers ours to be a kind of quaint little place, a somewhat odd anachronism in the modern world populated by slightly old-fashioned, slightly wacky, fairly far left-leaning folk just crazy enough to send socialists to Congress, endure unspeakable winters, and live miles from the nearest anything unless you count the farm down the road, the weekend chicken pie suppers, the general store, and, of course, the forests and mountains, which we here all definitely do.
Fair enough, I suppose. In Vermont we do often find ourselves a bit out of step with the rest of the world and quite contentedly so. You can drive for hours through nothing but bucolic scenes of pastoral paradise that seem like relics from a lost age. And it’s true that we Vermonters are, for the most part, quite happy living in relatively simple and traditional ways in a rare landscape where humanity and nature have learned to peacefully coexist. But if you pull off the highway and start poking around, you’ll find something else: people young and old forging the future for the rest of the world.
White Rhino sent me this very cool video link this morning. Made by YERT, it does a great job of summing up a very real spirit that many people don’t realize is a big part of the fabric of Vermont life, which is that as much we may keep the past alive up here in how we choose to live, we are also very much living in the future. In fact, I’d have to say that we probably put more hare-brained progressive ideas and crazy (r)evolutionary notions in play per day than the rest of the country combined. As YERT notes, we are indeed connected to each other and to the natural world we depend upon in ways that have gone missing in much of the rest of the country.
Calvin Coolidge once said that “if the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont." To that I would add that when the nation wonders where we go from here, we in Vermont can supply the answers it needs. We’re ready whenever everyone else is…