Okay, some might not consider Vermont paradise in January. Deep, white-out winter beauty is not for everybody. But Vermont is indeed a beautiful place of clean, small towns, deep woods, pleasing mountain vistas, and a glorious history. I’ve been to Vermont numerous times, including in January, and have found it simpatico (make that sympathique).
For most of its history, Vermont has been populated almost exclusively by self-reliant patriots. But alas, thanks to an invasion of leftists from other states, and young, real Vermonters leaving the state in search of better job opportunities, it has an iffy present and a bleak future. The change has been pretty rapid, as these things are measured. Vermont went from being a reliable Republican win in presidential elections as recently as 1988, to becoming a reliable two to one win for Democrats now. In 2012 Barack Obama beat New Englander Mitt Romney 199,239 to 92,696. Small numbers, so you can see how it doesn’t take long to alter things in a state with a population — 626K and change — that is about half that of the Florida county I live in.
For TAS readers who missed it last week, I lift up John Calvin’s “Vermont’s Pride Goeth Before Its Self-Destruction.” It’s not a happy read, but it’s a fair analysis of how leftist carpet-baggers are squeezing the life out of one of the most charming places in the lower-48. They’ve done it in Vermont, as they’ve done it elsewhere, through the usual devices: high taxes, crack-pot left social engineering, and endless nanny-state requirements and government programs that are vile to red-blooded Americanos, but cat-nip to Ben and Jerry’s, PBS tote-bag types who have been invading Vermont in recent years, mostly from New York and Massachusetts.
Calvin catalogues some of the more absurd desecrations. As usual, when the left invades, the first to fall are the universities. No different in Vermont. Imagine a three-day guilt trip, pity-party, and nagging session called “Examining White Privilege,” put on at the state-supported University of Vermont. This in a state where more than 96 percent of residents tell the U.S. Census Bureau that they are white. It’s not yet a hate-crime to be Caucasian in Vermont, but the red-hots at UV are working on it.
Then there’s the UV women’s basketball team that canceled a game with the University of North Carolina scheduled for this December because folks in that benighted Southern state insist that men stay clear of the ladies’ room. I mean, how can a gal play basketball with a clear conscience knowing that there are no five-o’clock shadows in the women’s loo? (You don’t absolutely have to be clinically insane to be a progressive in good standing. But it makes it easier.)
Like Calvin, I too visited Vermont recently (so recently as to have been early August) to reacquaint myself with old friends, many of whom I had not seen since the eighties. The central event of the trip was to attend a 100th birthday celebration for the father of a long-time friend. The do was held in the social hall of a Catholic Church in Alburgh, Vermont, population 503, and right down the street from the Quebec border. Alburgh took no notice of us, even though the 50 or so attendees, mostly from elsewhere, must have tripled the normal Saturday traffic.
The guest of honor, we’ll call him George (cuz that’s his name), was an infantry squad leader on Okinawa in the last big island campaign of the Pacific war. There he saw things no one should see. He’ll talk about it if you ask (sometimes if you don’t), and he doesn’t sugarcoat things. He still says “Japs” (and some other stuff that send Ben and Jerry’s types to their fainting couches). He’s entitled. Some call him irascible. I prefer to style him plain-spoken, and a great American. Because when not defending his country in his long and eventful life, he worked enough different jobs to start his own business, to help raise three sons, to pay his bills and his taxes, and to never ask more of his country than he gave it. This was the way of things with most old Vermont stock before the invasion. Before Ben and Jerry and their friends regularly sent the wing-nut Bernie Sanders to Washington to represent them. George’s generation of Vermonters would have given Bernie the horse laugh he deserves, and stashed him in the attic where he belongs, with a copy of “Socialism for Dummies” and a box of toys.
Most of the attendees, there to honor this worthy patriarch, are themselves Vermonters from generations back. They all hunt, fish, have dogs (the area is the center of the Black Labs Matter movement), and work for a living, for others or at their own businesses, which they built with no help from the carpetbaggers and their onerous government policies. They usually vote for the most conservative candidate on offer, and, to my knowledge, none lives in Burlington or Chittenden County, where most of the invaders congregate.
I salute these last-of-the-breed Vermonters, and sympathize with their efforts to keep up the old ways. But as they are made politically and culturally irrelevant, they increasingly feel like remnants. Foreigners in their own state and country. In the late, great Florence King’s phrase, expatriates in situ.
Just because it’s almost certainly a lost cause doesn’t make it a bad one.