Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is a Vermonter?

I was raised in Vermont from the time I was 6 months old. My parents drove across the country, from California to Underhill, VT just before my dad was deployed to Vietnam. I was schooled entirely (except for a year after high school) in Vermont and have started all my businesses in Vermont. I have been formed in the Green Mountain State. Does this mean I am a Vermonter? What is a Vermonter?

My brother was born in Vermont - up at MCHV (that's what it used to be called), he doesn't live here now. Is he a Vermonter?

My other brother (cousin by blood) was born in California but moved in with our family when he was 13. He hasn't left since. He teaches in Vermont, raises his family here, put his roots down and I am sure...will die here in the only place he calls home. Is he a Vermonter?

I have a friend who is the 10th generation of a family who has lived in Vermont for all those generations. Is he a Vermonter?

I have a friend who is the 13th generation of a Vermont family who now makes his home in Northern California, he is happy and doesn’t plan to return. Is he a Vermonter?

Are any of these people Vermonters? Are some more Vermonters than others?

What is Vermont (besides a small, beautiful state in the North East)?

What is a Vermonter (besides someone who lives here)?

What does it mean to be a Vermonter?

I think Vermont is a state of mind and a Vermonter is someone who manifests that state of mind in reality. Vermont, to me, is an ideology, an ideology of local first, an ideology of strong community and beautiful, intelligent children, an ideology of courage amidst great adversity and ideology to stand for what is good no matter how difficult. I think a Vermonter is someone who emboldens and emulates that ideology, someone who finds a way to make the ideology real in a world that doesn't recognize it or him.

So what, then, is non-Vermont? Who is a non-Vermonter?

Non-Vermont, to me, is centralized power, it’s putting money before children or community, it’s doing what everyone else thinks is a good idea; it’s going along to get along. A non-Vermonter is anyone who supports these things, anyone who works to make them real.

When I look around today I see a lot of non-Vermont and a lot of non-Vermonters running the show. I see a lot of centralized power and a lot of money being put before both children and community, I see a lot of cowering to outside interests and I see a lot, a lot of going along to get along.

Does anyone else feel like “we” seem to be continually missing the point, trying and trying to solve the problems without making progress, like whacking at moles? Does anyone else sense that we are not on the right track to strengthen our communities, our children and ourselves?

What would it look like if Vermonters came together, together below the democrats and republicans and progressives and parties and pundits and pomp? Together as a foundation for an ideology that would make obsolete the ones who prefer to talk and pontificate and play at politics; together as a foundation for a new-old way of strengthening our communities, our children and ourselves.

Maybe if the ones who truly care about what Vermont means began to define and act upon that meaning we would be a step closer to building the foundation and making positive change. Maybe understanding what Vermont means to you is the first step. Maybe taking action to make that meaning real in the world is the next. Maybe this is what it means to be a Vermonter.

What is Vermont?

What is a Vermonter?

What does it mean to be a Vermonter?

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