Vermont: Please Don’t Leave

Posted on March 30, 2013 by

Dear Vermonters:

I’ve been hearing talk recently about a move among some residents to secede from the United States.  Normally, I ignore fringe groups with preposterous ideas, but this call for Vermont independence hits close to home.

First of all, it’s not led by right wing Texas-types who compare Barack Obama to Mao, but by critics from the left who reject the “immoral, corrupt, decaying, dying, failing American Empire [and seek] its rapid and peaceful dissolution before it takes us all down with it.”

Though that’s just one line from the secessionist manifesto (cited by Christopher Ketcham in the American Prospect) the movement for Vermont independence does draw a small but noticeable constituency in this rural New England state.

Hardcore left politics were percolating in Vermont in the 1970s.  In my ten years there, I saw how radical ideas could be integrated into a small scale democracy.  A model for other states,Vermont was beginning to gain stature for its progressive influence on national issues and – for me – was valuable preparation for my next stop.

“Self-deported” to Southern California in the early 1980s, I took my “inner-Vermont” to help me along.

Then I watched from the west coast this rural state (whose entire population would fit between Centinela and La Brea) lead the way on gay rights, universal health care, environment protection and more.

As an expat, I could picture the public discussions at town forums and casual conversations in front of general stores and was very proud of Vermont’s contribution to American progress.

Though this secession business is treated mostly as an amusement (it doesn’t stand a chance) I find it a bit irritating:

Frustrated Vermonters who want to take their toys and go home.

So for what it’s worth, I offer my own absurd message to my former state-mates:

Please don’t leave.  It’s too cool having you as one of our states.  And, at least for now, we can’t afford to lose your votes – Leahy,  Sanders – in the U.S.  Senate.

Comments (7)


  1. Jeff Polman says:

    Amusing is right. These folks aren’t going anywhere, though if I were to make retirement plans in any foreign country on earth, Vermontland would surely be my first choice.

  2. I agree Lou – please don’t leave us Vermont. We need your educated and progressive influence on the rest of the country.

  3. nodrama says:

    I completely understand why you would want to leave Vermont, but maybe your energies could be better used by infiltrating states like WV, Idaho, Wyoming, or North Dakota. Once people who know nothing get a one on one with someone who knows something, they actually start to listen. Then they start to change their minds. But it’s got to be one on one. That’s how the gay movement has gained as much acceptance as it has.

  4. Len says:

    Vermont wants to secede from the United States?
    As a former Vermonter, I concede their right to secede.
    I would hazard a guess that their would presence would then be somewhere around the level of Monaco, Nauru, Liechtensein, Malta and Luxembourg.

  5. Len says:

    Oops – typo: world presence, not would presence.

  6. John Connolly says:

    I assume Len is double-joking when he says he “… concede(s) their right to secede …”.

    Sorry. I don’t THINK so!

    Expanding individual citizen rights — like the right to marry — is about as far as I’m willing to travel down the “states’ rights” route. Some Really-Full-of-Shit Bad Guys tried that Secesh thing back in 1861 … didn’t work out so well — sadly for the 600,000 Civil War dead — and thankfully for the Confederacy of Dunces (even though that confederacy still persists less formally today). Of course that “right-to-secede” nonsense did work out very well in one sense … when slavery came crashing down by force of Union arms, revolutionary black soldiers, and an amended Constitution. John C

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